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Trrrouble in land of R…and Open Source Suggestions

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Recently some comments by Ross Ihake , founder of R Statistical Software on Revolution Analytics, leading commercial vendor of R….. came to my attention-

http://www.stat.auckland.ac.nz/mail/archive/r-downunder/2010-May/000529.html

[R-downunder] Article on Revolution Analytics

Ross Ihaka ihaka at stat.auckland.ac.nz
Mon May 10 14:27:42 NZST 2010


On 09/05/10 09:52, Murray Jorgensen wrote:
> Perhaps of interest:
>
> http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/05/06/revolution_commercial_r/

Please note that R is "free software" not "open source".  These guys
are selling a GPLed work without disclosing the source to their part
of the work. I have complained to them and so far they have given me
the brush off. I am now considering my options.

Don't support these guys by buying their product. The are not feeding
back to the rights holders (the University of Auckland and I are rights
holders and they didn't even have the courtesy to contact us).

--
Ross Ihaka                         Email:  ihaka at stat.auckland.ac.nz
Department of Statistics           Phone:  (64-9) 373-7599 x 85054
University of Auckland             Fax:    (64-9) 373-7018
Private Bag 92019, Auckland
New Zealand
and from http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/05/06/revolution_commercial_r/
Open source purists probably won't be all too happy to learn that Revolution is going to be employing an "open core" strategy, which means the core R programs will remain open source and be given tech support under a license model, but the key add-ons that make R more scalable will be closed source and sold under a separate license fee. Because most of those 2,500 add-ons for R were built by academics and Revolution wants to supplant SPSS and SAS as the tools used by students, Revolution will be giving the full single-user version of the R Enterprise stack away for free to academics. 
Conclusion-
So one co-founder of R is advocating not to buy from Revolution Analytics , which has the other co-founder of R, Gentleman on its board. 
Source- http://www.revolutionanalytics.com/aboutus/leadership.php

2) If Revolution Analytics is using 2500 packages for free but insisting on getting paid AND closing source of it’s packages (which is a technical point- how exactly can you prevent source code of a R package from being seen)

Maybe there can be a PACKAGE marketplace just like Android Apps, Facebook Apps, and Salesforce.com Apps – so atleast some of the thousands of R package developers can earn – sorry but email lists do not pay mortgages and no one is disputing the NEED for commercializing R or rewarding developers.

Though Barr created SAS, he gave up control to Goodnight and Sall http://decisionstats.wordpress.com/2010/06/02/sas-early-days/

and Goodnight and Sall do pay their developers well- to the envy of not so well paid counterparts.

3) I really liked the innovation of Revolution Analytics RevoScalar, and I wish that the default R dataset be converted to XDF dataset so that it basically kills

off the R criticism of being slow on bigger datasets. But I also realize the need for creating an analytics marketplace for R developers and R students- so academic version of R being free and Revolution R being paid seems like a trade off.

Note- You can still get a job faster as a stats student if you mention SAS and not R as a statistical skill- not all stats students go into academics.

4) There can be more elegant ways of handling this than calling for ignoring each other as REVOLUTION and Ihake seem to be doing to each other.

I can almost hear people in Cary, NC chuckling at Norman Nie, long time SPSS opponent and now REVOLUTION CEO, and his antagonizing R’s academicians within 1 year of taking over- so I hope this ends well for all. The road to hell is paved with good intentions- so if REVOLUTION can share some source code with say R Core members (even Microsoft shares source code with partners)- and R Core and Revolution agree on a licensing royalty from each other, they can actually speed up R package creation rather than allow this 2 decade effort to end up like S and S plus and TIBCO did.

Maybe Richard Stallman can help-or maybe Ihaka has a better sense of where things will go down in a couple of years-he must know something-he invented it, didnt he

On 09/05/10 09:52, Murray Jorgensen wrote:
> Perhaps of interest:
>
> http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/05/06/revolution_commercial_r/

Please note that R is "free software" not "open source".  These guys
are selling a GPLed work without disclosing the source to their part
of the work. I have complained to them and so far they have given me
the brush off. I am now considering my options.

Don't support these guys by buying their product. The are not feeding
back to the rights holders (the University of Auckland and I are rights
holders and they didn't even have the courtesy to contact us).

--
Ross Ihaka                         Email:  ihaka at stat.auckland.ac.nz
Department of Statistics           Phone:  (64-9) 373-7599 x 85054
University of Auckland             Fax:    (64-9) 373-7018
Private Bag 92019, Auckland
New Zealand


1 Comment

  1. I’m using all manner of words found in Daniel Webster’s dictionary, and not paying him a penny in royalties.

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