R-beta: R and S: Differences to a person who has used neither
ihaka at stat.auckland.ac.nz
Tue Jul 1 05:07:05 CEST 1997
Brent Hutto writes:
> I've read the FAQ section labeled "R and S", but the differences
> discussed are a bit esoteric to a person who has used neither
> (such as myself, for instance). FWIW, I've also read the article on
> lexical scoping - a bit over my head, frankly.
R and S are very similar, and for a while they are going to get more
alike. The big change will come when S-PLUS switches to John Chambers
new "objects all the way down" version of S. The aim of this new
version of S is to provide as much flexibility as possible. At about
the same time this new S version becomes available, I am hoping that a
new version/descendent of R will also be available. The aim for the
new R version is efficiency and speed (i.e. a compiled language -
initial results indicate a factor 100 - 200 speedup should be possible
for some computations).
> I would like a modern statistical programming tool to allow me to
> move beyond my limited exposure to SAS and similar packages. After a
> few hours of playing around with R and xlispstat, I've picked R as a
> likely candidate (just can't get used to prefix notation, I guess).
> Can someone outline the differences between R and, say, S-plus that
> would be obvious to a person just starting out programming? If I
> stick to R will I be missing out on some "once you see it you've just
> gotta have it" features? Any guidance available is much appreciated.
If there are obvious differences, let us know and we do what we can to
move R in the S direction. The next big push will be to produce Mac and
PowerMac versions as well as final Windows 95 and NT versions. This
will also entail a cleanup/redesign of the graphics as well.
> BTW, I don't really consider "telephone support" or "documentation" a
> la commercial software to be a feature per se. I'm talking about the
> basic capabilities of the software itself. I don't mind paying for
> what I need, but the pricing structure of S-plus would probably mean
> waiting until I have an "earn a living" type of task to do rather
> than just a desire for learning. Plus it's still old Windows software
> with 8.3 file names and memory limitations (last time I looked,
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