R-beta: Re: S Compatibility
wvenable at attunga.stats.adelaide.edu.au
Thu May 1 01:38:17 CEST 1997
Kurt Hornik writes:
> Or, and that's perhaps the right thing to do, one could ask Richard
> Stallman. [As an aside, perhaps not everyone is aware that one of the
> issues on the GNU Task List is
> * An implementation of the S language (an interpreted language used
> for statistics).
> ] I am sure he'd be delighted to help ...
> I think that roughly speaking, you cannot copyright a language, onlt its
> implementation. But I may be wrong ...
My casual remark that started all this was not intended to hint
at any legal or ethical dilemmas lying just around the corner. I
do agree these are serious issues, though. One small anecdote I
can contribute was that both John Chambers and Ross Ihaka were
present at the SISC conference in July last year and John, with
great generosity of spirit, I thought, (or perhaps very acute
foresight) was publicly very supportive of Ross & Ron's efforts.
It may well have been foresight, because my own feeling is that
the main effect of R will be to make available an S-like language
to people like students and enthusiasts who under normal
circumstances would not be MathSoft customers -- that is until
they graduate and go on to an honest job, of course. S and R
will diverge, too. That much is plain to anyone who has had a
glimpse of S version 4, as I have been priviledged to do. So
ultimately if you want the genuine article you will have to pay
for it. I suppose that also applies to the GUI (or gooey?) front
end to S-PLUS version 4, due out real soon now...
Bill Venables, Head, Dept of Statistics, Tel.: +61 8 8303 5418
University of Adelaide, Fax.: +61 8 8303 3696
South AUSTRALIA. 5005. Email: Bill.Venables at adelaide.edu.au
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