Critics of the open source R Project for Statistical Computing often cite the complexity and quirkiness of the R language as a downside when comparing the platform against competitors, claiming it takes months and even years to master language intricacies. And though there are GUI front-ends to help (with a major one in the works from Revolution Analytics), according to the critics, R is still a complex language to work with.

I must acknowledge I now agree with the R nay-Sayers. Even after eight years of working with R and two with its older S cousin, I still don't see myself having as advanced a command of the language as I'd like. It seems every time I review R code I wrote a year or so back, I can think of a better and more efficient way to do the task. After the fact, I routinely discover functions I didn't know existed that can dramatically simplify the code.  Annoyingly, I’m never “there.”

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