Create a mini version of CRAN containing only selected packages


At the end of 2014, CRAN consisted of more than 6,000 packages. By then end of 2017, the number of packages doubled to more than 12,000. Many organisations need to maintain a private mirror of CRAN, but with only a subset of packages that are relevant to them.

The miniCRAN package makes it possible to create an internally consistent repository consisting of selected packages from CRAN-like repositories. The user specifies a set of desired packages, and miniCRAN recursively reads the dependency tree for these packages, then downloads only this subset.

Important functions:

Function Use it for
pkgDep() Find package dependencies
makeRepo() Make repository (with or without downloading packages)
addPackage() Add additonal packages (and their dependencies) to existing repository
updatePackages() Update the versions of packages currently in the repository


Get the stable version from CRAN:


Development version

Get the latest development version from github:

# Use `devtools` to install directly from github

System requirements

The miniCRAN package itself doesn’t introduce any system dependencies. However, the package imports the curl and XML packages. These have system requirements on libxml2-devel, libcurl-devel and openssl-devel.

  • On systems with the rpm package manager (Red Hat, CentOS) try:

    yum install libcurl-devel libxml2-devel openssl-devel
  • On systems with the aptitude package manager (Debian, Ubuntu) try:

    apt-get install libcurl4-openssl-dev libxml2-devel openssl-devel


# Determine and download the packages `ggplot2`, `plyr` and `reshape2`, including their dependencies:

pkgs <- c("ggplot2", "plyr", "reshape2")
makeRepo(pkgDep(pkgs), path = file.path(tempdir(), "miniCRAN"))

Supported by Microsoft

I started this project while employed by Revolution Analytics and Microsoft. Microsoft has kindly agreed that I maintain the project individually, and retains copyright to all work on the project until October 2017.