[Rd] Source code of early S versions

John Chambers jmc at r-project.org
Mon Feb 29 19:17:33 CET 2016

The Wikipedia statement may be a bit misleading.

S was never open source.  Source versions would only have been available with a nondisclosure agreement, and relatively few copies would have been distributed in source.  There was a small but valuable "beta test" network, mainly university statistics departments.

And two shameless plugs:

1.  there is a chapter on the history of all this in my forthcoming book on "Extending R"

2. Rick Becker will give a keynote talk on the history of S at the useR! 2016 conference (user2016.org); 2016 is the 40th anniversary of the first work on S.


PS:  somehow "historical" would be less unnerving than "archeological"

On Feb 29, 2016, at 8:40 AM, Barry Rowlingson <b.rowlingson at lancaster.ac.uk> wrote:

> According to Wikipedia:
> "In 1980 the first version of S was distributed outside Bell
> Laboratories and in 1981 source versions were made available."
> but I've been unable to locate any version of S online. Does anyone
> have a copy, somewhere, rusting away on an old hard disk or slowly
> flaking off a tape? I've had a rummage round the CMU Statlib on
> archive.org but no sign of it, and its hard to search for "S"
> generally.
> Obviously this would be for archaeological purposes, but there's
> bound to be someone out there who'd like to try and compile it on a
> modern system. It might at least be nice to see it in a nice format on
> Gitlab, for example. But maybe there's licensing problems.
> Anyone interested in the history of S should read Richard Becker's
> article from the mid 90s:
> http://sas.uwaterloo.ca/~rwoldfor/software/R-code/historyOfS.pdf
> Barry
> [apologies if S talk is off-topic. Surprisingly I've just discovered
> the S-news mailing list still runs, but looking at the recent archive
> I don't think I'd get much success there]
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