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RE: st: Stata vs SPSS
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.
> 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?
> else I own does everything either. Either does my screwdriver.
> >> 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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