[S] Charlie Roosen's Request -- and Version 3 to Version 4

Humbolt, Allen (HumboltA@kochind.com)
Tue, 31 Mar 1998 09:49:46 -0600

I suspect we've deviated substantially from Charlie's topic of
statistical enhancements to Splus. Still, it's been interesting so I'll
add my 2 cents worth.

Based upon what I hear from about 30 Splus/Windows users at Koch, we're
generally happy with Version 4. I don't personally get much value out
of the object browser or point-and-click menus; but many of our new
Splus users prefer them. For us, the whole value of V4 was to attract
some folks who would otherwise analyze data via Excel (whether it was
capable or not). I always worry that point-and-click software just
makes it easy for folks to misinterpret data; but that's a risk I've got
to take given limited resources.

I've been surprised to hear complaints in snews about the speed of
Version 4. The complaints I hear at Koch involve stability.
Splus/Windows V4 almost never crashes for me; so I've got to believe
that the stability complaints either involve menus (which I seldom use)
or are the result of new users telling Splus to do silly things. I do
hear complaints about the time it takes to load Splus V4; but once
loaded it runs much faster than V3 for us. Possibly we just have good
hardware here. All in all, Splus/Windows V4 does everything that V3 did
and does it better. It may be true that its fancy new menus don't live
up to all the hype; but no one is telling me that V3 is better and some
think V4 is substantially easier to use.

My biggest complaint about Splus/Windows revolves around the data
management issues when compared to Splus/Unix. My hope is that future
versions of Splus/Windows will be more Unix-like when it comes to things
like long file names and project management. If it weren't for these
issues, we'd move completely away from Splus/Unix to Splus/Windows. Of
course, Splus/Unix is extremely stable and is my preference even though
my version of Splus/Windows is faster. I tend to use Splus/Unix on my
major data analyses. Then I move my data and functions to Splus/Windows
V4 where it's easy to do things like include my graphics in Word
documents or Powerpoint presentations. If I have a simple problem I may
do the entire analysis in Windows. When I need to provide data and
functions to share with our group, I use Splus/Unix because of its
easier data and project management -- though I do have a set of Koch
Splus functions on a shared drive accessible to our Windows users. Our
long term future at Koch will likely be Windows instead of Unix since
that's the preferred direction of most of our large data base systems.
As it gets easier to use Microsoft's tools in talking to data bases, the
future of Unix here at Koch will probably fade regardless of how future
versions of Splus change.

Someone requested that comments about "time" be specific, so I'll add
the results of a few time trials I did on four different systems about 2
months ago. Even our brand new Sun E450 (Unix) doesn't outperform our
typical Windows installation -- though I still personally prefer the
ease of use and stability of Splus/Unix.

WinV3 WinV4 Unix1V3 Unix2V3
4 3 6 4 Simple Graph
10 6 10 6 More complex
19 12 27 18 Very Complex
Crash 130 300 153 Very Complex Function

WinV3: PC with 64 MB RAM, 200 MHz chip, NT 4.0 OS, Splus 3.3
WinV4: PC with 64 MB RAM, 200 MHz chip, NT 4.0 OS, Splus 4.0
Unix1V3: IBM RS/6000 Model 390, 192 MB RAM, 67 MHz chip, AIX V1.6 OS,
Splus 3.4
Unix2V3: Sun E450, 1 GB RAM, 2 - 250 MHz chips, Solaris 2.6 OS, Splus

Allen Humbolt
Quantitative Analyst
Koch Industries, Inc.
HumboltA@kochind.com e-mail
(316) 828-7911 phone
(316) 828-8674 fax

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