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Re: st: SSC activity, August 2006


From   "Austin Nichols" <austinnichols@gmail.com>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   Re: st: SSC activity, August 2006
Date   Sun, 3 Sep 2006 13:20:59 -0400

Friedrich--
The proposition that there is not a "never-ending stream of messages"
complaining about some behavior of -outreg- is unverifiable
empirically, I suppose, since we will never know if we have seen the
end of them.  Perhaps the distinction between "continuous" (i.e.
without interruption; no such claim was made) versus "continual" (i.e.
continuing) messages is relevant. I am confident most frequent
Statalist contributors recognize my point, however, and are familiar
with both the complaints and the replies of the form "quit using
-outreg- and use -outreg2- or -estout-" e.g.
http://www.stata.com/statalist/archive/2006-08/msg00477.html
http://www.stata.com/statalist/archive/2006-06/msg00740.html

My proposal is not that we unilaterally remove -outreg- but that we
ask its author to support it or allow its name to be used for newer
updates, which would be particularly valuable if the author of
-outreg2- committed to ensuring backward compatibility with -outreg-.
I am emphatically not denigrating the contribution of John Gallup, but
that contribution has not been updated since May 2002, and as a result
now often appears broken, or at least inadequate to some hopeful
user's needs, in a way that -estout- -estout1- and -outreg2- do not.
If -outreg- could be renamed -outreg6- (reflecting its "version 6"
declaration) then -outreg2- could be renamed -outreg- with little
fanfare.  In the absence of this remedy, Gallup should at least add a
line to the help file for -outreg- clarifying that it is no longer
supported, and interested users should get -estout- -estout1- or
-outreg2- from SSC.

As to the general principle of never changing a file on SSC in a way
that would "break the code" in existing do-files, that is clearly a
counterfactual desideratum.  That is, as much as we might like as a
general rule that SSC programs should remain forever backwards
compatible for our convenience, they do not. Programs on SSC are
regularly updated, and do not always preserve prior behavior.  Some
programs are updated to make use of new functionality in official
Stata, and the prior version is sometimes renamed, or simply
disappears.

This message is not influenced by personal bias.  I use none of these
programs, but rather the -file- and -local- commands, and nested
-foreach- loops.

On 9/3/06, Friedrich Huebler <huebler@rocketmail.com> wrote:
Sorry, but I disagree with this proposal for several reasons. First,
there is no "never-ending stream of messages beginning "I have a
problem running outreg."" Second, the continuing popularity of
-outreg- indicates that the program fulfills the needs of most users.
Third, letting -outreg2- become -outreg- may break the code in
thousands of existing do-files. Fourth, I don't think it is fair to
ask John Gallup to withdraw his valuable contribution to Stata.

This message is not influenced by personal bias. I use -estout-.

Friedrich Huebler

--- Austin Nichols <austinnichols@gmail.com> wrote:
> Could we not just ask Gallup <jlgallup@pdx.edu> to withdraw
> -outreg- and let -outreg2- become -outreg- on SSC?  It would save
> all of us a never-ending stream of messages beginning "I have a
> problem running outreg."
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