[R] R licensing query

From: Prof. John C Nash <nashjc_at_uottawa.ca>
Date: Sat, 19 Jun 2010 08:01:49 -0400

I think that Marc S. has provided some of the better refs. for R and its usage in commercial and organizational settings.

However, the kinds of bloody-minded "We're going to insist you use inappropriate software because we are idiots" messages are not news to many of us. Duncan points out that R has "Absolutely no warranty", but unlike Excel, you are allowed to comment on it. It is very clear to some of us that the IT folk who like to use Microsoft software in a mindless way have never read the EULA or asked their legal advisors about its lack of warranty AND the fact you are not permitted to warn your friends in reviews or opinions, at least if you keep to the EULA.. Fortunately, there are people who do try to provide warnings. I recommend The European Spreadsheet Risks Interest Group http://eusprig.org/ especially their horror stories -- were talking big money here. They've been going a while. I participated in the 2003, 2004 and 2005 conferences, but finally decided I'd have more success convincing people to use R than to use spreadsheets responsibly. Eric Neuwirth and Thomas Baier have some R-Excel interfaces that take a different approach that is interesting.

As a tangential approach, are your IT folk willing to offer virtual machines? In our Telfer School setup, the orthodoxy is strongly Win-obsessed, but it turns out there were some applications powerful folk needed that use Linux etc. VMWare was the chosen solution, and it allowed me to have my own Ubuntu setup. I'm happy not to be bothered with all the virus checking and install controls of the central system, and the IT folk aren't worried I'll cause trouble for them either. My machine cannot send email outside the local domain (to control spam forwarding), but that is a pretty minor issue.


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