[R] Newbie question: what are the advantages?

Emmanuel Paradis paradis at isem.univ-montp2.fr
Tue Feb 27 15:04:01 CET 2001

>On Tue, 27 Feb 2001, hzi wrote:
>     I´m a medical graduate student. I´m totally new to R, although I
> had heard of S before. I read it was GNU free software, and since I
> also use Linux, I decide to check it out.
>     But I have some doubts regarding R: how does using R differ from
> using software packages, like SPSS (which is the one I´m used to)?
> What are the advantages of using R when compared? Is flexibility an
> issue? What about the learning curve? Is it something that is awfully
> hard to learn? And the documentation seems to be rather sparse, unless
> you´re willling to buy a book (no, I´m not some "cheap" person, I´m a
> student from Brazil - things are not so cheap for me...which is one of
> the reasons free software is attractive to me).

I would say that using free software is not only about money: as a graduate
student, you will surely have to work in another lab, and probably in
another country. How to be sure that your future employer has also SPSS (or
any other commercial package you have used during your PhD)? If you learn
R, and then go in a lab where they do not use R, you should easily convince
them at least to install it; if they use S-Plus, then you already have the
background. AFAIK, among the free statistical softwares, R has no competitor.

Emmanuel Paradis
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