[R] Getting and using a function

J.delasHeras at ed.ac.uk J.delasHeras at ed.ac.uk
Fri Apr 13 18:46:06 CEST 2007

Quoting Thomas L Jones <jones3745 at verizon.net>:

> I am trying to do what is perhaps the most basic procedure which can be done
> with the R software.
> Under Windows XP Home Edition, I want to get a copy of the function "gam,"
> then put it in and use it. I intentionaly use informal terms, rather than
> technical terms whose exact meaning I might or might not know.
> I am finding this extremely frustrating. Every time I try to do anything,
> all I get is error messages. Hey, this isn't rocket science; there are only
> three or four or five steps involved. Well, what are they? There is all this
> opaque terminology. There are libraries, and packages, and one downloads
> them, loads them, and installs them, but just what all this means is
> unclear.
> One example among many: I tell it
> library (gam)  all I get is an error message.
> Error in library (gam)  : there is no package called 'gam'
> Well, does this mean what it says, or does it mean something different? For
> example, does it mean that such-and-such computer program has not yet been
> downloaded?
> I did download and install the 2.4.1 flavor (version?) of the gui. I infer,
> reading between the lines a bit, that there may be a sort of standard
> procedure for setting things up, perhaps downloading and installing the
> utils package, or something.
> The R software has much gold in it, but, as far as learnability/usability is
> concerned, I give it poor marks.
> Tom Jones
> DrJones at alum.MIT.edu

Poor marks?
It's not the most user-friendly tool to use, as it requires a little  
bit of learning[*]... but I find that there's a lot of very useful  
information if you care to look for it and read it. What you can't do  
is just type stuff at random and be annoyed that R doesn't understand  
what you mean.

[*] don't you have to learn how to use _any_ tool, anyway?

The "Introduction to R" included by default as a pdf with the RGui  
installation (and accessible via its Help menu) is a very useful  
introduction to R (surprise!). I'd recommend starting with that,  
before despairing. There are tons of useful R documentation all over...


Dr. Jose I. de las Heras                      Email: J.delasHeras at ed.ac.uk
The Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology    Phone: +44 (0)131 6513374
Institute for Cell & Molecular Biology        Fax:   +44 (0)131 6507360
Swann Building, Mayfield Road
University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh EH9 3JR

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