Thursday, July 21, 2011


When IBM acquired SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) in 2009, they changed the program's name to PASW (Predictive Analytics SoftWare), but with the next version it became SPSS again. Today I read about PSPP and thought "Oh goodness, did they change the name again?" Turns out that PSPP is an open source verion of SPSS and it allows you to work in a very similar way to SPSS. This is what their website says:

PSPP is a program for statistical analysis of sampled data. It is particularly suited to the analysis and manipulation of very large data sets. In addition to statistical hypothesis tests such as t-tests, analysis of variance and non-parametric tests, PSPP can also perform linear regression and is a very powerful tool for recoding and sorting of data and for calculating metrics such as skewness and kurtosis.PSPP is designed as a Free replacement for SPSS. That is to say, it behaves as experienced SPSS users would expect, and their system files and syntax files can be used in PSPP with little or no modification, and will produce similar results.

PSPP supports numeric variables and string variables up to 32767 bytes long. Variable names may be up to 255 bytes in length. There are no artificial limits on the number of variables or cases. In a few instances, the default behaviour of PSPP differs where the developers believe enhancements are desirable or it makes sense to do so, but this can be overridden by the user if desired.

I will give it a test drive an let you know what I think! 

PS. to all the "pointy-heads": In the right margin of my blog you will find a link to a repository of SPSS sample syntax!


Oliver Davies said...

Curious to know if you had a look at PSPP and, if so, how you felt it compares to SPSS as I didn't find a follow up post...

stephanie said...

Yes - please post regarding your findings. I'm looking for a good SPSS alternative. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

PSPP is a lot like a slightly older version of SPSS. Some of the more advanced features are missing but if you're looking to do descriptives and statistical tests for free without learning new software it is perfect. This site has more info: