R is a flexible and powerful open-source implementation of the language S (for statistics) developed by John Chambers and others at Bell Labs. R has eclipsed S and the commercially available S-Plus program for many reasons. R is free, and has a variety (nearly 4,000 at last count) of contributed packages, most of which are also free. R works on Macs, PCs, and Linux systems. In this book, you will see screens of R 2.15.1 running in a Windows 7 environment, but you will be able to use everything you learn with other systems, too. Although R is initially harder to learn and use than a spreadsheet or a dedicated statistics package, you will find R is a very effective statistics tool in its own right, and is well worth the effort to learn.
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