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New build of the OpenSAFELY R image

15 February 2023

New version of the R image published

We have just published a new build of the R image. No action needed, but more information below!

What has not changed?

This is not a semantic change - the same versions of the same set of libraries are installed. However the way the image is built has been reworked, in order to address a number of shortcomings of the previous image, and provide a stonger base to build on in future.

What has changed?

We built the new image from a more up-to-date base. This means a number of core system libraries have been updated to newer versions. If you want to, you can see the list of system libraries that were updated. These are not R libraries, but rather some of the base C libraries used at a low level. Keeping them up to date is important for security and bug fixes.

In addition, we’ve moved from R 4.0.2 to 4.0.5 to pick up a slew of minor fixes.

What does this mean for me?

Hopefully, nothing! The next time you run opensafely pull, downloading the R image may take a bit longer then normal. But otherwise, all your studies should run as normal, locally and via

We have tested the new image with variety of study code without issue, but if you do find something has changed, please contact tech support and let us know.

Who is to blame for this!?

Special thanks go to Tom Palmer from the University of Bristol for helping motivate and then exhaustively test the new build process.