[R] Paid support for R?

A.J. Rossini rossini at blindglobe.net
Wed Dec 12 03:05:14 CET 2001

>>>>> "RR" == Richard Rowe <Richard.Rowe at jcu.edu.au> writes:

    >> I was recently looking at the MySQL site and saw that they
    >> offer various levels

    >> of paid support. The support options range from basic email
    >> support (USD200) through to extensive telephone support from
    >> the development team (USD10000).  These are annual prices.
    >> This is something I would be happy to see available with R
    >> (maybe it is?).

    RR> I think this proposal is at odds with what I understood to be
    RR> the fundamental theme behind the development of R - a
    RR> community of scientists sharing knowledge without attempts to
    RR> shut up 'intellectual property' behind walls, lawyers etc.  If
    RR> people feel grateful perhaps they could give time, build
    RR> something, and contribute it to the community.  I expect the
    RR> 'consultancy rates' for many of those who freely give advice
    RR> on R-help would make anyone on an academic budget wince
    RR> ... and that is the rate they should charge if they are
    RR> providing service for a fee.

    RR> The structure of 'open source' and the use of the academic and
    RR> scientific community is a good one, set up with considerable
    RR> hindsight over ways in which short-term greed, proprietary
    RR> methods and intellectual property law had done a disservice to
    RR> the community which generated the ideas and methods.  If ever
    RR> income is derived from R then I expect the system will
    RR> collapse as people will soon come to spend that income, then
    RR> they will spend it in anticipation, at which point they will
    RR> need to generate the income ... and collegiality will
    RR> disappear,

I might expect just the opposite (and still be wrong, thank you!) --
after all, the GNU manifesto explicitly suggests the initial proposal
as a model for free software (but paid consulting).

I'd personally like to see a few of the authors get paid in some form,
since I enjoy the fruits of their labor.  Not that I've got the cash
readily available, but I try (to a limited extent) by supporting
software that some of them use, somewhat in reciprocation.

Now, problems might arise with strict commercialization, but that
would be difficult (though not insurmountable) given the license
currently employed.


A.J. Rossini				Rsrch. Asst. Prof. of Biostatistics
U. of Washington Biostatistics		rossini at u.washington.edu	
FHCRC/SCHARP/HIV Vaccine Trials Net	rossini at scharp.org
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