Bug #4152

Modules should be able to add environment variables to the runtime

Added by Chad Berkley over 13 years ago. Updated over 13 years ago.

build system
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Modules such as R sometimes need to add environment variables to the runtime. R needs the R_HOME variable set in order for R to be found by the JRI system. Need to add functionality to the build to allow modules to add environment variables.


#1 Updated by David Welker over 13 years ago

Just so I understand this correctly, this is a distinct use case from setting System properties, correct? So, if you had the location stored in a system property, that would not be adequate?

#2 Updated by Chad Berkley over 13 years ago

Right. It is distinct because it actually needs to load an environment variable.

#3 Updated by Christopher Brooks over 13 years ago

In Java 1.5 and later the java.lang.System.getEnv() method returns
environment variables.
The Javadoc for getEnv() says:

"System properties and environment variables are both conceptually mappings
between names and values. Both mechanisms can be used to pass user-defined
information to a Java process. Environment variables have a more global effect,
because they are visible to all descendants of the process which defines them,
not just the immediate Java subprocess. They can have subtly different
semantics, such as case insensitivity, on different operating systems. For
these reasons, environment variables are more likely to have unintended side
effects. It is best to use system properties where possible. Environment
variables should be used when a global effect is desired, or when an external
system interface requires an environment variable (such as PATH)."

So, I think that if R is being invoked as a separate process or is running
a C call to getenv(), then we would need to set the environment variables.

The Java Process class can pass environment variables to subprocesses.

I don't think there is a Java setEnv() command. One way to make this work
would be to define a Parameter that is a Record that could be referred to
by the External Execution actor (which uses in
the environment actor parameter. This would allow subprocesses to
access the updated environment variables. I don't know if a JNI call
to a C library that calls the C getenv() function would see any change
in the environment.

#4 Updated by Chad Berkley over 13 years ago

You can, in fact, add env vars to the runtime. We do it for the PATH variable (for JNI on windows). I'm implementing this functionality now.

#5 Updated by Chad Berkley over 13 years ago

Added the ability to the build system to parse a $module/module-info/environment.txt file. This file lists the environment variables that should be loaded by the java runtime at startup. Variables can be loaded either independently of the OS or they can depend on a specific OS.

The syntax is as follows:


An example:
R_HOME:Mac OS X=/Library/Frameworks/R.framework/Resources



#6 Updated by Redmine Admin over 9 years ago

Original Bugzilla ID was 4152

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