[R] anti-R vitriol

Berton Gunter gunter.berton at gene.com
Tue Jun 29 20:18:55 CEST 2004

My reaction, as a "mere" individual user: Of course, one cannot have any idea
what's really going on, so a rational reply to the rant is impossible. But, as
this list repeatedly demonstrates (and as we all have probably experienced), it
is possible to do things foolishly in any software.

Worth noting: John Chambers, the designer of the S language (of which R is an
implementation) won  an ACM computing award (readers -- please correct details of
this citation) for his achievement; so apparently the professional computing
community disagreed with the sentiments expressed in the rant.



Bert Gunter

Non-Clinical Biostatistics
MS: 240B
Phone: 650-467-7374

"The business of the statistician is to catalyze the scientific learning

 -- George E.P. Box

Barry Rowlingson wrote:

> A colleague is receiving some data from another person. That person
> reads the data in SAS and it takes 30s and uses 64k RAM. That person
> then tries to read the data in R and it takes 10 minutes and uses a
> gigabyte of RAM. Person then goes on to say:
>    It's not that I think SAS is such great software,
>    it's not.  But I really hate badly designed
>    software.  R is designed by committee.  Worse,
>    it's designed by a committee of statisticians.
>    They tend to confuse numerical analysis with
>    computer science and don't have any idea about
>    software development at all.  The result is R.
>    I do hope [your colleague] won't have to waste time doing
>    [this analysis] in an outdated and poorly designed piece
>    of software like R.
> Would any of the "committee" like to respond to this? Or shall we just
> slap our collective forehead and wonder how someone could get such a view?
> Barry
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