Statistical Consultants Ltd


PSPP: A free alternative to SPSS

Software Review

PSPP logo

PSPP is a free alternative to the propriety statistics program SPSS.
SPSS tends to be used by market researchers and people doing quantitative research in psychology and sociology, rather than statisticians.  SPSS has a data view tab (spreadsheet), a variable view tab (to create variables and define their characteristics) and has an easy to use point-and-click interface.  Although primarily a point-and-click software, SPSS also has a command syntax language.
PSPP is very similar to SPSS.  It has the data and variable view tabs, and has a layout that is almost identical to SPSS.  Its option and output windows also look very similar to SPSS’s.
PSPP Data View 
PSPP Variable View

PSPP function options

PSPP output window

From the PSPP website:
A brief list of some of the features of PSPP follows:
  • Supports over 1 billion cases.
  • Supports over 1 billion variables.
  • Syntax and data files are compatible with SPSS.
  • Choice of terminal or graphical user interface.
  • Choice of text, postscript or html output formats.
  • Inter-operates with Gnumeric, OpenOffice.Org and other free software.
  • Easy data import from spreadsheets, text files and database sources.
  • Fast statistical procedures, even on very large data sets.
  • No license fees.
  • No expiration period.
  • No unethical “end user license agreements”.
  • Fully indexed user manual.
  • Free Software; licensed under GPLv3 or later.
  • Cross platform; Runs on many different computers and many different operating systems.
PSPP is particularly aimed at statisticians, social scientists and students requiring fast convenient analysis of sampled data.
PSPP has far fewer statistical analysis capabilities than SPSS.  It currently has the following statistical analysis capabilities (available from drop-down menus):
  • Descriptive statistics, cross tabs and other data exploration features
  • t-tests (one sample, independent samples and paired samples)
  • One way ANOVA
  • Chi-square and binomial tests
  • Bivariate correlations
  • Linear regression
  • Factor analysis
  • Reliability analysis
  • ROC curves
Like with SPSS, PSPP has a compute variable window for applying mathematical functions to create new variables.
Unfortunately PSPP can’t do much more than that (yet). 
Although PSPP would be an adequate alternative to SPSS for some users, it wouldn’t be an adequate alternative for all SPSS users.

PSPP website:

See also:

Gretl: A free alternative to EViews
TANAGRA: A free data-mining program


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