Re: [R] Pros and Cons of R

From: Gabor Grothendieck <ggrothendieck_at_gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 22 May 2008 14:03:47 -0400

On Thu, May 22, 2008 at 12:00 PM, Monica Pisica <pisicandru_at_hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> Hi,
>
> I am doing a very informal presentation for my office about R capabilities to deal with and analyze spatial data, display data and maps, and connections with GIS. I've used in my presentation info from the CRAN, the spatial Task view, and the more striking graphics examples from http://addictedtor.free.fr/graphiques/thumbs.php and NCEAS http://www.nceas.ucsb.edu/scicomp/GISSeminar/UseCases/MapProdWithRGraphics/OneMapProdWithRGraphics.html together with examples of my own work.
>
> I am finishing with pros and cons about R and I am wondering if you can come up with other examples, or comments. Here they are:
>
> Pros:
>
> - R is a programming environment well suited for statistical analysis.
> - R is open source and cross platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux).
> - Fortran, C (C++), and Python wrappers are in place.
> - Deals well with spatial data, has a robust graphical interface and has an active user group list / forum.
> - External packages for R are almost daily increasing, most of them based on published up-to-date books and peer-reviewed articles.
> - R related books quite a few .
>
> Cons:
>
> - R has a very steep learning curve.
> - There is no perfect "beginner" book.

I don't think that there can be the perfect book since different people have different backgrounds and different interests and that implies a different book for
different people; however, there are many books and there is a large amount of material available:

http://cran.r-project.org/other-docs.html http://www.r-project.org/doc/bib/R-publications.html

http://cran.r-project.org/manuals.html

and vignettes in individual packages.

> - Experience with other programming languages is a plus / minus.
> - You can save scripts, but not *.exe.
> - It is updated several times a year (good) but there are no up-grades.

What's the difference bewteen an update and an up-grade? If you mean addon packages there are 1500+ in CRAN and BioC.

> - It seems that it is hard to install correctly under Linux.
> - Everything you want to do is a command line, minimal GUI.

There do exist GUI front ends although the full power of R requires the command line:
http://www.sciviews.org/_rgui/

Also its possible to write your own GUI front ends to your own programs.

> - Memory management problems (depends on your OS), especially when displaying big images at high resolution or working with huge matrices (hundreds of Mb).
>
> Also i am wondering if R works under 64 bit computers and if it takes advantage of it.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Monica
>
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https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code. Received on Thu 22 May 2008 - 18:07:37 GMT

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