R-beta: Teach material for R
Martin Maechler
maechler at stat.math.ethz.ch
Thu Mar 26 16:43:36 CET 1998
>>>>> "Kenneth" == Kenneth Nordstrom <nordstro at noppa.helsinki.fi> writes:
Kenneth> Howdy! I'm a newbie in R, but have nevertheless gone out on a
Kenneth> limb and used R this spring for teaching our stats students
Kenneth> "modern data-analysis". I've been using RNotes, but to get
Kenneth> some more (statistical) meat on the bones, I've complemented
Kenneth> it with material from Venables-Ripley. Most of the V-R stuff
Kenneth> (that I've tried) seems to work out of the box.
Kenneth> Q-1: Is this generally the case (except for obvious
Kenneth> differences with S+ like 3-dim graphics)? If yes, why is it
Kenneth> necessary to port MASS if you can source the files on their
Kenneth> diskette? Anyone tried this, or used other material for
Kenneth> teaching data-analysis with R a la V-R?
You must have been that you didn't have problems with "MASS".
Part of it certainly is because V&R use a very good S programming style.
Many things (95%, 98% ??) *do* work out of the box.
But the remaining (2-5%) can be a pain, especially if they are hidden,
and don't even produce an obvious error message.
Kenneth> Q-2: How does R compare with XploRe? The latter seems to have
Kenneth> the advantage that more macros/functions are already written,
Kenneth> it has a nice graphical user interface (a consideration when
Kenneth> teaching) as well as 3-dim graphics (also dynamical). Has
Kenneth> anyone compared these in terms of capabilities as programming
Kenneth> languages? (Note that you can get XploRe for LINUX for free
Kenneth> and without expiry date!)
I'm sure XploRe has some (even many?) pluses over R; especially the
availability of modern non/semi-parametric curve fitting and other modern
statistical methods and the extensive and nicely written
documentation.. and ... and...
Programming Language: I'd be interested to hear opinions here.
I remember having preferred the S language (of which R is a dialect)
quite a bit. However, I am severely biased... :-)
The big drawback for many of the "R fans" is that it is
commercial and only available as binary, and therefore not free in the
sense of the Free Software Foundation.
[[Also: There is a saying that software is only *really* documented,
and usable for scientific purposes
if its source code is available (together with more doc..!).
However I know that this view is quite extreme,
even more than I am .. ;-)
]]
Martin Maechler <maechler at stat.math.ethz.ch> <><
Seminar fuer Statistik, ETH-Zentrum SOL G1; Sonneggstr.33
ETH (Federal Inst. Technology) 8092 Zurich SWITZERLAND
phone: x-41-1-632-3408 fax: ...-1086
http://www.stat.math.ethz.ch/~maechler/
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