Debian distributes the R language for statistical analysis, data mining or bioinformatics (among others). Satellite to R are hundreds of packages (kind of function libraries), mostly distributed by CRAN and Bioconductor, which contribute a lot to the richness and versatility of the R ecosystem. Debian redistributes some of these packages in the Debian format. Like in all similar cases of "redistribution of a distribution", there is a tension between Debian's goals for its stable version, and the expectations of novelty for the users (in part because the development cycle of R is 6 months), and one sometimes wonder if there is a point for using the packages through Debian and not through the upstream repositories.

Today, after installing a minimal system in a "schroot" container, I installed a R package and all its dependencies natively, that is by downloading their sources through the R command line, which made me wait for 90 minutes until everything compiles, while the R packages redistributed in Debian are already compiled. 90 minutes of compilation for 10 minutes of work; 90 minutes of waiting that I could have avoided with a couple of well-chosen "apt install" commands. Thus, many thanks to all who maintain R packages in Debian!