[R] Import from excel 2007

J.delasHeras at ed.ac.uk J.delasHeras at ed.ac.uk
Wed Oct 17 18:51:56 CEST 2007

Quoting Scionforbai <scionforbai at gmail.com>:

>> It would be dumb to ignore the fact that Excel is a very widespread
>> program, and therefore in the real world we are very likely to
>> encounter data formatted by Excel.
> Of course I know the widespreading of such programs. But the point is:
> how can we start to change this in the real world? People using
> proprietary formats are annoying, even more if they don't even think
> about it and don't know what a format is.
>> I use R as a means to an end, as a tool to solve real world problems,
>> not out of a religious idealism.
> I think this is a very important point. Whatever critic to the "real
> world habits" one can move, it is said to be religious idealism (or at
> least geeky attitude).
> There are technical and philosophical reasons for discouraging using
> proprietary software/formats (Marc Schwartz provided a link which
> points out some about spreadshits - yes, intentional ;) ). This is
> true even if you aren't communist, anarchist, or GNUliban.
> The fact that in your real life you solve real problems doesn't mean
> that you should not ask yourself which means you use and why, nor
> discussing about others'choices. "Because everyone out there does the
> same" is not, for me, a satisfying answer. And I just wanted to
> discuss about that, in the hope that maybe someone, reading these few
> messages, would start asking himself the same question.
> Regards,
> s.

Ah! You're really talking about trying to change the world! Now I understand.

It's not a trivial task, and whilst I tell everyone who wants to  
listen how great R is, and I have turn a handful of people towards R,  
I am not sure I want to become a hardcore campaigner! Hence my comment  
about being "means to an end".
Doing what everybody else does is not a good reason to do things, in  
an ideal world. Just because most people choose one way it doesn't  
make it the best. Truth is not democratic. But life is a lot easier if  
we adapt to existing trends, and use *all* the tools available to our  



Dr. Jose I. de las Heras                      Email: J.delasHeras at ed.ac.uk
The Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology    Phone: +44 (0)131 6513374
Institute for Cell & Molecular Biology        Fax:   +44 (0)131 6507360
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University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh EH9 3JR

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