problems opening particular rmd file/rstudio not responsive


I just wanted to post my experience with a particular problem with RStudio becoming irresponsive when I open one particular RMarkdown file -- either I get a blank white RStudio window with a menu bar that is not responsive, or RStudio shows my usual panels and the file, opened, but is completely unresponsive as soon as the file loads. The only way I can quit out of RStudio is to kill the RStudio process externally (in my case, working in Ubuntu 18.10, killing RStudio from a terminal prompt).

Resetting the RStudio state (deleting .Rhistory and .rstudio-desktop/) alone did not help.

With the wonderful help of our system administrator, I think the source of the problem had something to do with locale.

At some stage, I ended up with some non-ASCII text in my RMarkdown file (the culprit was pretty quotes!! Probably from copying and pasting text from a pdf or my local encoding setting) so that this rmd file was recognized as a binary text file or UTF-8 Unicode text rather than ASCII and my locale was not explicitly set and the system defaulted to a 7-bit C locale.

Replacing the culprit characters was NOT enough (and I'm thinking whether this was necessary). I think the key thing I needed to do was

  • delete the knitted html file associated with this rmd file

And then I had to

  • replace the culprit characters with 7-bit ASCII characters
  • reset RStudio state (deleting .Rhistory and .rstudio-desktop/)

I am now able to open my rmd file again without having RStudio stalling on me.

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