Archive for month: March, 2013

On the acceptance of R

20 Mar 2013

Some history and a prediction.


A discussion broke out on the R-help mailing list in January 2006 about a technical report put out by the statistical computing group at UCLA.  The report in question talked mainly about SAS, SPSS and Stata.  It talked briefly — and not especially positively — about R.  Someone accused it of damning R with faint praise.  It might not be a surprise that the R community had a somewhat higher opinion of R.

You can find that thread with a web search like:

"A comment about R" 2006

There was a mechanism of  creating official comments to the technical report.  I edited material from the thread, got some additional views privately, and added a few flourishes myself to produce: R Relative to Statistical Packages.

That was 7 years ago.  There were on the order of 600 packages on CRAN. Read more →

email address back in action

15 Mar 2013

The email address [email protected] was out of action for a few hours today.  It is back now.

The options mechanism in R

02 Mar 2013

Customization in R.


Several features benefit from being customizable — either because of personal taste or specifics of the environment.

The way R implements this flexibility is through the options function.  This both sets and reports options.  For example, we can see the names of the options that are set by default:

> names(options())
 [1] "add.smooth"            "browser"              
 [3] "browserNLdisabled"     "check.bounds"         
 [5] "continue"              "contrasts"            
 [7] "defaultPackages"       "demo.ask"             
 [9] "device"                "device.ask.default"   
[11] "digits"                "echo"                 
[13] "editor"                "encoding"             
[15] "example.ask"           "expressions"          
[17] ""     "help.try.all.packages"
[19] "help_type"             "HTTPUserAgent"        
[21] ""         "keep.source"          
[23] "keep.source.pkgs"      "locatorBell"          
[25] "mailer"                "max.print"            
[27] ""         "na.action"            
[29] "nwarnings"             "OutDec"               
[31] "pager"                 "papersize"            
[33] "pdfviewer"             "pkgType"              
[35] "prompt"                "repos"                
[37] "scipen"                "show.coef.Pvalues"    
[39] "show.error.messages"   "show.signif.stars"    
[41] "str"                   "str.dendrogram.last"  
[43] "stringsAsFactors"      "timeout"              
[45] "ts.eps"                "ts.S.compat"          
[47] "unzip"                 "useFancyQuotes"       
[49] "verbose"               "warn"                 
[51] "warning.length"        "width"                
[53] "windowsTimeouts"

options returns a list.  Most of the options are not especially interesting — we’ll highlight a few of the most useful. Read more →

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