[R] things that are difficult/impossible to do in SAS or SPSSbut simple in R

Barry Rowlingson b.rowlingson at lancaster.ac.uk
Thu Jan 17 19:19:23 CET 2008

Clint Bowman wrote:
> So how does SAS compare with one of the specialty languages such as perl.
> I've found the combination of perl and R to work quite satisfactorily (as
> long as I don't confuse the syntax and functions available in each.)

  Now that the topic has drifted off the subject of what stats things 
you can do in R that you can't do in SAS, I feel I can chime in on a 
couple of things that are impossible or difficult to do in SAS:

  1. Look at the source code. Not impossible with SAS, you'll just need 
to get a job with them, and then probably get some security clearance. 
Or disassemble and reverse-engineer the binary, which is probably 
illegal. Impossible? Near enough.

  2. Give a copy to your students. Again, not impossible with SAS, 
you'll just have to copy the CDs, write down the license code, and let 
them accidentally fall into your student's handbag.

  Of course if you can show that SAS has the power of a Turing machine 
then nothing computable is impossible...


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