[R] R or Splus?

Mark Myatt mark at myatt.demon.co.uk
Wed Dec 6 10:18:06 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.

Or, maybe, he just supports open-source software ... some of us do. I
can't see how an 'ac.uk' employer would pay more than a few quid for a
copy of Splus through an academic licensing deal.

>But.... it doesn't seem to be stable.  I was trying to do some ordinary 
>regression [stuff deleted]

I am sure that other on the list will ask you to give more details about
your machine, OS, R versions, dataset, commands that caused the problem,
error messages, &c.

>Is this a normal experience?

Not mine. I find it stable.

>  Is R buggy or what?

Getting less so. I am very surprised that lm() is giving you problems.

>  I note the other email that
>R can't handle files named x.

One of us is confused. Where did that come from?

>  If I can use Splus, should I just do that?

If you feel happier with it. R is lighter and faster than Splus. R
support (through the lists) is excellent.

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

SPSS is a 'package' rather than an environment/language like R or S. It
is pretty good (stable, fast, easy to use) but limited in the way
'packages' usually are. I don't think that there are any "graphic-
interface-only" versions of SPSS. The GUI, in SPSS, is a syntax builder
just like the GUI in Splus. The command language is a bit idiosyncratic
but you can use the GUI to help you see how commands are structured.
SPSS has good on-line help and the manuals are good (you can get them in
most academic bookstores). SPSS is much simpler than R/S for data-
management jobs. SPSS is a venerable package and will do the job for
most users most of the time. It is very cheap under academic license.

Of course, there is some pride in being an SPlus, and by implication R,
user as these systems have the reputation of being tools for illuminati.

Just my tuppence.


Mark Myatt

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