Source code of early S versions

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Source code of early S versions

barry rowlingson
According to Wikipedia:

"In 1980 the first version of S was distributed outside Bell
Laboratories and in 1981 source versions were made available."

but I've been unable to locate any version of S online. Does anyone
have a copy, somewhere, rusting away on an old hard disk or slowly
flaking off a tape? I've had a rummage round the CMU Statlib on
archive.org but no sign of it, and its hard to search for "S"
generally.

 Obviously this would be for archaeological purposes, but there's
bound to be someone out there who'd like to try and compile it on a
modern system. It might at least be nice to see it in a nice format on
Gitlab, for example. But maybe there's licensing problems.

 Anyone interested in the history of S should read Richard Becker's
article from the mid 90s:

http://sas.uwaterloo.ca/~rwoldfor/software/R-code/historyOfS.pdf

Barry

[apologies if S talk is off-topic. Surprisingly I've just discovered
the S-news mailing list still runs, but looking at the recent archive
I don't think I'd get much success there]

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Re: Source code of early S versions

John Chambers-2
The Wikipedia statement may be a bit misleading.

S was never open source.  Source versions would only have been available with a nondisclosure agreement, and relatively few copies would have been distributed in source.  There was a small but valuable "beta test" network, mainly university statistics departments.

And two shameless plugs:

1.  there is a chapter on the history of all this in my forthcoming book on "Extending R"

2. Rick Becker will give a keynote talk on the history of S at the useR! 2016 conference (user2016.org); 2016 is the 40th anniversary of the first work on S.

John

PS:  somehow "historical" would be less unnerving than "archeological"


On Feb 29, 2016, at 8:40 AM, Barry Rowlingson <[hidden email]> wrote:

> According to Wikipedia:
>
> "In 1980 the first version of S was distributed outside Bell
> Laboratories and in 1981 source versions were made available."
>
> but I've been unable to locate any version of S online. Does anyone
> have a copy, somewhere, rusting away on an old hard disk or slowly
> flaking off a tape? I've had a rummage round the CMU Statlib on
> archive.org but no sign of it, and its hard to search for "S"
> generally.
>
> Obviously this would be for archaeological purposes, but there's
> bound to be someone out there who'd like to try and compile it on a
> modern system. It might at least be nice to see it in a nice format on
> Gitlab, for example. But maybe there's licensing problems.
>
> Anyone interested in the history of S should read Richard Becker's
> article from the mid 90s:
>
> http://sas.uwaterloo.ca/~rwoldfor/software/R-code/historyOfS.pdf
>
> Barry
>
> [apologies if S talk is off-topic. Surprisingly I've just discovered
> the S-news mailing list still runs, but looking at the recent archive
> I don't think I'd get much success there]
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel

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Re: Source code of early S versions

barry rowlingson
In reply to this post by barry rowlingson
On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 6:17 PM, John Chambers <[hidden email]> wrote:
> The Wikipedia statement may be a bit misleading.
>
> S was never open source.  Source versions would only have been available with a nondisclosure agreement, and relatively few copies would have been distributed in source.  There was a small but valuable "beta test" network, mainly university statistics departments.

So it was free (or at least distribution cost only), but with a
nondisclosure agreement? Did binaries circulate freely, legally or
otherwise? Okay, guess I'll read the book.

 I'm sure I saw S source early in my career (1990 or so), possibly on
an early Sun 3/60 system or even the on-the-way-out Whitechapel MG-1
workstations.

> And two shameless plugs:
>
> 1.  there is a chapter on the history of all this in my forthcoming book on "Extending R"

 That will sit nicely on the shelf next to "Extending The S System"
that Allan Wilks gave me :)

> PS:  somehow "historical" would be less unnerving than "archeological"

 At least I didn't say palaeontological.

Thanks for the response.

Barry

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Re: Source code of early S versions

Jari Oksanen

> On 29 Feb 2016, at 20:54 pm, Barry Rowlingson <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 6:17 PM, John Chambers <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> The Wikipedia statement may be a bit misleading.
>>
>> S was never open source.  Source versions would only have been available with a nondisclosure agreement, and relatively few copies would have been distributed in source.  There was a small but valuable "beta test" network, mainly university statistics departments.
>
> So it was free (or at least distribution cost only), but with a
> nondisclosure agreement? Did binaries circulate freely, legally or
> otherwise? Okay, guess I'll read the book.
>
I don’t think I have seen S source, but some other Bell software has license of this type:

C THIS INFORMATION IS PROPRIETARY AND IS THE                                    
C PROPERTY OF BELL TELEPHONE LABORATORIES,                                      
C INCORPORATED.  ITS REPRODUCTION OR DISCLOSURE                                  
C TO OTHERS, EITHER ORALLY OR IN WRITING, IS                                    
C PROHIBITED WITHOUT WRITTEN PRERMISSION OF                                      
C BELL LABORATORIES.

C IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THESE MATERIALS WILL BE USED FOR                        
C EDUCATIONAL AND INSTRUCTIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.    

(Obviously in FORTRAN)

So the code was “open” in the sense that you could see the code, and it had to be “open", because source code  was the only way to distribute software before the era of widespread platforms allowing binary distributions (such as VAX/VMS or Intel/MS-DOS). However, the license in effect says that although you can see the code, you are not even allowed to tell anybody that you have seen it. I don’t know how this is interpreted currently, but you may ask the current owner, Nokia.

Cheers, Jari Oksanen
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Re: Source code of early S versions

Peter Dalgaard-2
In reply to this post by barry rowlingson

> On 29 Feb 2016, at 19:54 , Barry Rowlingson <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> PS:  somehow "historical" would be less unnerving than "archeological"
>
> At least I didn't say palaeontological.

So John should feel more like stone age than dinosaur?

(Some portion of this must be a fortune candidate!)

--
Peter Dalgaard, Professor,
Center for Statistics, Copenhagen Business School
Solbjerg Plads 3, 2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark
Phone: (+45)38153501
Office: A 4.23
Email: [hidden email]  Priv: [hidden email]

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Re: Source code of early S versions

Achim Zeileis-4
On Tue, 1 Mar 2016, peter dalgaard wrote:

>
>> On 29 Feb 2016, at 19:54 , Barry Rowlingson <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>>> PS:  somehow "historical" would be less unnerving than "archeological"
>>
>> At least I didn't say palaeontological.
>
> So John should feel more like stone age than dinosaur?
>
> (Some portion of this must be a fortune candidate!)

:-) Unless anyone objects:

R> fortune(373)

Barry Rowlingson: I've been unable to locate any version of S online. Does
anyone have a copy, somewhere, rusting away on an old hard disk or slowly
flaking off a tape? [...] Obviously this would be for archaeological
purposes.
John Chambers: [...] somehow "historical" would be less unnerving than
"archeological".
Barry Rowlingson: At least I didn't say palaeontological.
    -- Barry Rowlingson and John Chambers (on the availability of the
       source code for early versions of S)
       R-devel (February 2016)


> --
> Peter Dalgaard, Professor,
> Center for Statistics, Copenhagen Business School
> Solbjerg Plads 3, 2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark
> Phone: (+45)38153501
> Office: A 4.23
> Email: [hidden email]  Priv: [hidden email]
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>

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