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GNU/Linux Desktop Survival Guide
by Graham Williams

R: Statistical Software

Debian Packages: r-base ess

There is an excellent selection of very high quality statistical software available for Debian GNU/Linux. A favourite is R, an open source version of S/SPlus, widely used in the academic statistical community.

The R packages from CRAN (the Comprehensive R Archive Network) are packaged in quite a collection for Debian (but not all are included yet), and you may want to pick and choose, or just install the whole lot:

  $ wajig install `wajig listnames ^r-`

See the Data Mining Survivor for examples of using R.

R itself also has a package management facility and you can install packages directly from CRAN:

  > install.packages('ellipse')

The package will be downloaded and installed into /usr/local/lib/R/site-library. This can live comfortably with the Debian installed packages which live in /usr/lib/R/site-library. The only problem is that a package for Debian may come out and you will end up having duplication.

Emacs, provided by the emacs21 package, with the additional ess package, provides an excellent interface for working with R. To get started within emacs, simply issue the command M-x R $<$enter$>$. This will ask for a starting data directory which defaults to the current working directory (if you simply press $<$enter$>$ again). Alternatively, load in a file with a .R extension and the R mode will be loaded. You will have a collection of convenient R buttons added to your button bar, as in Figure 84.1.

Figure 84.1: Emacs ESS mode for interacting with R.
Image emacs-ess-mode

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