I would agree with (3), and know a few people still using Stata 6. That is
one reason why I wrote the -descsave- utility, which is downloadable from
SSC, is currently written in Stata 7, and can be used together with
-insheet- and -outsheet- to port between Stata versions 7 and 8, and from
both of these to Stata 6, without losing variable labels, value labels,
types and formats. In Stata 7 or 8, the user can type
2. The next equally understandable requests are that someone
wants to be able to read Stata/SE files on their Stata,
or Stata 8 files in Stata 6, etc., etc. (And I can sympathise
with those whose domestic budgets don't stretch to getting fresh
personal licenses for home.) But where is the line drawn?
More generally, the marketing case seems dubious here. Stata gives
freebies when it suits -- not least updates between releases --
but we're a long way into Stata 8 now. Why should
StataCorp divert attention on behalf of people who won't upgrade?
The cost here is diversion of developer resources from worthwhile
projects that favour loyal customers, and people who won't pay
have no leverage on StataCorp -- especially if the freebie makes
it even less likely that they will upgrade!
3. Sharing data files is often best done using some ASCII
file, as may be essential if the other people are not Stata users.
That can make the issue of versions irrelevant.