The R Consortium has just been announced – with Microsoft as a founding Platinum member. Google, HP and Oracle are Silver members.
According to their website, the consortium
is a group of businesses organized under an open source governance and foundation model to provide support to the R community, the R Foundation and groups and individuals, using, maintaining and distributing R software.
What does all this mean for R users? One goal is to make R more accessible. As a open source project, getting started can be a little daunting.
A related challenge is the sprawling number of packages. These are of variable quality and, in many cases, have overlapping functionality. There is also no consistency across them. All of this adds to R’s learning curve. The foundation will facilitate collaboration and communication within the community which should help to mitigate some of these problems.
Microsoft’s participation as a Platinum member reinforces their recent commitment to R. It follows their purchase of Revolution Analytics, inclusion of R in Azure Machine Learning and plans for in-database R in SQL Server 2016.
Commenting on the foundation, Joseph Sirosh, Corporate Vice President of Machine Learning at Microsoft, said
Our efforts to build R into more Microsoft products and services, combined with our contribution to the R Consortium as a Platinum Member, gives me confidence that we’re helping today’s data scientists and business leaders to drive innovation and advances in the field of data science with R.
What next? R.NET?