[R] R or Splus?

David James dj at research.bell-labs.com
Tue Dec 5 19:19:59 CET 2000


J.Brainard at uea.ac.uk writes:
>It's been suggested I use R, I suppose because my employer is too skint to pay 
>for a copy of Splus.

I use (and like) both R and Splus.  In my case, it has nothing to do
with how much they cost: I know that my employer is more interested in
my productivity than in the cost (within reason, of course) of my data 
analysis software:-)

>But.... it doesn't seem to be stable.  I was trying to do some ordinary 
>and stepping through a model.  I was trying to set up a model ('kitchen_sink') 
>which to put all my model parameters.  Then I wanted to use step() to see what 
>would reduce the model to.  I couldn't even get started though.  I would 
>sometimes lm() would fall over and return an error message, sometimes the 
>ran fine.  I got fed up and ftp'd the original tables up to a machine running
>Splus, where the models ran fine, every time, with all kinds of specifications.
>Is this a normal experience?  Is R buggy or what?  I note the other email that
>R can't handle files named x.  If I can use Splus, should I just do that?

This is *not* at all my experience with R.   Typically, I use some development 
(i.e.,"unstable") version of R, yet it rarely gives me any trouble.  (BTW
I'm puzzled by your impression that R can't handle files named x -- obviously 
a misunderstanding by someone.)

>(Alternative is graphics-interface-only SPSS, and given that I've never used 
>I'm working on remote machines, from home, with no manuals handy, that is 
>something I 
>should really wish to avoid :-).

Both R and Splus have good online documentation (help pages and PDF version
of their user/programmer guides).  Again, this shouldn't be an issue.  
I'd suggest to take a closer look and decide for yourself
based on your needs and the functionality they provide;  if it costs
money,  well that's one of the tools you need to get your job done
(together with your desk, computer, telephone, fax, ....).


David A. James
Statistics Research, Room 2C-253            Phone:  (908) 582-3082       
Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies              Fax:    (908) 582-3340
Murray Hill, NJ 09794-0636

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