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2 THE BASIC R README
5 (See "doc/FAQ" and "doc/RESOURCES" for more detailed information
6 - these files are only in the tarballs)
7 (See "INSTALL" for help on installation)
9 1. INTRODUCTION
11 This directory contains the source code tree for R, which is a
12 language which is not entirely unlike (versions 3 and 4 of) the S
13 language developed at AT&T Bell Laboratories by Rick Becker, John
14 Chambers and Allan Wilks.
16 R is free software distributed under a GNU-style copyleft.
18 The core of R is an interpreted computer language with a syntax
19 superficially similar to C, but which is actually a "functional
20 programming language" with capabilities similar to Scheme. The
21 language allows branching and looping as well as modular programming
22 using functions. Most of the user-visible functions in R are written
23 in R, calling upon a smaller set of internal primitives. It is
24 possible for the user to interface to procedures written in C or
25 Fortran languages for efficiency, and also to write additional
28 The R distribution contains functionality for a large number of
29 statistical procedures. Among these are: linear and generalized
30 linear models, nonlinear regression models, time series analysis,
31 classical parametric and nonparametric tests, clustering and
32 smoothing. There is also a large set of functions which provide a
33 flexible graphical environment for creating various kinds of data
36 A package specification allows the production of loadable modules for
37 specific purposes, and several thousand contributed packages are made
38 available through the CRAN sites (see
39 https://CRAN.R-project.org/mirrors.html for the current members).
42 2. HISTORY
44 R was initially written by Robert Gentleman and Ross Ihaka of the
45 Statistics Department of the University of Auckland. In addition, a
46 large group of individuals has contributed to R by sending code and bug
49 Since mid-1997 there has been a core group who can modify the R source
50 code archive, listed in file doc/AUTHORS.
52 R 1.0.0 was released on 29 February 2000 and 2.0.0 on 4 October 2004.
53 R 3.0.0 came out on 3 April 2013.
55 This file has been minimally revised since the release of R 1.0.0.
57 3. PRESENT STATUS
59 The present version implements most of the functionality in the 1988
60 book "The New S Language" (the "Blue Book") and many of the
61 applications. In addition, we have implemented a large part of the
62 functionality from the 1992 book "Statistical Models in S" (the "White
63 Book") and the 1998 book "Programming with Data" (the "Green Book").
65 All the R functions have been documented in the form of help pages in
66 an "output independent" form which can be used to create versions for
67 HTML, PDF, text etc. A 1900+ page Reference Index (a collection of
68 most of the help pages: there is also a 3300+ page version with all
69 the help pages, including recommended packages) can be obtained in
70 PDF. The manual `An Introduction to R' provides a more user-friendly
71 starting point, and there is an FAQ, a draft `R Language Definition'
72 manual and more specialized manuals on admininstration, data
73 import/export and extending R. See INSTALL for instructions on how to
74 generate these documents.
77 4. GOALS
79 Our aim at the start of this project was to demonstrate that it was
80 possible to produce an S-like environment which did not suffer from
81 the memory-demands and performance problems which S has. Somewhat
82 later, we started to turn R into a "real" system, but unfortunately we
83 lost a large part of the efficiency advantage in the process, so have
84 revised the memory management mechanism and implemented delayed
85 loading of R objects. A lot of performance tuning has been done,
86 including the ability to use tuned linear-algebra libraries.
88 Longer-term goals include to explore new ideas: e.g. virtual objects
89 and component-based programming, and expanding the scope of existing
90 ones like formula-based interfaces. Further, we wish to get a handle
91 on a general approach to graphical user interfaces (preferably with
92 cross-platform portability), and to develop better 3-D and dynamic
97 The R Core Team.