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RE: st: Making saveold a permanent option


From   "Mark Schaffer" <M.E.Schaffer@hw.ac.uk>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   RE: st: Making saveold a permanent option
Date   Wed, 3 Mar 2004 10:04:08 -0000

I agree with Richard here.  Don't forget that the takeup of a new 
version of Stata sometimes isn't even synchronised within a single 
institution (say, a network version for students vs. the staff 
version vs. the standalone version on a laptop), let alone 
synchronised around the world.  The incompatibilities of the .dta 
formats are a nusiance while coauthors, colleagues and students are 
using different versions.

I don't think making it easier for Stata 7 users to read Stata 8 data 
is going to provide much of an incentive for them to stay with Stata 
7.  Roughly speaking, if they have the budget and want the new 
features of Stata 8 (including the user community's ados), they'll 
upgrade, otherwise they won't.

--Mark

Subject:        	RE: st: Making saveold a permanent option
Date sent:      	Tue, 2 Mar 2004 23:52:38 -0000
From:           	"Nick Cox" <n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk>
To:             	<statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu>
Send reply to:  	statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu

> We're taking up debating roles here. I naturally agree 
> about the attractions of maximum compatibility, and the 
> history of StataCorp has been very good in this respect. 
> I can't comment on MS Word, which I try very hard not to use. 
> However, MS seems to have a problem in that many users cannot even see
> the advantage in upgrading, while it is hard to imagine a Stata user
> who would not want to upgrade if cost were no issue (unless they're
> about to abandon statistical computing for a real life). 
> 
> A few extra points: 
> 
> 1. The differences between Stata 7 and Stata 8 are more
> than just technicalities that StataCorp knows how to handle. 
> It's misleading to downplay this given the differences in 
> content between 7 and 8 data files, e.g. in representation 
> of missing values, etc. 
> 
> 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. 
> 
> Nick 
> n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk 
> 
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: owner-statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
> > [mailto:owner-statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu]On Behalf Of Richard
> > Williams Sent: 02 March 2004 23:16 To:
> > statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu; statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
> > Subject: RE: st: Making saveold a permanent option
> > 
> > 
> > At 10:30 PM 3/2/2004 +0000, Nick Cox wrote:
> > >Essentially, 7.0 is history. The only obligation
> > >it exerts over StataCorp is providing tech-support
> > >to registered users.
> > >
> > >I've no quarrel with felt needs, but I want StataCorp
> > >to look ahead, not backwards.
> > >
> > >Nick
> > >n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk
> > 
> >  From a marketing standpoint though, I think it is a good idea when
> >  a 
> > company makes it as easy as possible for users of different 
> > versions to 
> > exchange files.  It used to be incredibly annoying when 
> > Microsoft would 
> > make changes in Word's .doc format to add features that 90% of the
> > population did not want anyway, making it a big hassle to exchange
> > files.  It was smart of MS to minimize incompatibilities and to
> > offer freebie routines for conversion.  I'm sure Stata would prefer
> > that everybody just immediately upgrade to V. 8, but an alternative
> > possibility is that people will stick with 7 if it is too much
> > hassle to upgrade everyone and if it is a hassle to exchange files
> > between versions.
> > 
> > Stata obviously already has the code for switching back and 
> > forth between 7 
> > and 8, so it presumably wouldn't be too hard to come up with 
> > a separate 
> > utility for this purpose.
> > 
> > In the present case, Karen can admittedly solve her problem 
> > just by being a 
> > little more careful!  But if you are in a situation where you 
> > exchange 
> > files a lot (with students, colleagues; or perhaps if you 
> > place things on 
> > the web) it would be nice not to have to worry about 
> > compatibility issues 
> > or always being sure to use the lowest common denominator when
> > saving things.  I occasionally work on a machine that has Stata 7,
> > so it is a nuisance when I can't open a file and have to convert it
> > with Stat/Transfer or switch to a Stata 8 machine.
> 
> *
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Prof. Mark E. Schaffer
Director
Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation
Department of Economics
School of Management & Languages
Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh EH14 4AS  UK
44-131-451-3494 direct
44-131-451-3008 fax
44-131-451-3485 CERT administrator
http://www.som.hw.ac.uk/cert
*
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*   http://www.stata.com/support/statalist/faq
*   http://www.ats.ucla.edu/stat/stata/



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