"Put on your eye patch and get out your parrot."
R! Jim lad!
/coat, leg, parrot
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), …
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.
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.
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.
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.)
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020