Re: R-alpha: Fortran (linpack and eispack are dead!)

Bill Venables (wvenable@attunga.stats.adelaide.edu.au)
Mon, 1 Jul 1996 13:14:20 +0930


Date: Mon, 1 Jul 1996 13:14:20 +0930
Message-Id: <9607010344.AA08317@attunga.stats.adelaide.edu.au>
From: Bill Venables <wvenable@attunga.stats.adelaide.edu.au>
To: Ross & <ihaka@stat.auckland.ac.nz>
Subject: Re: R-alpha: Fortran (linpack and eispack are dead!)
In-Reply-To: <199607010238.OAA28001@stat.auckland.ac.nz>

Ross Ihaka writes:
 > I am currently in the process of removing all traces of fortran from
 > the R distribution.

Hallelujah!  What an excellent move!  Somehow Fortran about the
place always makes it presence felt: there's a certain odor...

 > This is mainly to help the porting effort to Windows and the
 > Macintosh.  To do this I have recoded the routines we actually
 > use from Linpack and Eispack in C (I think I can now
 > outperform commercial translation programs!).  The question
 > remains of whether and how to provide general functionality.

I'm not sure what you mean by this.  I would have thought general
functionality would be provided through front end functions
written in R like eigen, solve, qr, chol, &c. and leave it at
that.  The range of things in S+ is probably about where to stop.

I did suggest to StatSci once that they publish a list of the
linear algebra routines that were already statically loaded so
that users writing C code to be dynamically loaded could make
direct use of them.  Their response was that if you do that it
effectively locks in the code.  If at some time in the future you
want to move to a more swish way of doing things you don't have
much freedom to move without breaking everyone's dynamically
loadable code.  They have a point.  If the user wants some
functionality the user may take a peek at some function like qr
and take a punt, or duplicate something under a special name.

Bill


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