Re: [R] History of R

From: Greg Snow <>
Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2008 15:44:09 -0700

I agree with what others have said, the R core team is a great and unique group.

There are a couple of ideas that I would like to add that may have played a part in the level of growth that R has had.

I think timing has played a part. The field of statistics has matured along with the computer. Math and the other sciences were already mature and established before computers came along, statistics is a much younger science and we were better able to develop our use of computers as computers developed.

Also when you look at the trends of comercial packages in the 90's you see that a big focus in the comercial stats packages was on developing easier to use graphical user interfaces, the money at the time was in expanding to new users who were not as technical, and comercial companies need to go where the money is. This meant that the power users who wanted more flexibility and did not care as much about ease of use would natually migrate to R which was not interested in following the money.

Another thing to take into account is that R is a package used by statisticians and statisticians are naturally a collaborative group.

Gregory (Greg) L. Snow Ph.D.
Statistical Data Center
Intermountain Healthcare
(801) 408-8111

> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> [] On Behalf Of Kathy Gerber
> Sent: Friday, February 15, 2008 12:53 PM
> To:
> Subject: [R] History of R
> Earlier today I sent a question to Frank Harrell as an R
> developer with whom I am most familiar. He suggested also
> that I put my questions to the list for additional responses.
> Next month I'll be giving a talk on R as an example of high
> quality open source software. I think there is much to learn
> from R as a high quality extensible product that (at least as
> far as I can tell) has never been "spun" or "hyped" like so
> many open source fads.
> The question that intrigues me the most is why is R as an
> open source project is so incredibly successful and other
> projects, say for example, Octave don't enjoy that level of success?
> I have some ideas of course, but I would really like to know
> your thoughts when you look at R from such a vantage point.
> Thanks.
> Kathy Gerber
> University of Virginia
> ITC - Research Computing Support
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Received on Thu 21 Feb 2008 - 22:47:23 GMT

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