[R] use of R in big companies (references) & R-support esp in Germany

Thomas Adams Thomas.Adams at noaa.gov
Wed Jun 7 19:47:11 CEST 2006


I agree that there exist biases within large organizations toward 
commercial software packages, but I humbly disagree that this can be 
reduced to geopolitical differences. I work for a US Government Agency 
and while there is some truth to the feeling "[they] refuse to believe 
that anything free can be any good", it has little-to-nothing to do with 
Capitalism vs whatever… I think the feeling has to do more with the 
*perceived* issues related to support and what is "tried & true" — it's 
a very conservative approach, one that I face on nearly a daily basis. 
Apart from my use of R, I am also a heavy user of the open source 
Geographic Information System (GIS) called GRASS, in which the 
*dominant* GIS company internationally is ESRI and their very expensive 
software called ArcGIS. There is very little that ArcGIS can do that 
GRASS can not do. What is especially troublesome is that ArcGIS is 
restricted to the MS-Windows platform, whereas GRASS runs on Linux, 
MacOS X, UNIX, and MS-Windows with Cygwin.

Thank you for your references as I hope to use them.


Spencer Graves wrote:
> 	  The best rebuttal I've heard recently to arguments like that is Linux 
> (www.linux.org):  It's distributed under the same general public license 
> (GNU) license as R.
> 	  A perspective that I don't recall having seen on this list is that 
> the cost of producing and distributing software has become too cheap to 
> meter, unless you want to charge for it.  Open source projects like 
> Linux and R (and Mozilla, Subversion, and others) were much more 
> difficult and less common before the Internet, just because the costs of 
> coordinating development plus producing and distributing the product 
> made such efforts much more difficult.  For a discussion of these 
> phenomena by two Economics professors at UC-Berkeley, see Shapiro and 
> Varian (1998) Information Rules (Harvard Business School Pr.).  A newer, 
> similar title by these same authors is "The Economics of Information 
> Technology";  I haven't read this newer book, but it looks like it could 
> be relevant also.
> 	  I mention this, because I suspect some of the opposition to open 
> source, "free" software is ideology:  Rabid capitalists refuse to 
> believe that anything free can be any good.  (We could talk about air 
> and water, but that might be a digression.)  Books like this backed by 
> solid research might help counter such opposition.
> 	  Hope this helps.
> 	  Spencer Graves
> Armin Roehrl wrote:
>> Dear R users,
>>     sorry for this general email and I am sure it has been asked
>> way too many times.
>> IT departements in big companies only want to support the big
>> standards. Whatever big standards means apart from being expensive.
>> We are in the process of trying to get a risk management project
>> for a big conservative company in Germany. As part of the project
>> we would use R to run simulations, but the company is afraid of R.
>> 1) If anybody has any reference projects using R I can quote, please
>> drop me an email. Best would be companies like Siemens, Allianz,
>> Munich Re, Daimler Chrysler, Credit Suisse etc.
>> 2) Are there any software companies around with R know-how and are
>> interested in paid R-projects? The bigger the company, the better
>> as this client seems to be scared of software companies with less
>> than 200 developers.
>> Thanks,
>>   -Armin
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Thomas E Adams
National Weather Service
Ohio River Forecast Center
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