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Re: [tlug] GPL vs. paid version and ethics

On Tue, Aug 7, 2012 at 5:23 PM, Attila Kinali <> wrote:
> On Tue, 07 Aug 2012 03:28:15 +0900
> "Stephen J. Turnbull" <> wrote:
>> So?  It's still *much* easier to teach statistics using any of the
>> major commercial packages than it is to use R, because they have more
>> powerful, more usable GUIs.  It may be that R serves statistics
>> hackers as well as S-PLUS does, but that's only one of the jobs that
>> S-PLUS does well.
> Interesting. Here at the university they teach psychology students
> statistics using R. And i doubt it's because they cannot afford a license.

I think it has a lot to do with when your department decided to use R.
 If it was not so long ago, then given the choice between R and S, I
wouldn't be surprised if they picked R since the difference is perhaps
not so big and it is less costly.  But if it was a while ago, before R
became popular, then maybe they would have gone for S instead and then
was reluctant to switch.

Ok, R vs S is not a good example since some the packages are
compatible!  But let's say Microsoft Office versus Open/Libreoffice...
 If I opened a university today :-) and had the choice, I'd probably
go for OSS since Open/Libreoffice are "good enough".  But, in most
cases, a university would have switched over to Microsoft Office from
Wordperfect 20 years ago (???) and there is a lot of reluctance to
switch again (including all of those documents in the last 20 years).
Yes, it is costly to stick with commercial software, but Microsoft
knows this and uses site licenses and academic pricing to keep
universities locked into a decision made 20 years ago.

I'm not as knowledgeable as many of you in this area, but I guess it
all depends on which software went to 'market' first -- the commercial
one or the OSS one.  Whichever comes second has to not only do as much
as the first, but needs to give the user a good reason to switch.


PS:  Yes, I know Open/Libreoffice can open Office documents, but it
doesn't open it exactly.  Something is always not quite right...

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