[R] Problems in Recommending R

Neil Shephard nshephard at gmail.com
Tue Feb 3 13:04:44 CET 2009




Adam D. I. Kramer-2 wrote:
> 
> I respectfully disagree. In my repeated experience, I have seen colleagues
> in industry and university simply write R off as "too difficult" or "not
> worth the effort" based on purely cosmetic grounds, and then at my urging
> and after some instruction embrace R as being a fantastic piece of
> software.
> 
> The reality of the situation is that before you read a book, you only have
> its cover to judge. Suggesting that people should read every book
> regardless
> of the cover does not make sense for people who have other things to do.
> 

I respectfully disagree with your disagreement :-)

You don't just have the cover by which to judge a book you have reviews of
the book too (unless of course its just been printed, but even then it
quickly gets sent out to review which then appear in
journals/papers/web-sites/etc.).

As it is there are a lot of "reviews" which extol the virtues of R.  If
you're colleagues (or anyone else) ignores these in favour of the "look" of
the web-site to determine whether they are to start trying out and using R
then that is their loss.


Adam D. I. Kramer-2 wrote:
> 
> 
> In the ecological context of open-source software, the "cover" or
> cosmetics
> of a software program, its documentation, and its support structure are
> actually quite correlated with overall ease of use, and if functionality
> is
> modeled as the factorial interaction of "information produced" with "the
> amount of time it takes to produce the information," then functionality
> correlates with ease of use, and so the appearance of the webpage is not a
> "triviality."
> 

Again I'd disagree, perhaps the most widely used suite of software has a
very simple and clean web-site with few bells and whistles, ditto for one of
the most popular text-editors.  I am of course referring to the suite of GNU
utilities (http://www.gnu.org/) that make a working GNU/Linux distribution
and Emacs (http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/ ).

I like the R web-site, its clean and simple, present key information
prominently (manuals, docs, CRAN, RNew and mailing lists).

Neil

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