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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Microsoft and a version of R

From: address@hidden
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Microsoft and a version of R
Date: Fri, 26 Jun 2015 17:32:08 -0400

I'm a statistician and I use R is my primary tool. It's ironic that R is a Free implementation of the S language created at Bell Labs. S was enhanced into S-Plus, which was bought by Tibco. Is anyone using S-Plus these days? I draw two conclusions from this. First, that R eclipsed S-Plus shows the immense value and support for a Free statistical programming language. Second, as the steward that watched S-Plus vaporize, Tibco cannot speak with any authority on what makes software successful.

I'm not sure this is a big risk to R. It is definitely a sad day for Revolution Analytics. I don't have deep knowledge about this, but I think they started out doing for R what Red Hat did for GNU/Linux, which is a business model consistent with software freedom.

It's probably a debatable legal point, but I think they should not be allowed to use the "R" name. For one thing, R's initial creators didn't call their project "S." Second, there is likely to be confusion about who has the real R, or which one they're actually using. I'm envisioning Microsoft advertising that Excel now includes R, and people having no idea it's not canonical R.

Jim Garrett

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