littler Build Status License CRAN Downloads

A scripting and command-line front-end for GNU R permitting use of R in command-line contexts.

So What Does it Do?

#!/usr/bin/env r              ## for use in scripts

other input | r               ## for use in pipes

r somefile.R                  ## for running files

r -e 'expr'                   ## for evaluating expressions

r --help                      ## to show a quick synopsis

See the examples vignette for a full set of introductory examples. Also see the examples/ directory, as well as maybe the older tests directory both of which are installed with the package.


Version 0.3.0 or later

The package resides on the CRAN network and can be installed via


Previous Versions up to 0.2.3

In general, simply running the script bootstrap will configure and build the executable. Running make install (possibly as sudo make install) will install the resulting binary.

On Linux systems, ensure you have the autotools-dev package (or its equivalent on non-Debian/Ubuntu systems). On OS X, you may need to run brew install automake autoconf to get all the tools.

Alternate Naming

On some operating systems such as OS X, r is not different from R. As this risk confusing the main binary R for the R system with our smaller scripting frontend r, we suggest to consider running configure --program-prefix="l" which this leads to installation of a binary lr instead of r.

Alternate R Version

As littler uses autoconf its AC_PATH_PROG() macro to find R, one can simply adjust the PATH when calling configure (or, rather, bootstrap) to have another version of R used. For example, on a server with R-devel in this location, the following builds littler using this R-devel version: PATH="/usr/local/lib/R-devel/bin/:$PATH" ./bootstrap.

More Information

For more information about littler, please see

(but note that the latter now overlaps with the example vignette).


Jeff Horner and Dirk Eddelbuettel


GPL (>= 2)