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From |
"b. water" <barleywater@hotmail.com> |

To |
statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu |

Subject |
Re: st: PDF Stata 8 manuals |

Date |
Tue, 15 Jul 2003 18:53:55 +0000 |

At the risk of wasting an email, fwiw, my vote goes to retention of the current system, i.e. reasonable licence fee, reasonable (albeit a tad expensive imho for v8) manuals cost and smcl on-line help. An integrated pdf would avoid wholesale piracy that's inevitable if Stata were to make a separate pdf help file. I don't mind whichever at the end of the day (pdf or smcl), but in agreement with Sam, that as far as learning Stata (and possibly some stats as well), hunting through the manuals and or FAQ/Archive goes a long way.

I'd rather Stata Corp. keeps the prices reasonable (see Nick's argument) than doing the pdf if it potentially meant heftier licence fee in the future. Just my humble opinion though.

Cheers,

bw

From: SamL <saml@demog.berkeley.edu>_________________________________________________________________

Reply-To: statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu

To: statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu

CC: SamL@demog.berkeley.edu

Subject: Re: st: PDF Stata 8 manuals

Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 10:49:30 -0700 (PDT)

Some stations on a train of thought (not, by any means, the only train):

-adding pdf files *may* reduce the number of people buying manuals

-this *may* lead the manuals to increase in price

-this price increase *may* lead fewer people still to buy the manuals (me

among them)

-this *may* force the software to go up in price for everyone

-this *may* lead many to switch to other packages (e.g., R)

-after a decade or so, the argument will continue with the designers of R,

as people ask for "better" access to the manual

Why start this process at all? If it ain't broke . . .

Another set of thoughts

-searchable manuals are best for knowledgeable users (who will know what

to search for)

-many of the best most promising students learn a lot by the very effort

of hunting through a manual, reading matters they do not (at the moment)

need--this advantage of paper will be less widely experienced in the

change (already affected by the tech support search engine)

A final comment for this note

--I prefer the paper non-searchable manuals. I only use the tech support

pages when I have left the manuals at the office--a nice feature, but if I

have access to both, paper wins. I would be very sad (and would re-think

my software use) if it became prohibitively expensive to acquire the paper

manuals alone. If, on the other hand, the cost of the software goes up

(so even those with pdf files are paying to use the commands), or if those

who pay for pdf files have to pay a lot more to get them and the price of

paper manuals remains as is, then I'd be fine with it, just as long as the

paper manuals were no more expensive than the pdf files. But, I may be in

the minority in that desire for a more expensive software package--which

would seem necessary anyway, if more is being bundled with it. But, I

guess we should never underestimate the seductive illusion of obtaining

something for nothing. :-)

Respectfully,

Sam

On Tue, 15 Jul 2003, Ulrich Kohler wrote:

> But SAS is somewhat more expensive than Stata, isn't it?

>

> kohler@wz-berlin.de

>

> Richard Herrell wrote:

> > I recall we discussed the problem before about the ease of distributing

> > pdfs. I don't think it differs greatly from the free sharing of

> > photocopies of chapters from SAS manuals I saw as a student and teacher

> > "Say, can I make a copy of the logistic chapter?" I now have a CD with

> > the complete SAS manuals which is not expensive, takes up virtually no

> > room on the shelf, and is wonderful to use since I can search it.

> >

> > Richard Herrell

> > NIMH

> > NIH

> >

> > On Tue, 15 Jul 2003, Nick Cox wrote:

> > > 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

> > >

> > > *

> > > * For searches and help try:

> > > * http://www.stata.com/support/faqs/res/findit.html

> > > * http://www.stata.com/support/statalist/faq

> > > * http://www.ats.ucla.edu/stat/stata/

> >

> > *

> > * For searches and help try:

> > * http://www.stata.com/support/faqs/res/findit.html

> > * http://www.stata.com/support/statalist/faq

> > * http://www.ats.ucla.edu/stat/stata/

>

>

>

> *

> * For searches and help try:

> * http://www.stata.com/support/faqs/res/findit.html

> * http://www.stata.com/support/statalist/faq

> * http://www.ats.ucla.edu/stat/stata/

>

*

* For searches and help try:

* http://www.stata.com/support/faqs/res/findit.html

* http://www.stata.com/support/statalist/faq

* http://www.ats.ucla.edu/stat/stata/

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