back to article 'Red Hat for stats' goes toe-to-toe with SAS

Revolution Analytics – the company that launched last year to be the "Red Hat for stats", providing an extended version of the open source R programming language and runtime – is going directly after analytics juggernaut SAS Institute with its latest release: R Enterprise 4.2. With the updated release, Revolution's Enterprise R …

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Good News

R is one of those hidden but very useful open source tools.

While the SAS products are good, dealing with SAS as an organisation is like dealing with a cult. They refuse to allow third-parties OEM their products, insult and demean their partner base and charge a fortune for their products.

After spending money on the initial licence, they charge around 40% of the licence fee annually or their products stop working.

Because they had not real competition, they had had no reasons to change their behaviour.

There is a real business now in targetting SAS users with a valid alternative.

The world of data analysis and mining is really changing with tools and standards like PPML from the Data Mining Group, open source Rapid Miner, R as well as the more obscure such as Cassandra.

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This has been coming

There won't be many people shedding tears for SAS when its market share starts to slide. As a piece of analytics software, it's a mess and needs a complete re-build to drag its interface kicking and screaming into the 21st century. You only have to look at the wages that experienced SAS programmers can earn in London to know there's a problem. People without extraordinary analytical skills but who are capable with SAS earn way above average for a business analyst just because they're capable of getting that awkward bit of software to move data around and can maintain existing code.

SAS are also about to lose a long tail of users who don't actually need most of what SAS 9x can do. Smaller groups of analysts who are using the software because most of the alternatives aren't very good either and at least you know it can handle anything you might throw at it. I'm building up a new analysis business unit, having used SAS for the past four years in my old role. Are we going to use SAS? Are we b****cks. R all the way.

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Linux

S-Plus

This will be interesting. This seems rather like the $1k per seat market that S-Plus lost to R in the first place. The question is if they can offer enough features to make it a worthwhile alternative to a free version. Or is this a case of taking the whole R phenomenon to the SAS community? I'd wager that far more stats graduates arrive with R than SAS.

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insightful / splus

Insightful and s-plus succesfully killed all desire I ever had to work with R.

How they could charge such ridiculous licesnse and maintenance fees for a product which is essentially a very very poor front end to an open source language I don't know...

The s-plus IDE was a nightmare to code in, then they informed us a new version was coming out with.. oooh, syntax highlighting and oooh a debugger, but only if we gave them another few thousand dollars a year to upgrade to the "premium" version.. It was around that time that I succesfully persuaded my managers to give them them the flick and we shifted everything to MATLAB.. yes proprietary but at least you get decent support and a pretty good development environement for your money..

Nowadays mind I try and use python, numpy and scipy and so on for that sort of stuff.. takes a little more work to get the prerequisites installed but its all free / open source and works..

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Boffin

S-Plus != R

@ttuk S-Plus and R only share a ayntax. Insightful commercialised the Bell Labs developed S and S+ and added new features. All the beards that wrote S+ went off and developed R. Fact of the matter is that S+ came first and the core product is not likely to draw on any R.

Sort of like refusing to visit the USA because you visited the UK and got accosted by Chavs.

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