I was at a talk given by a Stata user the other week, and he mentioned
the open source stance of Stata to an audience member, since that
audience member is the new chair of biostatistics, and he's an ardent
fan of R. I'm not sure the audience member blinked at all.
R gets a lot of attention from potential users by being on the open
source bandwagon. Why does the Stata Web site not include this phrase,
"open source", prominently, or make the comparison with what Stata is
and is not in terms of open source more explicit? I did not do an
exhaustive search. In many ways, much of Stata is open source, or
provides the same utility/flexibility.
For the record, I try to learn both Stata and R. I don't know other
packages, and I barely have enough time for a little more than a
superficial grasp of either.