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A general description is here.
‘all.equal(x,y)’ now “sees” the two different ‘NA’s in factors, thanks to Bill Dunlap and others in PR#17897.
‘(~ NULL)’ and similar formula subsetting now works, thanks to a report and patch by Henrik Bengtsson in PR#17935. Additionally, subsetting leaving an empty formula now works too, thanks to suggestions by Suharto Anggono.
This may be needed when child R processes are doing downloads, for example during the installation of source packages which download jars or other forms of data.