[R] Reasons to Use R

Marc Schwartz marc_schwartz at comcast.net
Wed Apr 11 20:11:26 CEST 2007

On Wed, 2007-04-11 at 11:26 -0500, Marc Schwartz wrote:
> On Wed, 2007-04-11 at 17:56 +0200, Bi-Info
> (http://members.home.nl/bi-info) wrote:
> > I certainly have that idea too. SPSS functions in a way the same, 
> > although it specialises in PC applications. Memory addition to a PC is 
> > not a very expensive thing these days. On my first AT some extra memory 
> > cost 300 dollars or more. These days you get extra memory with a package 
> > of marshmellows or chocolate bars if you need it.
> > All computations on a computer are discrete steps in a way, but I've 
> > heard that SAS computations are split up in strictly divided steps. That 
> > also makes procedures "attachable" I've been told, and interchangable. 
> > Different procedures can use the same code which alternatively is 
> > cheaper in memory usages or disk usage (the old days...). That makes SAS 
> > by the way a complicated machine to build because procedures who are 
> > split up into numerous fragments which make complicated bookkeeping. If 
> > you do it that way, I've been told, you can do a lot of computations 
> > with very little memory. One guy actually computed quite complicated 
> > models with "only 32MB or less", which wasn't very much for "his type of 
> > calculations". Which means that SAS is efficient in memory handling I 
> > think. It's not very efficient in dollar handling... I estimate.
> > 
> > Wilfred
> <snip>
> Oh....SAS is quite efficient in dollar handling, at least when it comes
> to the annual commercial licenses...along the same lines as the
> purported efficiency of the U.S. income tax system:
>   "How much money do you have?  Send it in..."
> There is a reason why SAS is the largest privately held software company
> in the world and it is not due to the academic licensing structure,
> which constitutes only about 12% of their revenue, based upon their
> public figures.

Hmmm......here is a classic example of the problems of reading pie

The figure I quoted above, which is from reading the 2005 SAS Annual
Report on their web site (such as it is for a private company) comes
from a 3D exploded pie chart (ick...). 

The pie chart uses 3 shades of grey and 5 shades of blue to
differentiate 8 market segments and their percentages of total worldwide

I mis-read the 'shade of grey' allocated to Education as being 12%
(actually 11.7%).

A re-read of the chart, zooming in close on the pie in a PDF reader,
appears to actually show that Education is but 1.8% of their annual
worldwide revenue.

Government based installations, which are presumably the other notable
market segment in which substantially discounted licenses are provided,
is 14.6%.

The report is available here for anyone else curious:


Somebody needs to send SAS a copy of Tufte or Cleveland.

I have to go and rest my eyes now...  ;-)



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