The R community is awesome (and fast)

August 30, 2016

(This article was first published on R – Win-Vector Blog, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Recently I whined/whinged or generally complained about a few sharp edges in some powerful R systems.

In each case I was treated very politely, listened to, and actually got fixes back in a very short timeframe from volunteers. That is really great and probably one of the many reasons R is a great ecosystem.

Please read on for my list of n=3 interactions.

  1. While discussing plotting market data I ran into a corner-case with ggplot2. Even though I figured out how to work around it, it is now fixed by the ggplot2 team!
  2. I wrote an entire article denouncing a default setting of a single argument in the ranger random forest library. The ranger author himself replied with a fix that is very clever and mathematically well-founded (I suspect he had be researching this issue a while on his own).
  3. I complained about summary presentation fidelity in base R summary.default. You guessed it: the volunteers have generously fielded a patch!

Like any real-world system R represents a sequence of history and compromises. Only unused systems can be perfect without compromise. It is very evident how eager and able the volunteers who maintain it are to make sure R represents very good compromises.

I would like to offer a sincere appreciation and thank you from me to the R community. If this is what you can expect using R it is yet another strong argument for R.

And personal thanks to: Martin Maechler, Hadley Wickham, and Marvin N. Wright.

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