[R] R functionality

Thomas Lumley thomas at biostat.washington.edu
Mon Nov 30 18:12:26 CET 1998

On 30 Nov 1998, Ed Kademan wrote:

> Is there anything R can do that Splus can't?  I know about the
> differences in the language but what about statistical functionality.
> Are there models you can build or graphs you can plot in R that you
> can't in Splus?  My impression is that in this respect R is strictly a
> subset.

Since almost anything you can do in R has source code that you could port
to S-PLUS with little effort there will never be much you can do in R that
you couldn't do in S-PLUS (or vanilla S) if you wanted to. Some of the
packages, because they are more recent than similar S(-PLUS) built-in
features may be better designed (eg the tree packages from Terry Therneau
and Brian Ripley, the best-subsets regression code from Alan Miller) but
these could be loaded into S-PLUS if you felt the urge. There's the
occasional little feature: eg pt() allows a non-centrality
parameter for the t-distribution, but again, since the code is freely
available you could dyn.load() it into S-PLUS quite easily.

The graphics functionality is better in some ways: mathematical annotation
of plots, better control of colors in plotting functions than in Unix

As R is much faster on _some_ code than S-PLUS I have also done
simulations in R that I could not do in S-PLUS. Whether this counts as an
added feature is arguable, but it can certainly be useful.

Thomas Lumley
Assistant Professor, Biostatistics
University of Washington, Seattle

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