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RE: st: Stata vs SPSS

From   "Nick Cox" <>
To   <>
Subject   RE: st: Stata vs SPSS
Date   Mon, 16 Oct 2006 10:43:52 +0100

I agree with Joe's more general point, which was mine too. 

Whatever the origins of C, it really is a general-purpose
language too. For example, Stata is written in it.


Joe Trubisz
> 2-points (just an FYI):
> 1. PL/I was created by IBM to combine the best of the numerical  
> processing of Fortran, the record (actually, early database  
> operations) of Cobol and the string processing capabilities of Algol  
> and create a single language, which they did somewhat 
> successfully. I  
> won't get into what is meant by 'somewhat', but anyone who has  
> actually used it for any commercial system would swear by it.  
> Academics hated it.
> 2. C on  the other hand, was designed to do one thing: write UNIX.  
> It's designed to write an operating system. It's the classical  
> "attempt to use a screwdriver to paint a wall" language. It became  
> popular because it was the "language-of-the-moment", given that a  
> large percentage of computing since 1970 is a popularity 
> contest, and  
> not based on whether it's a better tool to do a job or not.
> I'm not the most statistical savvy, and I have used Stata, SAS and  
> SPSS and if I need a tool to do the job, then Stata is the best I've  
> used. Maybe it has shortcomings like any software package, but it  
> does what I want it to do. So what if it can't do everything? 
> Nothing  
> else I own does everything either. Either does my screwdriver.

Nick Cox 

> >> I am often reminded in these discussions of Dennis
> >> Ritchie's semi-apocryphal comments when he was repeatedly
> >> asked why C -- famously lean and mean, like Stata in its
> >> youth -- didn't include this feature or that feature:
> >> "If you want PL/1, you know where to find it." PL/1
> >> was, by comparison, a relative behemoth, but where
> >> is it now?
> >

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