R-beta: Some General Questions

Robert Gentleman rgentlem at stat.auckland.ac.nz
Sat Oct 4 03:47:09 CEST 1997

Well, here are a few more answers:

>      1. I saw a reference to the Fullerton Library in one of the r-help     
>         messages recently. What and where is it?
	I have no idea!  A quick grep in library/base/help didn't turn  up
>      2. Has there been developed a function like sas.get for R or can       
>         the one found at statlib in the directory for S be used? 

	No development. I don't know; I have never needed to do the translation
	but I imagine/assume that once the format of the sas files is known
	it would be easy enough to write the translator and I would start
	with the one at statlib.

>      5. Is there any work being done on GUI front ends like the dialog      
>         functions found in Splus?

	None that I am aware of. 
>      6. I learned that MathSoft intends to make its S code inaccessible for 
>         use in R. Is that true, how can that be achieved, and what are the  
>         implications of it in the development and use of R?

	That's news to me (but not surprising news). I have no idea how
	they intend to do it. Certainly they have gotten alot of mileage out
	of contributions by others (Terry Thernau's survival package for 
	example) that needs to be open to be developed and used (at least
	initially). I imagine that too strong a move towards locking things
	up as internal code will push many academics/professionals away from
	it as a development platform. In my opinion this would be a huge
	mistake. R isn't really a competitor. R has been dubbed part of
	GNU by RMS himself.
>      7. How many developers are there that regularly contribute to the      
>         development of R?

	I count 7 on the core development team. F. Leisch, K. Hornik 
	(TU Wien, Austria), Martin Maechler (ETHZ, Zurich, Switzerland),
	Peter Dalgaard ( University of Copenhagen), Ross Ihaka and myself
	(U. of Auckland, New Zealand), Thomas Lumley, (U of Washington,
	Dept of Biostats).
	We also get a lot of help from:
	 Luke Tierney, U of Minnesotta,
	 Heinrich Schwarte, Essen, Germany
	 Doug Bates, U of Wisconsin
	 Plus a host of others.
	 Whenever one starts making lists there are those that are 
	 inevitably left off; my apologies to you all.
>      8. What is R's development platform?

	I'm not sure what you mean. Basically we do our primary development
	on Unix (SunOS at work and Ross uses FreeBSD at home). We then do
	our ports to Macintosh and Windows using what have become fairly 
	antiquated machines.
>      The compilation of R on my Linux box was easy. It was troublesome, at 
>      first, to compile it on a Solaris2.5 platform. Once I defined the 
>      environmental variable: OPENWINHOME=/usr/openwin, the compilation 
>      proceeded without a problem. I wish compilations of other software 
>      were so nice.
>      9. What is the procedure for the submission of software for R?
>         Are unsolicited submissions or developed utilities not found on     
>         the "TO DO" list welcomed?

	Kurt and Fritz maintain the CRAN archive of software libraries that
	have been made to run under R.
	If you have something that works then there are some guidelines about
	how to wrap it up and it becomes part of the archive.
	R is mirrored from Auckland at a variety of sites around the world.
	People should pick it up from the site nearest them (not from us,
	we have to pay real money for every copy that goes out; yes I know
	it sounds like a silly system but they have yet to let me run the
	There are several mailing lists about R. The most useful is 
	r-help at stat.math.ethz.ch (which you posted to anyway).
	Bug fixes can be posted there. People who post several good
	bug fixes will soon find themselves drawn into a more active role.

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