The R Consortium Infrastructure Steering Committee (chaired by Hadley Wickham) announced today the award of its first grant for an R community development project: $85,000 to Gábor Csárdi to implement the R-Hub project. As a board member of the R Consortium, I'm pleased to say this is a great first project for the R Consortium to get behind, as it aims to ease some of the difficulties associated with developing an R package for submission to CRAN. Currently more than 80% of CRAN submissions are rejected, often due to problems on platforms package developers don't have access to. When R-hub is ready, package developers will be able to detect and resolve any such issues prior to submitting, making it more likely their package will be accepted while relieving some of the burden on the dedicated volunteers who review CRAN submissions.
When completed, R-Hub will be a free online service available to all R users, allowing them to build and test R packages on all of the operating system platforms supported by CRAN: Windows, OS X, Linux and Solaris. It will integrate with GitHub (and possibly other online source code repositories) to provide a unified system for package source code management and testing. The architecture of the system has been designed by Gábor with input from many members of the R community, including: J.J. Allaire (RStudio), Ben Bolker (McMaster University) Dirk Eddelbuettel (Debian), Jay Emerson (Yale University), Nicholas Lewin-Koh (Genentech), Joseph Rickert and (me) David Smith (Revolution Analytics/Microsoft), Murray Stokely (Google), and Simon Urbanek (AT&T). You can review the R-hub plan on GitHub (and provide comments via issues). The project is estimated to take about six months to complete.
Meanwhile, the R Consortium ISC is now accepting proposals from the community on how its projects budget (about $110,000 "over the next several months", now that R-hub is approved) should be spent. Proposals can be for anything that would be of benefit to the R Community. Suggestions include "software development, developing new teaching materials, documenting best practices, standardising APIs or doing research". So if you have an idea for a project that could get off the ground with some funding, make a proposal to the R Consortium for consideration.
By the way, if you work for a company that makes extensive use of R, consider asking them to join the R Consortium to make even more funds available for community projects. (I'm proud to say that Microsoft is a platinum member.) And if you're attending the EARL Conference in Boston, I'll be participating in a panel discussion with other R Consortium board members where we'll be dicussining the R Consortium's goals and the projects managed by the Infrastructure Steering Committee. I hope to see you there!
R Contortium press releases: R Consortium Awards First Grant to Help Advance Popular Programming Language for Unlocking Value from Data