R is a free software package for statistical computing. It is part of most Linux distributions. However the latest version of R is not always available. To install the latest version of R we need to add the url of a CRAN mirror to a file in /etc/apt/sources.list.d.
CRAN is a network of ftp and web servers that provide upto date information on R such as documentation, source code and news about R development. To install R, we need to issue the commands: apt-get update followed by apt-get install r-base r-base-dev.
To update R to a newer version we need to replace the CRAN url in /etc/apt/sources.list.d, with a url that points to the newer version of R. After that we need to issue the commands: apt-get update followed by apt-get upgrade. Since the new CRAN url requires different package signing keys, we will get an error similar to:
"following signatures couldn't be verified because the public key is not available: NO_PUBKEY"
The solution is to import the package signing keys for the new R package using the command: sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys [ley_name], where key_name is the short signature of the missing key as indicated in the error message. After that the apt-get upgrade command should work without problems
See the R official documentation for more information