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st: RE: RE: statalist-digest V4 #2718 / Stata 10 announcement

From   "Nick Cox" <>
To   <>
Subject   st: RE: RE: statalist-digest V4 #2718 / Stata 10 announcement
Date   Tue, 5 Jun 2007 13:27:09 +0100

I think Allan is missing the issue here. To repeat points 
made earlier in the thread, being able to read Stata 10 
data files is the least of the problems. It is ensuring that
the rest of Stata 9 works properly when Stata 10 datasets 
are in memory that would be crucial. So, for example, as Stata 9 
has no concept of a date-time variable, such a variable 
would have to be degraded to a plain -double- variable. In 
that way, and others, Stata 9 users could gain no benefit 
from any of the new functionality -- unless the last update
of Stata 9 were almost to make it Stata 10. 

In addition, Stata 10 data files will only be available 
to you if friends and colleagues have Stata 10. If those
people don't provide readable files for you, then the 
solution is to be sought from them. The problem is hardly 
to be blamed on StataCorp, who have long since provided -saveold- 
(or -save, old-) functionality. 

It is always awkward when, usually as a matter of personal 
or institutional finances, some Stata users get left behind,
but that's the way it is. Conversely, why should those who 
can pay for upgrade be expected to subsidise a large amount of 
programming effort that would benefit only those who don't 
pay for upgrade? 

The comparison with Microsoft is ridiculous. StataCorp's 
technical competence and good treatment of users put it in a 
completely different league. 


Allan Reese
> Alan Riley replied to Richard Williams on behalf of 
> StataCorp: We will in fact put out a final update to Stata 9, 
> likely shortly after Stata 10 ships.  However, this update 
> will not include the ability to read Stata 10 files.  As Nick 
> pointed out, our solution for users who need to share 
> datasets across versions is the -saveold- command.
> ---
> With respect, that is what I call the Microsoft attitude: we 
> assume (know / instruct) that everyone will upgrade and 
> willingly accept any changes that we've made.  "Poor 
> relations" who can't keep up will have to rely on "proper" 
> users remembering to adapt their hand-me-downs.
> It incidentally shields the "poor relation" from knowing what 
> was lost when the file was converted to old format.
> Since the code to read a new format file and to write an old 
> format file must exist within Stata 10, what is the problem 
> in adding a module "read Stata 10 file" to the last update of 
> version 9?  Or was the stuff I was taught about modular 
> programming in the 1970s just hot air?
> It's made me wonder whether the guy carving the Rosetta stone 
> was muttering the whole time, "Why can't these old Egyptians 
> just learn Greek?"

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