[R] Getting and using a function

Martin Maechler maechler at stat.math.ethz.ch
Fri Apr 13 14:46:16 CEST 2007

>>>>> "Thomas" == Thomas L Jones <jones3745 at verizon.net>
>>>>>     on Thu, 12 Apr 2007 22:28:33 -0500 writes:

    Thomas> I am trying to do what is perhaps the most basic procedure which can be done 
    Thomas> with the R software.

    Thomas> Under Windows XP Home Edition, I want to get a copy of the function "gam," 
    Thomas> then put it in and use it. I intentionaly use informal terms, rather than 
    Thomas> technical terms whose exact meaning I might or might not know.

    Thomas> I am finding this extremely frustrating. Every time
    Thomas> I try to do anything, all I get is error
    Thomas> messages.

So have you really read (and tried to understand) the 
"Introduction to R"  that's web- available and comes built 
into R?

    Thomas> only three or four or five steps involved. Well,
    Thomas> what are they? There is all this opaque
    Thomas> terminology. There are libraries, and packages, and
    Thomas> one downloads them, loads them, and installs them,
    Thomas> but just what all this means is unclear.

    Thomas> One example among many: I tell it

    Thomas> library (gam)  all I get is an error message.

    Thomas> Error in library (gam)  : there is no package called 'gam'

    Thomas> Well, does this mean what it says, or does it mean something different? For 
    Thomas> example, does it mean that such-and-such computer program has not yet been 
    Thomas> downloaded?

Well it means that "for your version of R" there is no package
called 'gam' available, i.e. "what it says"

or do you expect software to tell you something about the world at
large, namely that there is no R package named 'gam' on the
whole wide world ?  :-) 

[ BTW, for using a more modern version of gam(),
  there's the recommended package 'mgcv' - which you don't have
  to install :



    Thomas> I did download and install the 2.4.1 flavor
    Thomas> (version?) of the gui. I infer, reading between the
    Thomas> lines a bit, that there may be a sort of standard
    Thomas> procedure for setting things up, perhaps downloading
    Thomas> and installing the utils package, or something.

    Thomas> The R software has much gold in it, but, as far as
    Thomas> learnability/usability is concerned, I give it poor marks.

Well it is recommended that you learn it from a human rather
than from "itself".  One way to learn from humans is by reading
books, manuals, ....
and for R, there are quite a few, both freely available with R
and on the web, and others "in a bookstore near you" ...
A more comfortable way for some is to attend a course / class...

I hope you can bear the somewhat flippy tone of my answer,...
I'm just trying to counter your own humorous one ;-) :-)


    Thomas> Tom Jones
    Thomas> DrJones at alum.MIT.edu

    Thomas> ______________________________________________
    Thomas> R-help at stat.math.ethz.ch mailing list
    Thomas> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help

    Thomas> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
that also may be a quite useful resource to read ...

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