[R] Slightly OT - use of R

(Ted Harding) ted.harding at nessie.mcc.ac.uk
Mon Jul 30 11:18:42 CEST 2007

On 30-Jul-07 08:28:15, John Logsdon wrote:
> I am trying to get a measure of how R compares in usage as a
> statistical platform compared to other software. I would guess
> it is the most widely used among statisticians at least by
> virtue of it being open source.
> But is there any study to which I can refer? By asking this
> list I am not exactly adopting a rigorous approach!

I don't know about that -- my own expectation would be that
serious users of R are likely to be subscribers to the list.

So maybe a good answer to your question would be the number
of subscribers (which I'm sure Martin Maechler can find out).
Of course, some people will have subscribed under more than
one email address, so that would somewhat over-estimate the
number of people who subscribe. But it can be traded off
(to a somewhat unknown extent) against R users who do not

More to the point, though, is what you mean by "usage".
If you simply mean "people who use", that's a matter of
counting (one way or another). But there's "use" and "use".

There's a lot of what I call "SatNav Statistics" being done,
and I would guess that "SatNav statisticians" tend to go
for the commercial products, since these have bigger and
brighter displays, and the more mellifluous and reassuring
voice-overs. (And never mind that the voice instructs you
to turn left, at the level-crossing, onto the railway line).

Most serious R users, I tend to think, are more likely to
pull into a layby and unfold large-scale maps. And, when
the need arises, they will get out and push.

So, in "widely used among statisticians", it depends on
what you mean by "statisticians".

Where you will will probably get extra value from the R list
is that many of our people will have extensive and very
professional experience, not only with R, but with many of
the other available packages, and be best placed to provide
serious and thoughtful comparisons.

Best wishes,

E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <Ted.Harding at manchester.ac.uk>
Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 094 0861
Date: 30-Jul-07                                       Time: 10:18:21
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