[Rd] Re: [R] Several R vs S-Plus issues

Douglas Bates bates@stat.wisc.edu
04 Oct 2001 08:54:15 -0500

Kurt Hornik <Kurt.Hornik@ci.tuwien.ac.at> writes:

> >>>>> David Brahm writes:

> >    - No rowSums(), colSums(), colVars(), etc.
> Doug Bates had raised this issue some time ago. 

Doug was responding to a request from a poster at fmr.com (I believe
it was David in fact) for the colSums function.  I showed how an add-on
package with this function could be created.  I'm sure that all these
functions could be added easily in a separate package.  

Perhaps I was overly subtle in my phrasing but I wrote the message on
how to create a package so as to encourage others to add these
functions instead of relying on a member of the core group having the
time and inclination to do so.

I agree with Kurt that we would want to have a strong reason for
adding these functions to the base language.  Kurt has actively
promoted the idea of basing R on a small, tight language core that is
supplemented by packages.  Toward this end Kurt has done an incredible
amount of work on tools for package attachment, checking, and

The goal of a small tight language core supplemented by
user-contributed modules is in keeping with the spirit of open source
projects.  The R core team, especially Kurt and Fritz, devote
considerable effort to creating tools to make it easy for others to
contribute their work.  A commercial developer is more inclined to
define the language and capabilities in house where they have control
and where they can provide support.  This is not a criticism of
commercial development.  If you are required to provide support for
the software you must be able to control the code.

Those on the r-devel list may want to check the web site
occasionally.  Some plans for the future and items for discussion are
given there.

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