Changes in R

We present important changes in the development version of R (referred to as R-devel, to become R 4.3). Some statistics on bug tracking activities in 2022 are also provided.

Tomas Kalibera (R Core) , Sebastian Meyer (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg) , Kurt Hornik (WU Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien)

1 R-devel selected changes

R 4.3.0 is due to be released around April 2023. The following gives a selection of the most important changes in R-devel, which are likely to appear in the new release.

Dates and times

There are a number of (robustness) improvements in the handling of dates and times. These include warnings about extrapolation for datetimes before 1902/1900, finer control for padding when printing years, improved detection of offset with strftime() (%z), inclusion of system time zone and information on timezone support implementation in sessionInfo(), more robust handling of hand-crafted POSIXlt objects, optional support for using system timezone support on recent macOS, improved detection of the system time zone on Windows and improved default tick locations and default formats in axis.Date() and axis.POSIXct().

Encoding support


Accessibility on Windows

Other selected changes

2 Bug statistics for 2022

Summaries of bug-related activities over the past year were derived from the database underlying R’s Bugzilla system. Overall, 180 new bugs or requests for enhancements were reported, 171 reports were closed, and 869 comments (on any report) were added by a total of 123 contributors. This amounts to one report/closure every other day, and 2–3 comments per day. The numbers of reports, closures and comments are about 20% lower than in 2021, whereas the number of contributors stayed the same. High bug activity in 2021 had largely been driven by dedicated efforts of several contributors in reviewing old reports.

Barplot graphs showing the number of opened bugs, closed bugs and bug comments per month of year.

Figure 1: Bug tracking activity by month in 2022

Barplot graphs showing the number of opened bugs, closed bugs and bug comments per weekday.

Figure 2: Bug tracking activity by weekday in 2022

Figures 1 and 2 show statistics for the numbers of new reports, closures and comments by calendar month and weekday, respectively, in 2022. The frequency of new reports was relatively stable over the year with minor peaks in January and June. There tended to be more new reports than closures, except for July and especially March with a revived effort to deal with old reports, including 9 related to the nlme package, which is also maintained by the R Core Team.

The top 5 components reporters have chosen for their reports were “Misc”, “Language”, “Low-level”, “Documentation”, and “Wishlist”, which is the same set as in 2021. Many reports are suggestions for enhancements and placed either in the “Wishlist” or in a specific component but with severity level set to “enhancement”. Bug discussions led to an average of 72 comments per month, with a minimum of 42 in August and a maximum of 111 in January. From the numbers in Figure 2 we see that the R community is also active during weekends, though at a lower frequency.


Tomas Kalibera’s work on the article and R development has received funding from the National Science Foundation award 1925644.

CRAN packages used


CRAN Task Views implied by cited packages

ChemPhys, Econometrics, Environmetrics, Finance, MixedModels, OfficialStatistics, Psychometrics, Spatial, SpatioTemporal


Text and figures are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 4.0. The figures that have been reused from other sources don't fall under this license and can be recognized by a note in their caption: "Figure from ...".


For attribution, please cite this work as

Kalibera, et al., "Changes in R", The R Journal, 2022

BibTeX citation

  author = {Kalibera, Tomas and Meyer, Sebastian and Hornik, Kurt},
  title = {Changes in R},
  journal = {The R Journal},
  year = {2022},
  note = {},
  volume = {14},
  issue = {4},
  issn = {2073-4859},
  pages = {361-364}