[R] Your opinions

Andrew C. Ward andreww at cheque.uq.edu.au
Wed Oct 23 12:44:56 CEST 2002


Since starting to use R (around version 1.3.?) I've only used S-PLUS for 
two reasons:
	1. if I already had a lot of data and functions there and didn't have time 
to get them into R.
	2. if I had to merge several data frames together. merge() in R didn't 
seem to work for me.

In other words, I have been able to do everything I wanted to do using R. 
If you have access to a student version of S-PLUS, however, you may as well 
try it out. For creating one-off graphs, the GUI approach in S-PLUS is 
arguably faster than preparing a script in R. Syntax in both systems is 
very much the same. I found that panel functions I created using S-PLUS had 
to be re-written in R, but otherwise most of my code needed only minor 

If you work or will work for a commercial organisation AND it is prepared 
to spend a lot of money, S-PLUS may be the way to go. If you're only a 
tinkerer, or you're a student/academic, or your company can't afford lots 
of software, you can't really go wrong with R.

I don't think I've answered your questions. Maybe someone else will :-)


Andrew C. Ward

CAPE Centre
Department of Chemical Engineering
The University of Queensland
Brisbane Qld 4072 Australia
andreww at cheque.uq.edu.au

On Wednesday, October 23, 2002 8:03 AM, DAVID JENSEN 
[SMTP:djense00 at yahoo.com] wrote:
> I am a long-time statistician and SAS programmer
> interested in learning R or S-Plus.  I am intrigued by
> being able to do statistical analysis in a more
> interactive environment than I am used to in SAS, not
> to mention using the much better and easier graphics
> capabilities.  In other words I am tired of having to
> develop a whole SAS program just to read some data in,
> do an ANOVA and a scatterplot.  From what I have
> learned of R/S-Plus it appears to be a whole lot
> easier (and much more fun) to do things like this in
> R/S-Plus than it is in SAS.  If it matters, I will be
> running R or S-Plus in Windows 2000.
> For starters, I have access to both R 1.60 and S-Plus
> 2000 with the ability to obtain a low-cost student
> license for S-Plus 6 in the near future if I decide
> to.  So the availability of either system is the same.
>  As an absolute beginner, I would like your opinions
> on which environment would be preferable - R or
> S-Plus.  Let's assume that I am willing to put in the
> time and effort to make the obvious differences
> between the two environments (the GUI interface in
> S-Plus) a non-issue.  I am a programmer so I prefer to
> learn and use the command-line interface anyway.  So
> let's just say that I would very seldom use the GUI in
> S-Plus anyway (that may or may not be true but I am
> trying to make things equal in terms of the two
> environments' capabilities rather than judging them by
> how convienient they are).
> Is there a practical reason to choose R over S in
> terms of functionality or efficiency?  I will have
> some fairly large datasets (over 100,000 obs with 40
> variables) but mostly smaller datasets with only a
> couple thousand observations.  Am I better off, given
> the fact that I have access to S-Plus to use it given
> the built-in conveniences which include the GUI.  Or
> is there a very practical reason to choose R, other
> than the fact that I have great admiration for an
> open-source software project and those who contribute
> to it.  If I did not have the access I do to S-Plus,
> it would be a no-brainer.  I would happily choose R.
> But given the fact I do have access to S-Plus, is
> there a reason to instead choose R?  Is what I learn
> to do in R directly applicable to S-Plus or are the
> differences profound enough as to be confusing
> switching back and forth?
> Thanks so much in advance for your advice.
> Dave
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