[R] R in Industry

Gabor Grothendieck ggrothendieck at gmail.com
Thu Feb 8 23:07:28 CET 2007

On 2/8/07, Albrecht, Dr. Stefan (AZ Private Equity Partner)
<stefan.albrecht at apep.com> wrote:
> Dear all,
> thanks a lot for your comments.
> You raise several important points. I also think that depending on a certain
> person maintaining a package can be dangerous, since this person might stop
> working on the package. Even if the package is handed over to a second one,
> the other guy may be less skilled and, e.g.. add errors to an excellent package.

> I do not think this is a real threat for the often used and mature packages on CRAN, but there might be the one or the other exception. Still, you cannot blame people doing work for free to the benefit for others, especially, if it is of such a high quality. Many thanks to all for their contributions.
> Having access to the source code is not really a solution, unless you have the time to study, maintain and correct it. Normally this is not the case. And do not forget that also for commercial packages, like Matlab, you might have access to at least a large part of the source code.
> Another point is that I expect commercial packages to be more coherent and
> concise. The parts should fit better together. In R, e.g.., I use several time series
> packages and classes (and I admire the people having done such marvellous jobs):
> Date, its, zoo. Still one for all would be far better.

Regarding the specific packages you mention:

- 'zoo' has two developers so even if one were not able to continue there
would still be one person left.

- 'its' has had two people working on it sequentially so its history is that
maintenance continued even through turnover of personnel.

In the case of a single developer it certainly would be a good idea if each
package developer were to have a backup person assigned who could
either take it over or agree that to find someone to provide continuity were
it to be necessary.  (I have already done this with those packages of
mine for which I have sole authorship.)

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