Two weeks ago I sent my 2017 model of MacBook Pro to our local Genius Bar to replace the keyboard and the battery. During this one week span of absence, I moved to my iPad Pro to finish the Australian universities' course information scraping.


Initially I tried to deploy an server version of RStudio on my Ubuntu 19.04 server. But constant errors occured during the installation. After downgrading from 19.04 to 18.04. the installation went on smoothly.

In addtion, I installed zsh and oh-my-zsh as life-savers. (Guide)

Install R and RStudio server.


RStudio Server will not permit logins by system users (those with user ids lower than 100).

So we need to create a “normal” user.


$ sudo adduser rexarski // password==xingzilovexuanzi

$ cat /etc/passwd($ grep '^rexarski' /etc/passwd


Unable to install R packages on Linux

  • Update and upgrade sudo apt updates and sudo apt upgrade
  • sudo apt autoremove curl and sudo apt install curl no effect
------------------------- ANTICONF ERROR ---------------------------
Configuration failed because libcurl was not found. Try installing:
 * deb: libcurl4-openssl-dev (Debian, Ubuntu, etc)
 * rpm: libcurl-devel (Fedora, CentOS, RHEL)
 * csw: libcurl_dev (Solaris)
If libcurl is already installed, check that 'pkg-config' is in your
PATH and PKG_CONFIG_PATH contains a libcurl.pc file. If pkg-config
is unavailable you can set INCLUDE_DIR and LIB_DIR manually via:
R CMD INSTALL --configure-vars='INCLUDE_DIR=... LIB_DIR=...'
ERROR: configuration failed for package ‘curl’
$ sudo apt-get install libcurl4-dev
$ sudo apt-get install r-base-dev
$ sudo apt-get install libssl-dev
$ sudo apt-get install libxml2-dev
  • Then use a normal account (non-root) to install R packages.
install.packages(“tidyverse”, “rvest”, “pacman”)
# verify

Tidy problem

  • Takes forever to install tidyverse though. Also, pacman is not available for 3.4.4
  • Some packages are easy to install, but some takes forever like dplyr tidyr etc.
  • Even loading an installed package dplyr is problematic:
Error: package or namespace load failed for ‘dplyr’ in library.dynam(lib, package, package.lib):
 shared object ‘’ not found
In addition: Warning message:
S3 methods ‘[.fun_list’, ‘[.grouped_df’, ‘all.equal.tbl_df’, ‘’, ‘anti_join.tbl_df’, ‘’, ‘arrange.default’, ‘arrange.grouped_df’, ‘arrange.tbl_df’, ‘’, ‘arrange_.tbl_df’, ‘’, ‘’, ‘’, ‘as.table.tbl_cube’, ‘’, ‘as.tbl.tbl’, ‘as.tbl_cube.array’, ‘’, ‘as.tbl_cube.matrix’, ‘as.tbl_cube.table’, ‘as_tibble.grouped_df’, ‘as_tibble.tbl_cube’, ‘auto_copy.tbl_cube’, ‘auto_copy.tbl_df’, ‘cbind.grouped_df’, ‘’, ‘’, ‘common_by.NULL’, ‘common_by.character’, ‘common_by.default’, ‘common_by.list’, ‘’, ‘copy_to.DBIConnection’, ‘copy_to.src_local’, ‘’, ‘default_missing.default’, ‘dim.tbl_cube’, ‘ [... truncated]

Turns out, while installing readr i found there is not enough virtual memory. See this github issue: CRAN version of readr crashes the compiler on small-RAM Ubuntu 16.04 system. The Vultr server I was using is a $5 per month 1GB RAM little kicker, so this pretty much explains everything.

Thanks to this post. I call this “black magic”. You can actually install a prebuilt binary so that you do not have to compile the package from the source.

$ apt-get update
$ apt-get install software-properties-common
$ add-apt-repository -y “ppa:marutter/rrutter”
$ add-apt-repository -y “ppa:marutter/c2d4u”
$ apt-get update
$ apt-get install r-cran-readr

Worked for me this time. But for packages like dplyr which were installed previously but could not be loaded on my end, I tried to remove.packages() them first, then installed the prebuilt version. The binary this time would not save the day because it is outdated and could not support the minimum requirement of rlang.

But anyways, this whole process at least suffices to power me through scraping a few bunch of universities courses already.

I am officially missing my lil buddy MacBook.