R-alpha: Compatibility and all that ...

Ross Ihaka (ihaka@stat.auckland.ac.nz)
Mon, 3 Mar 1997 10:52:09 +1300 (NZDT)

From: Ross Ihaka <ihaka@stat.auckland.ac.nz>
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 1997 10:52:09 +1300 (NZDT)
Message-Id: <199703022152.KAA24925@stat13.stat.auckland.ac.nz>
To: r-testers@stat.math.ethz.ch (r-testers)
Subject: R-alpha: Compatibility and all that ...

Just a short comment on all this.  We have (as I recall) decided that
we will lean toward compatibility with S where possible.  This is in
part so that we can get access to as much of a code base as possible
and also (as Bill Venables points out) John Chambers has done a very
good design job.  I suppose that full language compatibility would be
possible, but I think that it would be best to resist the temptation
to tinker too much more and instead to concentrate on stability and
applications.  (The next release will include complex arithmetic and a
fixup of the object system to make it correspond to the documentation
in the "Models" book - but beware that S does not always follow its

We are not however ignoring peoples comments on what they like or
don't about S.  It appears possible at this point that there will be a
"son of R" (tho' "remote cousin" or "vague acquaintance" might be a
more apt description).  Early exploratory work is being carried out by a
collaborator who knows about compiling functional languages and has
become interested in the problem.  I'm hoping that our "applications
base" will port to this new platform if/when it becomes available (it
won't be for a year or two).

So anyway, keep expressing ideas about how S/R could better serve your
needs.  Who knows, your ideas might just find their way into software.
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