Installing R on your Virtual Machine

R, together with Python, is a commonly used programming language for statistical computing and data analytics. An increasingly popular and extensible language with an active community, R offers many user-generated packages for specific areas of study, which makes it applicable to many fields.

The Aridhia DRE Workspace comes with R integrated into the workspace but if you want to use it in the Virtual Machine, you will need to follow the instructions below to install it yourself.

Instructions for Linux

Instructions for Windows

Installing R on Ubuntu 18.04

Note that these instructions are for installing R on your Linux VM for the first time. If you want to install other R versions, please see this RStudio article about installing multiple versions of R on Linux.

1. Obtain the relevant GPG Key

Because the VM has restricted access to the Internet, you will need to do this step outside the Workspace, e.g. on your personal machine.

If you are running Linux, then you need to run these commands in your terminal:

gpg --keyserver --recv-key E298A3A825C0D65DFD57CBB651716619E084DAB9 
gpg -a --export E298A3A825C0D65DFD57CBB651716619E084DAB9 >

This will obtain the CRAN GPG key and export it to a *.pub file.

If you are using Windows, then you need to obtain CRAN repository key from the Ubuntu Keyserver website. Open the link in your browser, right-click with your mouse and select 'Save as'. Name the key


2. Upload the GPG key to the Workspace

Upload the key to the workspace by going into the Upload menu and pressing Upload files or data. This will open a new dialog, where you can find the exported GPG key (**.pub* file) in your local file system and upload it to the workspace. More information about uploading files can be found on the Uploading files via the Workspace page.


3. Add the CRAN GPG key to your system

Once the key is uploaded, go back to your Virtual Machine and open the terminal. First, cd into the directory where your GPG key is:

cd files

Then add the CRAN GPG key to your system:

sudo apt-key add

4. Enable the CRAN repository

For the latest R 4.x version use this command:

sudo add-apt-repository 'deb focal-cran40/'

For the latest R 3.x version:

sudo add-apt-repository 'deb bionic-cran35/'

5. Add user group for permissions

sudo touch /etc/staff-group-for-usr-local

Before adding a new group, check if the staff group already exists in your VM:


This command will return a list of users. If staff is on the list skip to the next step, otherwise, you can add it by running:

sudo adduser workspace staff

For these changes to take effect, restart the VM.

6. Update the packages list and install R

sudo apt update
sudo apt install r-base -y

7. Create and set tmp directory

sudo mkdir /opt/tmpR
sudo chown -R workspace:workspace /opt/tmpR
echo "TMPDIR=\"/opt/tmpR\"" | sudo tee -a /etc/R/    

8. Test that the right version of R has been installed

In the terminal, just run R. This should open the R console, and the first line of the text should display the version of R you are currently running.

Now you are ready to use R in your Linux VM. For a better development experience, we also recommend installing RStudio. You can find the instructions here


9. Installing non-R dependencies

In order to install some R Packages, you need non-R dependencies to be installed in the VM. Some of the most common dependencies can be installed using:

sudo apt-get install -y libpq-dev libxml2-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev libssl-dev libv8-dev

Installing R on Windows

1. Download R installer

Open the browser and navigate to Click ‘Download R for Windows’, which will open a new page with subdirectories. You will want to download binaries for base distribution, so click on ‘base’ subdirectory.


By clicking on the link at the top of the page, you will download the latest R distribution. If you want an older version, scroll down to the bottom of the page and navigate to ‘Previous Releases’.

2. Install R

Navigate to the Downloads folder, and double click on the executable. Follow the instructions to complete the installation.


Now you are ready to use R in your Windows VM. For a better development experience, we also recommend installing RStudio. You can find the instructions here.

Updated on October 18, 2023

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