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May 18, 2012

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Meh. Again with this self-serving SAS vs. R garbage.
I use both and other tools as well.
R is no silver bullet and can be as much of a pain as SAS some days.
As of today, my SAS clients pay me astronomically much more than my R clients. Until that changes, I’ll keep renewing my SAS license.

COBOL isn't that bad and forces programmers to do many things which otherwise require self-discipline. And Java isn't that good: Compare it to Smalltalk.

Also, while I use R every day and have a very high opinion of it and it's community, primarily because of its functional programming roots, it is not as powerful as OCAML and it's packages are of uneven quality and level of documentation. It suffers from open source values, which encourage sloppiness and satisficing, defended by a philosophy no more ptoven than efficient markets.

SAS has its place, as do Minitab and MATLAB.

I find a different analogy more apt: R is to SAS as Visual Basic is to C.

First, java largely *is* COBOL. Much of what was done in COBOL has been "ported" to webservers under java. New development in corporations use COBOL paradigms in java syntax. The universality of java hasn't come to be. Remember applets, etc.? Gone and long forgotten. Enterprise java is most of java, these days (and, no, Android isn't java). There's yet another version EJB just to satisfy the Fortune X00, the natural constituency of SAS/SPSS.

Visual Basic, on the other hand, brought "programming" to the masses, while C was relegated to enterprise-y demands. The same is still true of R vs. SAS (or SPSS, recently wed to IBM).

The recent, essentially, interest in Rcpp is an effort to bridge both the file handling and performance gap. Much the same motivation from VB6 (the last true VB) to .NET, which is C# with pink ribbons.

WRONG! R is to SAS as Python is to Java...

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