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    1 
    2 			THE BASIC R README
    3 
    4 
    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)
    8 
    9 1. INTRODUCTION
   10 
   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.
   15 
   16 R is free software distributed under a GNU-style copyleft.
   17 
   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
   26 primitives.
   27 
   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
   34 presentations.
   35 
   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).
   40 
   41 
   42 2. HISTORY
   43 
   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
   47 reports.
   48 
   49 Since mid-1997 there has been a core group who can modify the R source
   50 code archive, listed in file doc/AUTHORS.
   51 
   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.
   54 
   55 This file has been minimally revised since the release of R 1.0.0.
   56 
   57 3. PRESENT STATUS
   58 
   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").
   64 
   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.
   75 
   76 
   77 4. GOALS
   78 
   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.
   87 
   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
   93 graphics.
   94 
   95 
   96 Sincerely,
   97 The R Core Team.