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Re: st: Stata for windows, was: Graph problem

From   SamL <[email protected]>
To   [email protected]
Subject   Re: st: Stata for windows, was: Graph problem
Date   Mon, 6 Oct 2003 07:35:53 -0700 (PDT)

I wasn't ranting.  But, thanks Michael for confirming my statement.  Stata
is great on Windows--and that is indicated by saying it crashes far less
than any other Windows software.  Hooray! :-)

I know that many people are forced to use an OS that is as crippling as
Windows because someone else made the decision.  All I can say to that is
that's unfortunate (and, see below).  I am fortunate here in that persons
get to decide what OS they want to use.  Most go with Windows and spend
their days fighting with it.  I am a heavy stat user in my department, and
felt MS creates so much instability and often gets calculations wrong
(e.g., the excel probelm with sqrt(2)), not to mention that MSWord *still*
cannot by default put footnotes at the bottom of the correct page, so I
went with another OS.

But, so that I may interface with many individuals who use Windows, I have
a linux box and a windows XP machine side-by-side in my office.  The linux
box has *never* crashed in two years of service.  The windows XP machine
crashes an average of once a week.

That said, I have no expectations stata will stop writing for windows.
Indeed, I would think stopping writing for windows would be unwise.  My
expectation, I thought, freed me to make an extreme statement.  If that
frightened or angered some, I sincerely apologize.  To be clear, I do not
want Stata to stop writing for Windows (like they listen to me, anyway
:-)).  My point, was, however, that I doubt windows accounts for most
users--a small proportion of purchases by institutions can account for
hundreds of users.  And, those using non-MS OS's should know that the MS
strategy of withholding information means to write good software for
Windows one must throw much more money and time at the problem than for
other OS's.  To those who were lamenting the cost of manuals, here is
another factor in cost--the strength of the documentation in the OS
platform.  All this led me not to really want stata to stop writing for
windows.  I only wanted to suggest (and hope) that Stata does not get
side-tracked into dealing with problems MS creates, and ultimately end up
giving insufficient attention to the many who use much more stable OS's.

This would be evident were we to begin seeing rolling releases of stata,
where versions for different platforms are released at different times.
Or, weaker documentation for some platforms' versions.  Or, decreases in
the rate at which new models and options are added.

So, as far as I can tell this hasn't happened.  And, its great Stata
crashes less than other Windows software; this is likely due to the better
programmers at stata than other places.  But it is still true--we all pay
the costs of Bill's predatory strategy--in delayed advancements, crashed
machines, and lost work---even when we avoid Bill's software.  I'm just
hoping that cost can be kept low.

Sincerely and respectfully,


On Mon, 6 Oct 2003, Michael Blasnik wrote:

> I feel a need to reply to SamL's rant against MS Windows and apparent
> suggestion that Stata should stop developing for Windows.  I certainly agree
> that Windows and MS have many shortcomings, but SamL's suggestion is absurd
> and the primary justification -- Stata crashes are common and unavoidable
> under Windows -- is just plain wrong.  I have used Stata for Windows since
> it first came out (about 10 years ago?, before that I used Stata for DOS)
> and I typically spend 20 hours/week  actively using Stata.  I have used it
> under the more buggy versions of Windows prior to XP (my current platform)
> and still I have experienced fewer than 5 Stata crashes in all 10 years of
> use and none of those crashes brought down the operating system.  Stata is
> the most stable piece of Windows software I have ever used -- crashing far
> less than any MS products.
> Michael Blasnik
> [email protected]
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "SamL" <[email protected]>
> To: <[email protected]>
> Cc: <[email protected]>
> Sent: Sunday, October 05, 2003 8:30 PM
> Subject: Re: st: RE: Graph problem
> > Just a quick note.  What was Stata thinking (by investing in a Windows
> > version)?  I know, I know, lots of people use Windows.  But, that the
> > machine crashes probably has nothing to do with Stata.  It is quite likely
> > that some or many of those people writing Stata about the machine crashing
> > when Stata does something have the same problem whenever they use *any*
> > non-MS software--netscape, WordPerfect, anything.  That has been my
> > experience with *every* windows operating system since MS "superceded"
> > Windows 3.1--the last one where you could easily switch out to DOS.
> >
> > Windows crashes at the slightest wind.  Every release is promised to be
> > stable, and every release fails.  A major reason for this is MS *never*
> > tells non-MS programmers all the rules of Windows, so that non-MS
> > programmers will necessarily write software that will at times clash with
> > some arcane Windows rule (and crash or hang the system).  And, MS
> > incompetence means even their own non-OS software, hastily written, poorly
> > tested, and user-unfriendly, also crashes constantly.
> >
> > MS used the former mentioned predatory technique and others at the outset,
> > and continues to do so.  I hope Stata will not end up diverting more and
> > more energy and investment to the impossible task of writing stable
> > software for an OS for which Stata will never receive complete
> > documentation.  Instead, I hope Stata pays equal or more attention to
> > writing for operating systems that are designed for users to get work done
> > (e.g., linux) as opposed to operating systems designed to maintain the
> > dominance of one northwestern U.S. corporation.  It is only by this
> > approach that Stata will avoid getting bogged down into the quagmire of
> > spending more and more effort just trying to get the menus right on the
> > screen, and will be able instead to steadily introduce truly useful
> > advances (e.g., more models, more options, more presentation quality
> > stuff--more more more!).
> >
> > Not to start an MS-war, but something *had* to be said re: the thread
> > about windows crashing when something is changed.
> >
> > Respectfully,
> >
> > Sam
> >
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