back to article Open source R in commercial Revolution

Put on your eye patch and get out your parrot. The open source R programming language for statistical analysis and graphics is getting a commercial sponsor. What Red Hat did for Linux, Revolution Analytics wants to do for R, and it wants to use the open source subscription model to take on SAS Institute, SPSS (now part of IBM), …


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  1. hplasm

    "Put on your eye patch and get out your parrot."

    R! Jim lad!

    /coat, leg, parrot

  2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    R not 'created' in 1996, more like copied

    R was is an open-source re-implementation of the tool S that was part of AT&T's software toolchest long before 1996 (Wikipedia says 1975), and originally developed by Bell Labs.

    This is acknowledged in the documentation for R.

    I was using S in 1988, and it was not new then. I was interested in it because it has a number of similarities with APL (A Programming Language) that is often cited as the first interactive computing environment.

    1. LawLessLessLaw


      The 1988 version of S is known as "The New S Language"

      I'm currently reading Bell Labs' "S: An Interactive Environment for Data Analysis and Graphics"

      I'm hoping to explore vectorization techniques for SIMD cpus

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hardly copied

      The documentation was not written by the authors (I know because I'm one of the authors). R actually derived from a little scheme interpreter which evolved into something that would run S code. S had really weird scoping rules. Because R had very different origins it fixed this and added closures. John Chambers the guy who designed the S language is now an R developer.

  3. David 141

    R and databases

    R might not be able to handle very large data volumes, but I'd suggest that anyone who has to deal with that end of things look at using PostgreSQL or MySQL for handling the data and R for the statistics.

    R is a very nice language, more concise, more readable, more flexible and much more maintainable than the ugly mutant hybrid Godzilla of languages that SAS is.

  4. Hugh Pumphrey
    Thumb Up

    Avast, me hearties. MatLubbers on the starRRRboard bow

    I taught R to M.Sc students for a few years and was always ridiculously pleased when a class happened to fall on "talk like a pirate" day. I think it is excellent: it replaces expensive proprietory MATLAB/IDL for many purposes, being better than either for a good fraction of those purposes. If this new firm wants to get the academic world on-side they will have to make the full product at least as cheap as MATLAB for students because the sellers of MATLAB provide it almost-free for teaching purposes to get students hooked on it. (The drug dealer business model, essentially.)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Just because SPSS is massively overpriced doesn't mean that the numbers this startup is quoting makes sense. That is more than I pay for the entire RHEL Linux edition, and that comes with a copy of R. For that kind of money they'd better offer more than just a support line.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I am one of the original authors of R and I am staggered that this company things it can distributed enhanced versions of GPLed code without disclosing the source code to the whole work. Please don't do business with this company. They are not feeding benefits back to the rights holders.

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