Today’s New York Times carries a decent article about R. Predictably, this lead to one (short), two (longest), three (short) threads on the main R mailing list. One aspect merits further highlighting. The reporter asked whether R would pose a threat to SAS:
“I think it addresses a niche market for high-end data analysts that want free, readily available code,” said Anne H. Milley, director of technology product marketing at SAS. She adds, “We have customers who build engines for aircraft. I am happy they are not using freeware when I get on a jet.”
That’s silly on so many levels. A concise and rather appropriate follow-up came in early from Frank Harrell, a long-time S and R advocate:
This is great to see. It’s interesting that SAS Institute feels that non-peer-reviewed software with hidden implementations of analytic methods that cannot be reproduced by others should be trusted when building aircraft engines.
The financial services community has demonstrated a particular affinity for R; dozens of packages exist for derivatives analysis alone.to be a little off the mark. But that’s minor as the article is broadly sympathetic, and mostly “gets it” where it matters. Recommended.