So I guess this is the closest thing to an official
announcement that I can make.
My business partner and I are going to form a company which will
concentrate upon statistics software. Our product will be
called Ecstatistics which is
a seriously good update of my old project
SalStat. It differs in that:
a) It will be able to read data from CSV files, databases (a
whole range), and spreadsheets. We plan to import SPSS and
SAS files too as well as any other format we can code for;
b) It will output to a range of formats (PDF, OOo,
databases, MS Office, HTML). The HTML is interesting because
it will allow online analysis;
c) It will have a nice range of tests;
d) It will have a great graphing / charting capability;
e) It will be modular and easy to upgrade;
f) It will be far more usable than existing programs;
g) And of course, it will be open source;
Our plan is to get the product working (the database browser
does already quite nicely) and produce a version for the
OLPC project. Some people have asked for a stats program
that works there already and it makes sense to equip
students with (possibly) the most useful tool in scientific
research: statistical analysis. So far, it can import from a
range of databases and analyse the data descriptively.
Output is only text for now and interaction is via a custom
interactive interpreter, but it's early days yet. From what
we've read, the important thing is to get something released
and we hope to do that very soon.
Ecstatistics is coded in Python with NumPy, SQLAlchemy,
SQLite and lots of other stuff. Because of this, we can code
the OLPC version down to about 200k which competes extremely
well with the opposition like R, SPSS and SAS. The interface
is designed not just to be useful but also to instill good
statistical practice, so it's educational too.
The interface will be designed with non-expert users in
mind, particularly students. We aren't aiming at calloused
statisticians; they have their favourite tools (and often
write them for themselves anyway). We are aiming at all
those people who have to do stats but don't like it.
In other news, I saw a couple of laptops here in the Phils
in a major chain of electrical stores. They came with Linux
preinstalled which was nice to see.
Finally, but most importantly, my wife had her scan earlier
this week - we're expecting a little baby girl! The due date
is the end of July and we're both very excited.