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st: RE: open source

From   "Nick Cox" <>
To   <>
Subject   st: RE: open source
Date   Mon, 6 Sep 2004 15:00:40 +0100

Well, I doubt that StataCorp would want 
to make claims that just aren't true, 
or that could be seen as seriously misleading. 

The executable, and the underlying 
C code, of Stata are emphatically not open 
source, and they are likely to remain 
proprietary for the foreseeable future, 
and the unforeseeable future too. 

It is of course correct that user-written 
ado files are in a fairly strong sense 
open source, although fairly useless 
without the executable. Also, StataCorp-written ado 
files are in a very weak sense also open source, 
but only because they are visible. 

If someone were to write a new open source 
executable that ran Stata programs, then there would 
be an interesting situation! I know this 
was done once in the case of S-Plus and R, 
but my own guess is that this is unlikely 
to be repeated. 

R is a wonderful thing, no doubt about 
it, but the differences are every bit as 
important as the similarities. 


> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []On Behalf Of David Airey
> Sent: 06 September 2004 14:44
> To:
> Subject: st: open source
> 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.

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