[R] Getting and using a function

Thomas L Jones jones3745 at verizon.net
Fri Apr 13 05:28:33 CEST 2007

I am trying to do what is perhaps the most basic procedure which can be done 
with the R software.

Under Windows XP Home Edition, I want to get a copy of the function "gam," 
then put it in and use it. I intentionaly use informal terms, rather than 
technical terms whose exact meaning I might or might not know.

I am finding this extremely frustrating. Every time I try to do anything, 
all I get is error messages. Hey, this isn't rocket science; there are only 
three or four or five steps involved. Well, what are they? There is all this 
opaque terminology. There are libraries, and packages, and one downloads 
them, loads them, and installs them, but just what all this means is 

One example among many: I tell it

library (gam)  all I get is an error message.

Error in library (gam)  : there is no package called 'gam'

Well, does this mean what it says, or does it mean something different? For 
example, does it mean that such-and-such computer program has not yet been 

I did download and install the 2.4.1 flavor (version?) of the gui. I infer, 
reading between the lines a bit, that there may be a sort of standard 
procedure for setting things up, perhaps downloading and installing the 
utils package, or something.

The R software has much gold in it, but, as far as learnability/usability is 
concerned, I give it poor marks.

Tom Jones
DrJones at alum.MIT.edu

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