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RE: st: clinical trials

From   "Verkuilen, Jay" <[email protected]>
To   <[email protected]>
Subject   RE: st: clinical trials
Date   Sat, 5 Jan 2008 15:13:37 -0500

[email protected] wrote:

>>>On the other hand, "openness" is often considered a plus, as far as
quality of software goes. Freely available source code can be examined
by many people (even if you are not one of them; I usually am not).
Flaws can more likely be detected and addressed.  Flaws in
closed-source, proprietary programs can often remain undiscovered or
ignored (unintentionally or intentionally) for a long time.  If you can
view only the output and not the code, you are making a huge leap of
faith, trusting the skills and the ethics of the software company.
Sometimes this trust is warranted, sometimes it is not.  You just never
know for sure.<<

Oh, don't get me wrong, I like openness, but I can understand how a
regulator might think something like: "Hmmm, I trust SAS because it's
been put through the paces and because SAS, Inc., has its good name on
the line. I know what SAS code means (or people under me do), and so
long as a standard analysis is being done, that's what I want to see."
In other words, proprietary software has someone you can talk to, blame,
etc. :) 

What I was referring to in the case of Stata is the fact that there are
A LOT of user-contributed programs. (This applies to R even more.) I
would want to see that these are really working before signing off on
them. If someone was using popular add-ins like gllamm or spost, which
have well-known authors standing behind them, that changes, but I'd
still want to see test cases. 

BTW, I'm not sure what other peoples' experiences with SAS tech support
has been, but I've contacted them several times and always had pretty
good results. <shrug> Stata's rapid and easy update, on the other hand,
is unbeatable. 


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