R-beta: New R Version for Unix

Ross Ihaka ihaka at stat.auckland.ac.nz
Fri Dec 5 09:30:56 CET 1997

Version 0.60 of R for Unix is now available.  Release of this version
has been delayed for a variety of reasons, but we hope that it will
provide a good deal more stability and functionality than previous
versions.  However it should be regarded as of "alpha" quality for a
short shakedown period.

We would like user feedback to help us improve the quality of R.
You can do this by subscribing to the r-devel mailing list by sending
a message containing
(in the "body", not the subject!) to:
        r-devel-request at stat.math.ethz.ch

Version 0.60 or R may be obtained from the following sites:

	TU Wein, Austria

	IASC archive, Italy

	University of Aizu, Japan

	ETH Zurich, Switzerland

	Statlib, Carnegie Mellon University, USA

	University of Washington, USA

	University of Wisconsin, USA

There are some large changes to R with this version (additional large
changes are planned for further versions).  In particular, the
documentation format has changed and the general standard of
documentation improved a good deal.  Perl version 5 is now required to
process the documentation, but pre-formatted versions will be

R is now being developed by a larger group than its original authors.
In particular, this release represents the direct efforts of the
following group:

	Peter Dalgaard, Robert Gentleman, Kurt Hornik, Ross Ihaka,
	Thomas Lumley, Friedrich Leisch, Martin Maechler, Paul Murrell,
	Heiner Schwarte and Luke Tierney.

In addition, hundreds of contributions, in the form of code, patches
and bug reports, have been made by a much larger group of indiviuals. 

R is now a GNU project and will be making changes to meet GNU coding
and installation standards.

A detailed list of changes follows.


    o	There has been a major change in directory structure masterminded
	by Kurt Hornik.
	library(.) now attaches ``package''s which are better
	integrated, see "?library".  Packages may be available from
	outside the RHOME path via the .lib.loc variable.

    o	The documentation format (of files in src/library/<package>/man/ )
	has changed to a more easily parsable LaTeX like format.
	The doc files now all end in `.Rd'.
	etc/Rman2Rd  can be used to translate old-style documentation to
	the new one.
	The translation to *roff, LaTeX and HTML is now done using
	etc/Rdconv, written in Perl by Fritz Leisch.

	The HTML online help produced has now links which work.
	The manual (in doc/manual/) now includes a section on the
	documentation format and on mathematical text in graphs.

	etc/ further contains `Sd2Rd' for (partial) translation of S `.d'
	documentation to Rd, and
	`Rd2txt' and `Rd2dvi' for easy previewing of single Rd files.

    o	The use of "names" on one dimensional arrays will now produce
	sensible results.  This means that for most purposes,
	one dimensional arrays can be treated like vectors.

    o	We have a applied a patch from mward at wolf.hip.berkeley.edu
	which should substantially improve the speed of (vector)

    o	The modeling formula handler has been expanded so that it
	accepts y ~ 0 + x as a "through the origin" specification.
	models with no parameters are now acceptable.

    o	"cov", "cor" and "var" now produce a matrix result if either
	of their x or y arguments is a matrix.	Dimnames are propagated
	in a sensible fashion.

    o   New chisq.test(.) and prop.test() from Kurt Hornik.

    o   New read.fwf(.) for reading fixed width format (KH).

    o   New str(.) [alternative to summary(.) for programmers] (MM).

    o   New example data sets "esoph", "infert" and "anscombe" (TL),
	"iris3" (KH) and "stackloss" (MM).

    o   source(.) has several new arguments, notably ``echo = FALSE''.
	This is applied in the new function  demo(.) which runs all the
	code in demos/ (but dynload).

    o   strheight(.) is new, accompanying strwidth(.).
	Both now work for mathematical expressions (Paul Murrell).

    o   The LaTeX version of the manual (-> doc/manual/) now has an index.

    o   EVERY *.Rd file in src/library/base/man/ has now at least one \keyword

    o	New package (`library(.)') "stepfun" for step functions, incl.
	empirical distributions.


    o   Regular expression matching is now done with system versions
	of the regexp library.  This should fix compilation problems
	on some platforms.

    o	"approx" and "approxfun", have had some minor adjustments.
	which fix the interpretation of the rule= argument.  The
	code for piecewise constant case is now internal C code
	that than interpreted.	This should boost performance in
	this case.

    o	There has been a minor fixup of "model.frame" to ensure that
	subsets, weights, etc are handled properly.

    o	Model fitting of the form

		 lm(y~., data=df)
		glm(y~., data=df)

	will now work.	The RHS of the model will consist of an
	additive model containing all (non-respose) variabels in the
	given data frame.

    o	The following type of assignment to data frame subsets

		z <- data.frame(x=rnorm(10),y=rnorm(10),z=rnorm(10))
		z[,1:2] <- matrix(1:20,nc=2)

	was producing incorrect results.  The solution was to wrap
	an implicit "as.data.frame" around the RHS.

    o	"[.data.frame" no longer has a default drop=TRUE argument.
	This means that subsetting a data frame with "[" will always
	yield a data frame.

    o	There was a swap of coordinates internally in "mtext" which
	meant that labels were coming out in the wrong place.  Fixed.

    o	Syntax errors in parse(text="...") would cause R to terminate
	with a segmentation violation.	This no longer happens, although
	the result is still not perfect (the parse() returns).
	This will be fixed by a future parse rewrite.

    o   rainbow, topo.colors, etc., now also work with n in {1,2};
	don't return duplicate neighbor colors anymore.

    o   legend has new `text.width' argument and now also works with
	mathematical expressions as text.

    o   hist() now works better, has a `plot = TRUE' argument, and returns
	something useful.

    o   barplot() improved for `names', now returns vector of midpoints.

    o   lm(), lm.fit, lm.wfit (was `lm.w.fit'):  Made more compatible.
	Dealing with (close to) collinear situations is still not flexible

    o   internal postcript() improved (missing lines in boxplot(.)).

    o   Improvement to many (even most ?) documentation (.Rd) files.

    o   Numerous other fixes of minor things ...

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