Re: [R] Pros and Cons of R

From: DavidM.UK <>
Date: Sat, 24 May 2008 10:26:33 -0700 (PDT)

I think one significant problem is the lack of 3D graphics support with interactivity as per MATLAB ( I here Xgobi offers something hear but I couldn't comment having not used it)

On the GUI issue, I'm split - once you get used to R then it's great just to use the command line - but as a language for teaching students (especially those outside statistics - E.g. social sciences) a command like can be quite daunting. R-Commander I guess addresses this to some degree - though it's no match for the GUI offered by S-Plus (in my opinion).

I don't think a working knowledge of any other language can be considered a negative - any half decent programmer should be able to pick up new languages fairly quickly if they are experienced with one. Previous experience is especially useful if moving from matrix style language to R (E.g. MATLAB / OCTAVE).

I think your comments on "hard to install on linux" is a fair one -- in terms of installing the base system that's fine, but when it comes to install packages, I still get tripped up on compilation problems (I just posted a topic on one such problem). It is certainly harder than say installing a MATLAB tool box.



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