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July 22, 2010

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David,
it was nice talking to you after the talk you gave on R in commercial environment.
One observation I've had over the past few years when bringing up R (or any other new software open-source or not) is that big companies love the status-quo. most of the advantages of OSS for personal computers or even small-mid size companies don't really matter to them. For them change is a big problem since loss of productivity and potential loss in revenue if something new fails can costs millions or billions. This level of risk doesn't exist in small scale settings and is not understood by a lot of open-source evangelicals. I am saying this because I was one of them. In commercial situations trying to suggest an alternative which can do much-much more than the status-quo (eg. R vs S*) back-fires if there is even one tiny bit of process that is not just as good. what I am trying to say is that all the wealth of analysis that R can provide becomes of no-concern, if it can't do some really basic things (for eg out of memory calculations) easily. Yes, there are packages out there and one can do all sorts of wizardry to get around this problem in R, but that just creates a steep learning curve that people with short deadlines will not invest in.

I was hoping to hear from Luke that some out of memory stuff will get into R-base soon.


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