[R] the R package - relation to R project?

Jari Oksanen jarioksa at cc.oulu.fi
Thu May 17 07:45:10 CEST 2001

phgrosje at ulb.ac.be said:
> I remember NAME, an European seminar on Numerical Analysis in Marine
> Ecology where Pierre Legendre proudly introduced its R package to us.
> We were wondering why this name, R, for such a software... and we
> finally concluded that it should be because it adopts an R strategy.

> For those who are not biologists, there are two main strategies for a
> species to spread and survive: - the k strategy consists in being very
> competitive and invest energy on defense and protection but less on
> reproduction - the R strategy consists in devoting much of the energy
> in reproduction to compensate a lower competitivity 

Actually, the cases should be switched: they are r and K strategies. 
They take their names from the parameters of the logistic population 
growth model (used in ecology textbooks -- not much elsewhere). If it's 
an upper-case R, then it could refer to Grime's CSR strategies, but 
would not sound a very fit name (unless Pierre Legendre has a good 
sense of humour -- like he actually has). Grime's strategies are 
competitive (C), stress tolerant (S) and ruderal or `opportunistic' 
(R). That makes both C and S as more natural choices for fancy packages 
than R. Perhaps Pierre wanted to be ahead of its competitor in 
alphabets (Syn-Tax) -- like R is ahead S? Well, he has an email 
address: it would be possible to ask him. Clashes in one-character 
names are easy though, in particular since you anglophones have such a 
low number of alphabets. What about programs called Ö, Å, Ð, Þ, Ê, Ç... 
(and even iso-8859-1 runs dry).

cheers, jazza oksanen
Jari Oksanen -- Dept Biology, Univ Oulu, 90014 Oulu, Finland
Ph. +358 8 5531526, cell +358 40 5136529, fax +358 8 5531061
email jari.oksanen at oulu.fi, homepage http://cc.oulu.fi/~jarioksa/

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