Your verification ID is: guDlT7MCuIOFFHSbB3jPFN5QLaQ Big Computing: The R Consortium

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The R Consortium

One of the new stories to come out UseR! 2015 is the creation of the R Consortium. The Consortium is made of the R Foundation and a number of corporate sponsors. These include Microsoft, RStudio, TIBCO,  Google, HP, Oracle, Alteryx, Mango Solutions and Ketchum Trading. The stated goal of the R Consortium is "The open governance model for R Consortium includes an infrastructure steering committee that will direct technical decisions and oversee working group projects and a board of directors to guide business decisions."

So this has me a bit confused because up till now the technical decisions for Core R have been handled by the R foundation alone. Does this mean that the R foundation and R Core has given up this function to the R Consortium? Also what are the business decisions of R? It is an open source project that benefits from the contributions of its community. There are business that have been built around R including one I helped found, Revolution Analytics. However, the development of R was always independent of the business decisions. 

These changes could be good for R. It is just hard to tell from the limited information in the press releases. Open Source project have depended on and developed with the support of companies (Java, Hadoop and even R). I think the concern comes if the development of R is usurped or re-directed away from the needs and desires of the community toward the needs and desires of the Consortium members. For example new versions of R that are designed to run faster on the Microsoft Cloud with HP servers using TIBCO graphic through RStudio. I know that sounds as extreme as it is unlikely, but there are so far precious little details about the Consortium out there to lessen the concern.

I hope these worries are unfounded and the Consortium has truly altruistic intentions by doing the time consuming work needed to guide R to reach its full potential and remain a vibrant project the evolves and expands. Only time will tell

Press Release


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