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RE: st: PDF Stata 8 manuals


From   Fred Wolfe <fwolfe@arthritis-research.org>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   RE: st: PDF Stata 8 manuals
Date   Tue, 15 Jul 2003 12:44:07 -0500

I think Nick was right on the mark. It is difficult (but not impossible) to pirate SAS software, as there are licenses that are always expiring and need special keys to continue operation. In addition, SAS is expensive enough that it is only practical through universities or large groups who have responsibility for the licenses. I would love to see pdf files of the manuals, but my guess is that Stata would be ripped off left and right if they did this.

Fred

At 12:26 PM 7/15/2003 -0500, you wrote:

Nick

Some colleagues and many students would not buy manuals if they could
get the documentation they needed online.  It is not obvious to me,
however, that providing excellent online documentation would necessarily
result in reduced revenue to Stata Corp.  A key factor in increasing
their revenue stream is surly increasing the number of people who buy
their software.  Students who take Stata based courses are potential
long term customers.  Hence, making Stata a more attractive teaching
tool may increase student numbers and in the long term lead to increased
revenues to Stata.  It is presumably for this reason that Stata offers
inexpensive GradPlan options to students.

In the final analysis the question of whether to improve the quality of
the online documentation is a business decision for Stata Corp.  At
Vanderbilt, I believe that improved documentation might lead to reduced
documentation sales and would probably lead to larger class sizes and
more long term Stata customers.  Whether Stata would make more or less
revenue from this change is hard to say.

Bill Dupont

-----Original Message-----
From: Nick Cox [mailto:n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk]
Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2003 11:35 AM
To: statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject: RE: st: PDF Stata 8 manuals


William Dupont

> I think I would still prefer a hyperlinked pdf version of the paper
> documentation, but a hyperlinked SMCL version would be a big advance.
> Would creating hyperlinked pdf documentation be much more
> difficult or
> expensive than doing this in SMCL?

The difficulty or the expense of doing this are not
the issue at all, or so I suspect. It's what would be
done with the resulting product.

Let me put one key facet a little more bluntly than
Stata Corp might.

If your colleagues and students could print out .pdf willy-nilly,
how much would it affect their willingness to buy the manuals?

How many people, world-wide, would buy cheap pirated
versions of (subsets of) the documentation if they existed?

Individually, of course, no one wants to pay any more than
one can avoid, modulo ethical scruples.
Collectively, however, the viability of
Stata Corp must depend on its financial success, itself
dependent on at least some people paying substantially
for what they get.

Nick
n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk

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Fred Wolfe
National Data Bank for Rheumatic Diseases
Wichita, Kansas
Tel (316) 263-2125     Fax (316) 263-0761
fwolfe@arthritis-research.org


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