R-beta: "Comparison of Mathematical Programs for Analysis"

Thomas Lumley thomas at biostat.washington.edu
Wed Sep 10 00:10:58 CEST 1997

On Wed, 10 Sep 1997, Bill Venables wrote:

> Not having seen the web-page (and unable to do so right now) I am
> not about to pan it outright, but I must say I am largely
> unimpressed by these comparisons of software on the basis of what
> features they do or do not have, simply because they usually
> ignore (or at least downgrade the value of) extensibility.

Having seen the web page, I have no such reservations about criticising
it. I have serious reservations about a rating scheme that gives points
for each feature on a list that ranges from 3-d error bars to nonlinear
equation solvers. In any of these programs, which are all extensible to
some extent, it would be trivial to add some of the features, but others
require genuine hard work and expert knowledge to program. 

The other problem with this list is that it addresses different problems
from the ones R tries to solve.  If you want Matlab you know where to find

Thomas Lumley
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Uni of Washington	:  can be adequately explained by  :
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