[R] What is R?

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Fri Feb 9 13:57:42 CET 2001

On Fri, 9 Feb 2001, Diego Kuonen wrote:

> James Edward Marca wrote:
> >
> > There are plenty of holy wars splitting these hairs.  I don't think
> > we need one to start here.
> I do not want to start a "war" about it, it was only sth. that
> was not clear to me. I think that Thomas Lumley's posting (thanks
> for this) says it all:
>     "As Richard Stallman and Eric Raymond (among others) have pointed out,
>     the difference between these concepts is one of philosophical and
>     marketing emphasis. The R developers, as far as I know, have no unified
>     view on "open source" vs "free", nor do they need one."
> Now, I know what R is, and I can get on "promotting" it :-)
> At the moment I'm writing an article (in french) for our school's
> internal computer magazine titled "R - an example of the success of
> free software" - I want R to be installed on our school's servers
> to enable everybody to use it and to enjoy it the way I do :-)

One thing we do need to bear in mind.  R itself is under GPL.
Many of the packages that make it so useful are not.  Although more of
them are Open Source, quite a large subset have `no commercial' use
clauses, which is contrary to the Open Source definition. They are not
`free' in the Stallman sense.

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 272860 (secr)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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