An Daft of a Paper for Interface '98
R began as an experiment in trying to use the methods of Lisp implementors to build a small testbed which could be used to trial some ideas on how a statistical environment might be built. Early on, the decision was made to use an S-like syntax. Once that decision was made, the move toward being more and more like S has been irresistible.
R has now outgrown its origins and its development is now a collaborative effort undertaken using the Internet to exchange ideas and distribute the results. The focus is now on how the initial experiment can be turned into a viable piece of free software.
This paper reviews the past and present status of R and takes a brief look at where future development might lead.