[R] Size of R user base
andy_liaw at merck.com
Mon Apr 19 22:40:25 CEST 2004
> From: Ted.Harding at nessie.mcc.ac.uk
> A very intriguing commentary!
> Some comments to "modulate" these estimates.
> On 19-Apr-04 Kevin S. Van Horn wrote:
> > 1. It appears that there are about 100,000 S-PLUS users.
> > Rationale: According to Insightful's 2002 Annual Report,
> over 100,000
> > people use Insightful software; since license revenues from
> S-PLUS and
> > add-on modules accounted for nearly all of their license
> revenues in
> > 2002, and their other products are much more costly than S-PLUS, it
> > seems that the great majority of users of Insightful software are
> > S-PLUS
> > users.
> > Conclusion: S-PLUS costs $3500 (Windows) or $4500
> (Linux/Unix) for an
> > individual copy; R is free. This suggests that there may be more R
> > users than S-PLUS users, which suggests > 100,000 R users.
> > Does anyone has any other information that would give some
> notion as to
> > the RELATIVE numbers of R and S-PLUS users?
> There is one major factor in here. The number of Windows users
> in the world is much higher than the number of Unix/Linux users,
> especially in the corporate sector. Organisations whose work
> needs R/S-PLUS and whose IT is Windows based will (I believe)
> mostly go for S-PLUS (I could expand in my reasons for believing
> this). Therefore I suspect that in the 2-way table
> Windows Unix/Linux
> S-PLUS N11 N12
> R N21 N22
> you are likely to find that N11/N21 >> N12/N22.
> Certainly N11+N21 > N12+N22. This tends to imply N11+N12 > N12+N22.
> The relative cost of S-PLUS vs R is not likely to be a factor in
> the choice, for most corporate users. Therefore I would lower your
> estimate, here, of R usage quite a bit (though I can't guess by
> how much).
> > 2. At least one R book has achieved sales of just over
> 5,000 copies.
> > (I could not find sales figures for other R books, as it
> appears that
> > publishers are closed-mouthed about such figures. And no, I can't
> > reveal which particular book this was, so don't ask.)
> > Conclusion: Very few books sell to more than 12% of the
> population of
> > potential buyers, and most books have a far lower
> penetration -- 1% or
> > less is not uncommon. A 12% penetration for the book in question
> > implies 42,000 R users; a more reasonable 5% penetration implies
> > 100,000
> > users. A low 1% penetration implies 500,000 users.
> Comment: More R users are likely to buy a book on R than S-PLUS
> users are likely to buy a book on S-PLUS. S-PLUS users who do
> buy a book may in fact buy a book on R rather than S-PLUS, if
> that book is well known to be good. (I'm assuming that the
> "R book" you refer to is R-specific rather than written for
> both R and S-PLUS or for "S-PLUS with R variations"; otherwise
> you have to take off the S-PLUS-only purchasers)
> > 3. There are a total of 3225 unique subscribers to the
> three R mailing
> > lists.
> I think this may be the most directly informative piece of data
> (though still on the soft side). People who use R are likely to
> become aware of the mailing lists, and to subscribe. So I suspect
> that this number exceeds say 20-40% of R users (you can't be precise
> with this sort of intuitive guess). This would suggest 7000-16000 R
> You might perhaps double or triple this to allow for groups where
> one member of the group subscribes as the "spokesman" for the rest.
> Maybe also inflate a bit to allow for R users who don't think
> they need to consult mailing lists (who are they??).
How about those poor students who don't know how lucky they are to have
instructors forcing R upon them for a course? I'd bet they are very
unlikely to subscribe to the list(s). Although I don't know if one would
want to include them as `R users'...
> E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <Ted.Harding at nessie.mcc.ac.uk>
> Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 167 1972
> Date: 19-Apr-04 Time: 21:22:51
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