Re: [R] prehistoric versions of R --> 1995!

From: Martin Maechler <>
Date: Fri 10 Feb 2006 - 03:43:46 EST

>>>>> "FrPi" == François Pinard <> >>>>> on Tue, 7 Feb 2006 08:43:28 -0500 writes:

    FrPi> [Martin Maechler]
    >> 2) The oldest stuff that I have is all from 1995;

    FrPi> Mailing lists seem to go back into 1995 too.  I found a few messages 
    FrPi> from around 1994 on topics to be later found within R, but I'm not sure 
    FrPi> where I got these old messages from.  I did find a message really 
    FrPi> related to R-pre-alpha, which itself quotes a message written in 1994.

Hmm, I am interested to find these.

I am pretty sure the first "R list" was the one Ross and Robert initiated with the following e-mail (the date of which also points to that 10th anniversary date coming Sunday!):

>> From: R Home <>
>> To:
>> Subject: R Code Alpha Test
>> Date: Mon, 12 Feb 1996 16:15:53 +1300
>> At some point in the past you have provided comments on R which
>> indicated that you would make a useful alpha-tester for the version
>> we plan to release to statlib.
>> We have put your name on a mailing list
>> which we will use for discussion of problems and for distributing
>> bug-fixes and patches. We intend that that the list will only
>> function for a short testing period. Assuming that the testing
>> isn't too much of a disaster, we will set up a real discussion
>> mailing list.
>> If you don't wish to take part in the testing cycle and would like to
>> be taken off the list please send some mail to "".
>> If you have suggestions for other who could take part in testing let
>> us know too.
>> There are a number of types of input we are interested in.
>> We are interested in seeing R ported to as many Unix
>> platforms as possible. We are interested in hearing about
>> portability and any fixes neccessary to get R running on
>> platforms other than those we have available (SunOS,
>> Solaris, FreeBSD, Linux, HP, SGI Irix).
>> We would like feedback on differences between R and S. We
>> have made the decision to make R as compatible with S as
>> possible, but have not had the chance to systematically
>> look for differences.
>> 3) BUGS
>> We want to know about the bugs which are present in R.
>> What should we do next?
>> The source code is now available by anonymous ftp from
>> (note that this is not the usual place).
>> Ross Ihaka + Robert Gentleman

BTW, note the many (Unixy) platforms mentioned on which R was running even then.

Definitely older than the above are private e-mails between Ross, Robert and various people, but these were private.

An interesting one would be the first announcement of R on the S-news mailing list which I think *was* in 1994 (as you indicate above). Unfortunately the archives of S-news currently only go back to 1998.

Also, further, to what I said previously on this thread, I have a nice paperback book "Data Analysis - An Introduction base on R" written by Alan Lee, Dept. Statistics, Auckland labeled as "Course Notes of University of Auckland Papers 528.218/288" (a kind of lecture notes) which I received as gift from Ross and Robert at the Heidelberg workshop, March 25, 1995. The book has a Copyright © 1994.
That seems high evidence for R to have been in use at U. of Auckland in 1994.

Now if we heard even more "history of R" (with dates!) from Ross / Robert / Alan Lee ?

Martin Maechler, ETH Zurich mailing list PLEASE do read the posting guide! Received on Fri Feb 10 05:06:56 2006

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