Comparing R to smoking

Francois Pinard comparing the R programming language to smoking:

Using R is a bit akin to smoking. The beginning is difficult, one may get headaches and even gag the first few times. But in the long run, it becomes pleasurable and even addictive. Yet, deep down, for those willing to be honest, there is something not fully healthy in it.

I’ve never gotten to the point that I would call using R pleasurable.

Quote via Stats in the Wild

Related posts:

Reviews of R in Action and The Art of R Programming
R quirks

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Posted in Statistics
10 comments on “Comparing R to smoking
  1. Chris says:

    I think its only pleasurable if you have not already tried other dynamic, high-level languages. So, provided you have not done mushrooms and crack, you will get a great deal of pleasure out of smoking.

  2. John Venier says:

    Showing my age, I got to the point that S-Plus was pleasurable, mostly because of the novel mental gymnastics involved in avoiding explicit loops. On the other hand, my family thinks my taste in puzzles verges on masochism.

    I’m not sure about the extreme of addiction. Maybe if I were doing a lot of EDA ;-)

  3. vak says:

    i’m in the process of learning c++ from an R background and i must say i’m enjoying every moment of the experience.

  4. Fabricio Mello says:

    Hi, thank you for your posts, they are very informative. I am beginning to teach R for undergraduate students in Economics. I intend them to be power users and able to eventually write small functions and scripts, and I hope they never get lung cancer for that. Which main textbook would you recommend for the course? I am between “R in Action” (Kabacoff), “The R Primer” (Ekstrom) and “R Cookbook” (Teetor). Thank you in advance for your input.

  5. John Stasko says:

    Now I’m captivated to learn R.

  6. John says:

    Fabricio: Please see my review of R in Action. I compare it to Art of R Programming. Maybe that could help you decide at least between those two books. It depends on whether data analysis or programming is more important to you.

  7. Siah says:

    R is not the best language for everything. It has its own limitations but when it comes to data analysis it clearly stands out.

  8. MattK says:

    > I’ve never gotten to the point that I would call using R pleasurable.

    Is there a language in the same domain that would approach pleasurable?

    In my realm, I prefer to use Python given the option, over languages like Java, C, etc. Wondering what the R equivalents would be.

  9. John says:

    I find Python (SciPy, matplotlib, etc) pleasurable to use.

  10. > I find Python (SciPy, matplotlib, etc) pleasurable to use.

    Yes.

    If only it had R’s stats libraries.

    (And to the person who follows up to this, yes, I know about Rpy2.)

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