I've installed R (version 3.6.0) on my ubuntu 18.04 which I run on the windows subsystem WSL.

Now I'm having a problem to install some specific packages. For example xml2. When I run the command install.packages("xml2"), i get the following error:

mv: cannot move '/usr/local/lib/R/site-library/00LOCK-xml2/00new/xml2' to '/usr/local/lib/R/site-library/xml2': Permission denied
ERROR:   moving to final location failed

I guess there might be some way to give myself full permission for managing my own stuff, does anyone know how to get around this issue?

  • Why not use R for Windows? Alternately install R packages directly from the ppa.
    – user68186
    Aug 3, 2019 at 12:58
  • Since iirc the default version of R in the Ubuntu 18.04 repository is 3.4, please edit your question to include how you installed R 3.6.0 (from a PPA? from a 3rd party tarball?) Aug 3, 2019 at 13:28

2 Answers 2


This solution suggested on stackoverflow.com worked for me.

The best way to avoid this is to use the '--no-lock' argument on the command line, e.g.,

R CMD INSTALL --no-lock <pkg>

On NFS file systems it is sometimes not obvious what things you have to close. From within R, you can do this from within your command using:

install.packages("Rcpp", dependencies=TRUE, INSTALL_opts = c('--no-lock'))

Uninstall R version 3.6.0, and remove the R PPA if there is one from your software sources in /etc/apt/sources.list by preceding the line containing this PPA with a # character to turn it into a comment. Then run sudo apt update to refresh your list of available software. Now that you have removed the R packages that don't work, you are ready to install r-base and r-cran-xml2 from the default Ubuntu 18.04 repositories.

To install xml2 R package in Ubuntu 18.04 open the terminal and type:

sudo apt install r-base r-cran-xml2  

This GNU R XML parser package works with XML files using a simple, consistent interface. It's built on top of the 'libxml2' C library.

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