[Rd] Question about R developpment

Andrie de Vries apdevries at gmail.com
Sun Jun 11 01:50:09 CEST 2017

Martyn and Duncan are both correct. 

I am on the Microsoft team that creates and distributes Microsoft R Open
(MRO).  We make absolutely no changes to R at all, just some enchancements
in the distribution.  As already pointed out:
* We add the Intel MKL to replace the built-in BLAS. This is similar to
replacing the BLAS with OpenBLAS or Atlas - readily available for Linux
distributions of R
* We make some changes in the RProfile.site file, notably pointing to an
MRAN snapshot, in turn a timestamped mirror of CRAN
* We add some package, e.g. foreach and iterators - all of these packages
are on CRAN.

In Microsoft R Client and Microsoft R Server we go further:
* We add proprietary packages that add scalability and connectivity to SQL
Server, Hadoop and other big data platforms
* But, again, the underlying R code remains unchanged.

In addition, Microsoft provides bug fixes and other enhancements to R

Microsoft remains committed to supporting both the R Foundation and the R

I hope this helps.


(Andrie de Vries, Senior Programme Manager, Microsoft)
(You can also contact me at mailto:adevries at microsoft.com)

-----Original Message-----
From: R-devel [mailto:r-devel-bounces at r-project.org] On Behalf Of Martyn
Sent: 10 June 2017 16:06
To: Duncan Murdoch <murdoch.duncan at gmail.com>; Morgan
<2005.morgan at gmail.com>; r-devel at r-project.org
Subject: Re: [Rd] Question about R developpment

I would describe MRO as a distribution of R, in the same way that Fedora,
Debian, SUSE etc are distributions of Linux. It is not fundamentally
different from the version of R that you can download from CRAN but the
binary builds offer some specific features:

1) The binary build is linked to the Intel Math Kernel Library (MKL) which
may increase the speed of some matrix operations
2) Packages are downloaded from MRAN, Microsoft's time-stamped copy of CRAN.
This can help with reproducibility of analyses that rely on CRAN packages.

As far as I know, all of the additional packages that are bundled with MRO
are freely distributable and also available from CRAN. As Roy points out,
both Microsoft and the R Foundation are partners in the R Consortium. So we
do talk to each other as well as other stakeholders who participate in the

From: R-devel <r-devel-bounces at r-project.org> on behalf of Duncan Murdoch
<murdoch.duncan at gmail.com>
Sent: 11 June 2017 00:09
To: Morgan; r-devel at r-project.org
Subject: Re: [Rd] Question about R developpment

On 10/06/2017 2:38 PM, Morgan wrote:
> Hi,
> I had a question that might not seem obvious to me.
> I was wondering why there was no patnership between microsoft the R 
> core team and eventually other developpers to improve R in one unified 
> version instead of having different teams developping their own version of

As far as I know, there's only one version of R currently being developed.
Microsoft doesn't offer anything different; they just offer a build of a
slightly older version of base R, and a few packages that are not in the
base version.

Duncan Murdoch

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