Introducing Microsoft R Open as Default R for Anaconda Distribution


Although Anaconda, Inc. is best known as the creator of the world’s most popular Python data science platform, for many years we also have been creating conda packages for R. In September 2017, we announced a partnership with Microsoft that included bringing Microsoft R Open (MRO) to Anaconda users as our default R. We are thrilled to announce that today that day has arrived!

MRO, the enhanced distribution of R from Microsoft, is a complete and free open source platform for statistical analysis and data science. R Open 3.4.3 is based on (and 100% compatible with) the statistical language R-3.4.3. It includes additional capabilities for performance, reproducibility, and platform support.

Because MRO is now the default R for Anaconda, users installing R for the first time into an environment will get MRO conda packages. For instance, conda create -n mro_env r-essentials will create a new conda environment with MRO and all the r-essentials conda packages built from MRAN. Once the new environment is activated, a user can check conda list and see that the package mro-base is installed and that mro is listed in the build string of the other R packages in the environment. Also, when using MRO conda packages, starting the R interactive interpreter shows Microsoft R Open in the startup message.

As of today, the Linux and Windows MRO packages are already available. Look for the macOS MRO packages to be available soon. This change does not impact Python users.  

Anaconda Navigator, the Anaconda graphical package manager and application launcher, also now creates MRO environments instead of R by default. However, users still will be able to select R when creating a new conda environment from within Navigator.  

Additionally, Microsoft R Client is now available as a conda package (r-mrclient). Users of Windows or RHEL-7/CentOS7/Ubuntu 14.04 and above also have the option to conda install the MicrosoftML R package (r-mrclient-mml) and the pre-trained models (r-mrclient-mlm).

Microsoft R Client is a free, community-supported data science tool for high performance analytics built on top of MRO. Additionally, R Client introduces the powerful ScaleR technology and its proprietary functions to benefit from parallelization and remote computing.

We will continue to update, support, and improve R for users who prefer not to use MRO or where MRO is not currently supported (32-bit Linux/Windows, older versions of macOS). For instructions on how to make new environments with R instead of MRO, please see the Anaconda documentation.  

If you have an environment that already has R installed and you’d like to switch to using MRO, you can find detailed instructions in our documentation on how to do so. If you run into any problems installing R or MRO with the Anaconda Distribution, please open an issue.

Also, check out this Microsoft blog to learn more about what is new with Microsoft R Open and Microsoft R Client.

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