About R

R For Dummies gives you an introduction to the statistical programming language R.  You can download R at http://cran.r-project.org/

When you start to use R, you will soon appreciate its many benefits:

R is free and open-source

R is available under an open-source license, which means that anyone can download and modify the code.

R runs anywhere

A great deal of effort goes into making R available for different types of hardware and software. This means that R is available for Windows, Unix systems (such as Linux), and the Apple Macintosh.

R is easy to extend

R itself is a powerful language that helps you easily do data analysis, statistical modelling and graphics. One really big advantage of R, however, is its extensibility. Developers can easily write their own software and distribute it in the form of add-on packages. Because of the relative ease of creating these packages, literally hundreds of them exist. In fact, many new (and not-so-new) statistical methods are published with an R package attached.

R has an active user community

The R user base keeps growing. Many of the people who use R eventually start helping new users and advocating the use of R in their workplaces and professional circles. They also become active on the R mailing list, Stack Overflow, Twitter, and regional R conferences. See Chapter 10 for more information on R communities.

R has great connectivity

With more and more people using to R for analysis, they started trying to combine R with their previous workflows.  In the process, many users created new packages for linking R to file systems, databases and other applications. Some of these packages now form part of the base installation of R, and others are available on CRAN.


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