The R community has grown explosively over the past few years, both in terms of the number of R users and the number of companies who rely on R as their data science platform. To serve the needs of this rapidly growing community, and to continue the success of the R Project as a whole, representatives from the R Foundation and from industry have joined forces to create the R Consortium, a new collaborative project of the Linux Foundation.
The R Consortium is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization dedicated to the support and growth of the R user community. The R Consortium will work with and provide support to the R Foundation and other organizations developing, maintaining and distributing R software, and provide a unifying framework for the R user community. It is funded by the contributions of its members and governed by these by-laws. The founding members include the R Foundation, Platinum members Microsoft and RStudio; Gold member TIBCO Software Inc.; and Silver members Alteryx, HP, Mango Solutions, Google, Ketchum Trading and Oracle.
While the R Foundation continues its role as the maintainer of the core R language engine, the R Consortium will initiate projects to help the user community make even better use of R, and to help the R developer community further extend R via packages and other ancillary software projects. Projects already proposed include: building and maintaining mirrors for downloading R; testing and quality assurance platforms; financial support for the annual useR! Conference; and promotion and support of worldwide user groups. In general, the Consortium will seek the input of its members and the R Community at large for projects that foster the continuing growth of R and the community of people that drives its evolution.
On a personal note, I am very proud that Microsoft is one of the founding Platinum members of the R Consortium — the highest level of commitment. R is strategic to Microsoft, and is being integrated into Microsoft's data platforms to provide R's built-in advanced analytics functionality and access to community-developed extensions like CRAN packages. (You can learn more about R at Microsoft in this presentation.) Joseph Sirosh, Corporate Vice President of Machine Learning at Microsoft, affirms the commitment by saying:
Our efforts to build R into more Microsoft products and services, combined with our contribution to the R Consortium as a Platinum Member, gives me confidence that we’re helping today’s data scientists and business leaders to drive innovation and advances in the field of data science with R.
Many have been working behind the scenes for many months to make the R Consortium a reality. Special thanks go to John Chambers of the R Foundation for his support and participation on the board, and to the team at the Linux Foundation whose experience with Linux and other open source projects has been invaluable. The R Consortium begins its mission today, and you can keep up-to-date with its activities at www.r-consortium.org. (I'll also share news here on the blog.) The R Consortium is here for the R user community, so share your suggestions at the website or in the comments of this post.
R Consortium Press Releases: Linux Foundation Announces R Consortium to Support 2 Million Users Around the World