[R] a philosophy R question

Bill.Venables at csiro.au Bill.Venables at csiro.au
Sun Nov 21 05:22:39 CET 2010

The conventional view used to be that S is the language and that R and S-PLUS are implementations of it.  R is usually described as 'a programming environment for data analysis and graphics' (as was S-PLUS before it).  However as the language that R implements diverges inexorably from the classical definition of S it is now probably more accurate to describe the language itself as R as well, now a dialect of S, if you will.  

The only thing most would agree upon, though is that neither R nor S-PLUS should *ever* be described as "stats packages".  Such a description is definitely to be avoided.  In fact calling R a 'package' at all would be both confusing and misleading (not to mention demeaning!).

Bill Venables. 

-----Original Message-----
From: r-help-bounces at r-project.org [mailto:r-help-bounces at r-project.org] On Behalf Of Erin Hodgess
Sent: Sunday, 21 November 2010 11:56 AM
To: R help
Subject: [R] a philosophy R question

Dear R People:

Do we say that R is a programming language or a programming environment, please?

Which is correct, please?

Thanks in advance,

Erin Hodgess
Associate Professor
Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences
University of Houston - Downtown
mailto: erinm.hodgess at gmail.com

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