[R] Problems in Recommending R

Duncan Murdoch murdoch at stats.uwo.ca
Tue Feb 3 15:59:36 CET 2009

On 2/3/2009 9:32 AM, Gabor Grothendieck wrote:
> On Tue, Feb 3, 2009 at 9:20 AM, hadley wickham <h.wickham at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Again I'd disagree, perhaps the most widely used suite of software has a
>>> very simple and clean web-site with few bells and whistles, ditto for one of
>>> the most popular text-editors.  I am of course referring to the suite of GNU
>>> utilities (http://www.gnu.org/) that make a working GNU/Linux distribution
>>> and Emacs (http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/ ).
>>> I like the R web-site, its clean and simple, present key information
>>> prominently (manuals, docs, CRAN, RNew and mailing lists).
>> Have you ever used the R website?
>> To download the latest version for R for windows you have to:
>>  1. avoid clicking on the "R version 2.8.1" link - that takes you to a
>> directory listing of strangely named files
>>  2. recognise that you need to click on an CRAN (what is a cran?)
>>  3. successfully select a mirror that is up-to-date (with no
>> information about which mirrors are up-to-date)
>>  4. click Windows (ok, this one is easy)
>>  5. guess that base is the "distribution" that you want
>>  6. phew, you're there (but don't follow the advice to download from a
>> mirror near you or you'll be back at step 3)
> Its even more confusing than that because actually you're not there
> yet!  You have to click on the unobtrusive patched link and then
> download that or you get the version with the bugs.

It's not necessarily true that the patched version has milder bugs than 
the release version.  The release has gone through an alpha/beta/rc test 
period (for whatever that's worth); the patched version hasn't 
necessarily been tested by anyone at all, though generally whoever fixes 
a bug does tests.

It may also be harder to reproduce your research if you use patch 
builds:  we don't save those, though we do try to save releases.

But in any case, if you want to improve this, the source is available. 
In this case it's actually stored as part of the R sources, in


Duncan Murdoch

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