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

From   "Joseph McCrary" <[email protected]>
To   <[email protected]>
Subject   st: RE: RE: statalist-digest V4 #2718 / Stata 10 announcement
Date   Tue, 5 Jun 2007 08:51:16 -0400

First of all, Stata Corp is one of the last ones I would ever associate with
poor customer relations. How many other companies participate in discussion
lists that they themselves do not moderate? Few. Very Few. 

Also, I've dealt with the people from Stata on several occasions for
problems that were specific to my previous organization's specific 501(c)3
compliance requirements. They spent a lot of time on it, and it only
affected the sale of about 5 licenses, so it's not like they got a lot of
bang for that buck. 

And good luck trying to get one of the behemoths to spend any time on the
phone with you, and then actually give you answers that made sense. One of
the statistics behemoths with a four-letter acronym once told us that their
reversal of inner and outer joins in a release of their program was a
"feature," not a bug. And this was about 2 months after we reported it and
supplied them with the data and code. Doubt we would have gotten that same
response from Stata (or that they would have made such a basic error).

Second, there are probably 2 versions of Stata (v.8 and v.9) that are very
active in the field, plus a couple more that are still used extensively in
places that cannot afford upgrades. Should Stata write code for each version
to read in data from all future versions? When does it stop? And what will
that do to the cost of future upgrades? If version 10 needs to be compatible
with version 9 and version 8, then Stata Corp has to go back and write code
for version 8, what, 3 years after they've stopped writing code for it? And
then how bloated will Stata be (note how many people complain about
Microsoft products being bloatware)?

Third, you wrote:

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?  

It's not the same thing. If a Stata 10 file has already been read into Stata
10, then any existing Stata 10 specific code is already incorporated.
There's only one step to convert into an older version. However, to read a
Stata 10 file into a previous version of Stata, it has to be able to
translate any headers, parse out each variable and ensure that the variable
conforms to the older version, and convert variables into something that is
consistent with the old version (and hope that it is what you thought it
would be). 

Again, this would increase the cost of Stata. And who pays--the person
buying the new version because other people don't upgrade? That's not fair
to them, is it? Or do you just build it into the cost of the upgrade in case
the user decides not to upgrade, driving the cost to everyone up? 

No, the efficient answer is the -saveold- command. 

-----Original Message-----
From: [email protected]
[mailto:[email protected]] On Behalf Of Allan Reese
Sent: Tuesday, June 05, 2007 8:03 AM
To: [email protected]
Subject: st: RE: statalist-digest V4 #2718 / Stata 10 announcement

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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