[R] Slightly OT - use of R

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Mon Jul 30 12:13:47 CEST 2007

On Mon, 30 Jul 2007, ted.harding at nessie.mcc.ac.uk wrote:

> 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.

I don't think that is the main reason.  Most of the R users I know 
migrated from commercial statistical software for reasons other than cost.
(Cross-platform availability has been one major reason.)

>> 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
> subscribe.

I think it would be a seriously biased estimate.
Few of our hundreds of student users will be subscribed to R-help 
(since their first port of call for help is local).
Also, we get quite a lot of postings via the gmane and nabble gateways.

> 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".


Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272866 (PA)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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