[R] S-PLUS 8 beta program [repost]

David Smith dsmith at insightful.com
Wed Mar 29 22:04:13 CEST 2006

[Sorry about the duplicate posting; this one comes from the correct address.
Please respond to me with any questions about this -- David.]

Dear R-help readers, 

	As Insightful announced at the DSC2005 meeting in Seattle, the next
release of S-PLUS will introduce a new package system. Our goal is to provide
package authors the means to create cutting-edge statistical methods
currently available either as R packages or as S-PLUS library sections and
deliver them to the entire community of S-PLUS and R users.

	In this release of S-PLUS, we plan to implement many low-level
utility functions with the same API as R. Just as many R functions originated
in S-PLUS, we plan on re-implementing many R functions in S-PLUS to provide
S-PLUS users the ability to create packages of their work and distribute them
to others as R users have done for many years. In the future, we expect
package authors will be able to create a single package that will run in both
environments. The actual package system would be a port of the R package
system code, which furthers the exchangeability of S-PLUS and R code. The
ported code will be available in a GPL library called Rcompat

	To demonstrate that R packages can now be ported to S-PLUS, we have -
with the permissions of the authors - ported several R packages to run as
S-PLUS packages. We are planning to make these packages available for
download from an Insightful-hosted website (called csan.insightful.com for
consistency with the CRAN site of R packages). The license terms of the
source packages will always be respected, and these packages will all be
available under their original open-source license. Any improvements to
open-source packages, whether by Insightful or by others, will remain
open-source. Our intent will be to grow the list of open-source,
cross-system-compatible packages over time. 

	While most existing R packages will not run automatically in S-PLUS,
with some effort, a user should be able to port an existing R package to an
S-PLUS package. More important, by using functions and interfaces now
available in both systems, a user should be able to create a single package
that will run in both S-PLUS and R in the future. (The judicious use of some
system-specific if(is.R()) statement will help to this end.) As a proof of
concept, we are developing a package that will run on both systems.  In the
future, we hope to post this package on both CSAN and CRAN sites. We are also
working to provide S-PLUS library sections from our research group as S-PLUS
packages that would also work in R. 

	Our work on the S-PLUS package functionality is ongoing. We expect to
begin beta testing in April. We invite R package authors who are interested
in testing their packages in S-PLUS to participate in the beta test. As a
beta participant, you will receive a beta version of S-PLUS that will be
fully functional until the end of the beta period. You will also be able to
send input to the development team regarding the S-PLUS package system. If
you are a package author, and you are interested in participating in the beta
test, see the full details on the S-PLUS 8 beta test and complete the
registration form at the Insightful website:


	Best regards from the S-PLUS product management team,

	Patrick Aboyoun (S-PLUS Platform)
	Michael O'Connell (Life Sciences) 
	David Smith (Finance)

David M Smith <dsmith at insightful.com>
Senior Product Manager, Insightful Corp, Seattle WA
Tel: +1 (206) 802 2360
Fax: +1 (206) 283 6310

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