ggplot2 gui: Major feature set complete

(Written by Ian Fellows)

There has been quite a bit of progress on the ggplot2 graphical user interface since the last post. All of the major features have been implemented, and are outlined in the vlog links below. What remains is to fix bugs, improve interface elements, and listen to feedback from users (that’s you). Please give it a try by installing the development version of Deducer
install.packages(“Deducer”,,”“,type=”source”) . It is best used with the R console JGR which you can find at .

Feature tour:

Development and extension:


Blogging about R – presentation and audio

At the useR!2010 conference I had the honor of giving a (~15 minute) talk titled “Blogging about R”. The following is the abstract I submited, followed by the slides of the talk and the audio file of a recording I made of the talk (I am sad it got a bit of “hall echo”, but it’s still listenable…)

P.S: this post does not absolve me from writing up something (with many thanks and links to people) about the useR2010 conference, but I can see it taking a bit longer till I do that.


Abstract of the talk

This talk is a basic introduction to blogs: why to blog, how to blog, and the importance of the R blogosphere to the R community.

Because R is an open-source project, the R community members rely (mostly) on each other’s help for statistical guidance, generating useful code, and general moral support.

Current online tools available for us to help each other include the R mailing lists, the community R-wiki, and the R blogosphere. The emerging R blogosphere is the only source, besides the R journal, that provides our community with articles about R. While these articles are not peer reviewed, they do come in higher volume (and often are of very high quality).

According to the meta-blog, the (English) R blogosphere has produced, in January 2010, about 115 “articles” about R. There are (currently) a bit over 50 bloggers (now about 100) who write about R, with about 1000 (now ~2200) subscribers who read them daily (through e-mails or RSS). These numbers allow me to believe that there is a genuine interest in our community for more people – perhaps you? – to start (and continue) blogging about R.

In this talk I intend to share knowledge about blogging so that more people are able to participate (freely) in the R blogosphere – both as readers and as writers. The talk will have three main parts:

  • What is a blog
  • How to blog – using the (free) blogging service (with specific emphasis on R)
  • How to develop readership – integration with other social media/networks platforms, SEO, and other best practices

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Tal Galili founded and blogs on
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Audio recording of the talk

Continue reading Blogging about R – presentation and audio

Richard Stallman talk+Q&A at the useR! 2010 conference (audio files attached)

The audio files of the full talk by Richard Stallman are attached to the end of this post.


Videos of all the invited talks of the useR! 2010 conference can be viewed on the R User Group blog


Last week I had the honor of attending the talk given by Richard Stallman, the last keynote speaker on the useR 2010 conference.  In this post I will give a brief context for the talk, and then give the audio files of the talk, with some description of what was said in the talk.

Context for the talk

Richard Stallman can be viewed as (one of) the fathers of free software (free as in speech, not as in beer).

He is the man who led the GNU project for the creation of a free (as in speech, not as in beer) operation systems on the basis of which GNU-Linux, with its numerous distributions, was created.
Richard also developed a number of pieces of widely used software, including the original Emacs,[4] the GNU Compiler Collection,[5], the GNU Debugger[6], and many tools in the GNU Coreutils

Richard also initiated the free software movement and in October 1985 he also founded it’s formal foundation and co-founded the League for Programming Freedom in 1989.

Stallman pioneered the concept of “copyleft” and he is the main author of several copyleft licenses including the GNU General Public License, the most widely used free software license.

You can read about him in the wiki article titles “Richard Stallman

The useR 2010 conference is an annual 4 days conference of the community of people using R.  R is a free open source software for data analysis and statistical computing (Here is a bit more about what is R).

The conference this year was truly a wonderful experience for me.  I  had the pleasure of giving two talks (about which I will blog later this month), listened to numerous talks on the use of R, and had a chance to meet many (many) kind and interesting people.

Richard Stallmans talk

The talk took place on July 23rd 2010 at NIST U.S.  and was the concluding talk for the useR2010 conference.  The talk consisted of a two hour lecture followed by a half-hour question and answer session.

On a personal note, I was very impressed by Richards talk.  Richard is not a shy computer geek, but rather a serious leader and thinker trying to stir people to action.  His speech was a sermon on free software, the history of GNU-Linux, the various versions of GPL, and his own history involving them.

I believe this talk would be of interest to anyone who cares about social solidarity, free software, programming and the hope of a better world for all of us.

I am eager for your thoughts in the comments (but please keep a kind tone).

Here is Richard Stallmans  (2 hours) talk:

Continue reading Richard Stallman talk+Q&A at the useR! 2010 conference (audio files attached)

Want to join the closed BETA of a new Statistical Analysis Q&A site – NOW is the time!

The bottom line of this post is for you to go to:
Stack Exchange Q&A site proposal: Statistical Analysis
And commit yourself to using the website for asking and answering questions.

(And also consider giving the contender, MetaOptimize a visit)

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Statistical analysis Q&A website is about to go into BETA

A month ago I invited readers of this blog to commit to using a new Q&A website for Data-Analysis (based on StackOverFlow engine), once it will open (the site was originally proposed by Rob Hyndman).
And now, a month later, I am happy to write that over 500 people have shown interest in the website, and choose to commit themselves. This means we we have reached 100% completion of the website proposal process, and in the next few days we will move to the next step.

The next step is that the website will go into closed BETA for about a week. If you want to be part of this – now is the time to join (<--- call for action people). From being part in some other closed BETA of similar projects, I can attest that the enthusiasm of the people trying to answer questions in the BETA is very impressive, so I strongly recommend the experience. If you won't make it by the time you see this post, then no worries - about a week or so after the website will go online, it will be open to the wide public. (p.s: thanks Romunov for pointing out to me that the BETA is about to open)

p.s: MetaOptimize

I would like to finish this post with mentioning MetaOptimize. This is a Q&A website which is of a more “machine learning” then a “statistical” community. It also started out some short while ago, and already it has around 700 users who have submitted ~160 questions with ~520 answers given. From my experience on the site so far, I have enjoyed the high quality of the questions and answers.
When I first came by the website, I feared that supporting this website will split the R community of users between this website and the area 51 StackExchange website.
But after a lengthy discussion (published recently as a post) with MetaOptimize founder, Joseph Turian, I came to have a more optimistic view of the competition of the two websites. Where at first I was afraid, I am now hopeful that each of the two website will manage to draw a tiny bit of different communities of people (that would otherwise wouldn’t be present in the other website) – thus offering all of us a wider variety of knowledge to tap into.

See you there…

New versions for ggplot2 (0.8.8) and plyr (1.0) were released today

As prolific as the CRAN website is of packages, there are several packages to R that succeeds in standing out for their wide spread use (and quality), Hadley Wickhams ggplot2 and plyr are two such packages.
plyr image
And today (through twitter) Hadley has updates the rest of us with the news:

just released new versions of plyr and ggplot2. source versions available on cran, compiled will follow soon #rstats

Going to the CRAN website shows that plyr has gone through the most major update, with the last update (before the current one) taking place on 2009-06-23. And now, over a year later, we are presented with plyr version 1, which includes New functions, New features some Bug fixes and a much anticipated Speed improvements.
ggplot2, has made a tiny leap from version 0.8.7 to 0.8.8, and was previously last updated on 2010-03-03.

Me, and I am sure many R users are very thankful for the amazing work that Hadley Wickham is doing (both on his code, and with helping other useRs on the help lists). So Hadley, thank you!

Here is the complete change-log list for both packages:
Continue reading New versions for ggplot2 (0.8.8) and plyr (1.0) were released today