[R] Revolution R and the R Community?

Barry Rowlingson b.rowlingson at lancaster.ac.uk
Wed May 12 00:45:35 CEST 2010

On Tue, May 11, 2010 at 4:08 PM, ivo welch <ivowel at gmail.com> wrote:
> As an end-user, I wonder about Revolution R.  Is the relationship
> between Revolution R and the R community at-large a positive one?  Do
> the former contribute to the development efforts of the latter?  Is
> there a competitive aspect?  is their forum competitive with r-help?
> any other thoughts?  (most of all, I simply hope that they help some
> of the many helpful experts on this forum, who have volunteered their
> expertise to help me so many times.)

 It seems to me that Revolution Analytics are doing an awful lot of
good things for giving R a corporate voice, and are developing a lot
of stuff and releasing under Open Source licensing which is a good
thing too.

 But... I really don't like the offer of free Revolution Enterprise R
for academic use. It muddies the water of what is Free (as in beer)
and Free (as in speech). It's bad enough that English only has the one
word for the two concepts.

 As an academic, I don't use proprietary software not because it is
expensive, but because if it's closed source and not freely
redistributable then it's not a scientific tool. It becomes alchemical
magick. It may be the philosopher's stone that turns your base data
into analytical gold, but I can't examine it to see how it works, I
can't give it to someone else, I can't make a copy of it.

 I would rather see RA charge a price for academic use, since that
will make it clear that this is not Free (as in speech) software and
will also make people read the small print on the contract. Although
many people don't read the small print even when there is money


 I've known Dave Smith for many years - we first met when he was in
Lancaster. He was developing an Splus package for longitudinal data
which, ironically, he released under the GPL while I was selling the
Splus version of splancs for 60 pounds! Oh how we change! :)


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