GNU PSPP- The Open Source SPSS

If you are SPSS user (for statistics/ not data mining) you can also try 0ut GNU PSPP- which is the open source equivalent and quite eerily impressive in performance. It is available at or and you can also read more at

PSPP is a program for statistical analysis of sampled data. It is a Free replacement for the proprietary program SPSS, and appears very similar to it with a few exceptions.

[ Image of Variable Sheet ]The most important of these exceptions are, that there are no “time bombs”; your copy of PSPP will not “expire” or deliberately stop working in the future. Neither are there any artificial limits on the number of cases or variables which you can use. There are no additional packages to purchase in order to get “advanced” functions; all functionality that PSPP currently supports is in the core package.

PSPP can perform descriptive statistics, T-tests, linear regression and non-parametric tests. Its backend is designed to perform its analyses as fast as possible, regardless of the size of the input data. You can use PSPP with its graphical interface or the more traditional syntax commands.

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 GnumericOpenOffice.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.



This software provides a basic set of capabilities: frequencies, cross-tabs comparison of means (T-tests and one-way ANOVA); linear regression, reliability (Cronbach’s Alpha, not failure or Weibull), and re-ordering data, non-parametric tests, factor analysis and more.

At the user’s choice, statistical output and graphics are done in asciipdfpostscript or html formats. A limited range of statistical graphs can be produced, such as histogramspie-charts and np-charts.

PSPP can import GnumericOpenDocument and Excel spreadsheetsPostgres databasescomma-separated values– and ASCII-files. It can export files in the SPSS ‘portable’ and ‘system’ file formats and to ASCII files. Some of the libraries used by PSPP can be accessed programmatically; PSPP-Perl provides an interface to the libraries used by PSPP.


The PSPP project (originally called “Fiasco”) is a free, open-source alternative to the proprietary statistics package SPSS. SPSS is closed-source and includes a restrictive licence anddigital rights management. The author of PSPP considered this ethically unacceptable, and decided to write a program which might with time become functionally identical to SPSS, except that there would be no licence expiry, and everyone would be permitted to copy, modify and share the program.

Release history

  • 0.7.5 June 2010
  • 0.6.2 October 2009
  • 0.6.1 October 2008
  • 0.6.0 June 2008
  • August 2007
  • 0.4.0 August 2005
  • 0.3.0 April 2004
  • 0.2.4 January 2000
  • 0.1.0 August 1998

Third Party Reviews

In the book “SPSS For Dummies“, the author discusses PSPP under the heading of “Ten Useful Things You Can Find on the Internet” [1]. In 2006, the South African Statistical Association presented a conference which included an analysis of how PSPP can be used as a free replacement to SPSS [2].


Please send FSF & GNU inquiries to There are also other ways to contact the FSF. Please send broken links and other corrections (or suggestions) to

Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin St – Suite 330, Boston, MA 02110, USA – Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article are permitted worldwide, without royalty, in any medium, provided this notice, and the copyright notice, are preserved.

Q&A with David Smith, Revolution Analytics.

Here’s a group of questions and answers that David Smith of Revolution Analytics was kind enough to answer post the launch of the new R Package which integrates Hadoop and R-                         RevoScaleR

Ajay- How does RevoScaleR work from a technical viewpoint in terms of Hadoop integration?

David-The point isn’t that there’s a deep technical integration between Revolution R and Hadoop, rather that we see them as complementary (not competing) technologies. Hadoop is amazing at reliably (if slowly) processing huge volumes of distributed data; the RevoScaleR package complements Hadoop by providing statistical algorithms to analyze the data processed by Hadoop. The analogy I use is to compare a freight train with a race car: use Hadoop to slog through a distributed data set and use Map/Reduce to output an aggregated, rectangular data file; then use RevoScaleR to perform statistical analysis on the processed data (and use the speed of RevolScaleR to iterate through many model options to find the best one).

Ajay- How is it different from MapReduce and R Hipe– existing R Hadoop packages?
David- They’re complementary. In fact, we’ll be publishing a white paper soon by Saptarshi Guha, author of the Rhipe R/Hadoop integration, showing how he uses Hadoop to process vast volumes of packet-level VOIP data to identify call time/duration from the packets, and then do a regression on the table of calls using RevoScaleR. There’s a little more detail in this blog post:
Ajay- Is it going to be proprietary, free or licensable (open source)?
David- RevoScaleR is a proprietary package, available to paid subscribers (or free to academics) with Revolution R Enterprise. (If you haven’t seen it, you might be interested in this Q&A I did with Matt Shotwell: )
Ajay- Any existing client case studies for Terabyte level analysis using R.
David- The VOIP example above gets close, but most of the case studies we’ve seen in beta testing have been in the 10’s to 100’s of Gb range. We’ve tested RevoScaleR on larger data sets internally, but we’re eager to hear about real-life use cases in the terabyte range.
Ajay- How can I use RevoScaleR on my dual chip Win Intel laptop for say 5 gb of data.
David- One of the great things about RevoScaleR is that it’s designed to work on commodity hardware like a dual-core laptop. You won’t be constrained by the limited RAM available, and the parallel processing algorithms will make use of all cores available to speed up the analysis even further. There’s an example in this white paper ( of doing linear regression on 13Gb of data on a simple dual-core laptop in less than 5 seconds.
AJ-Thanks to David Smith, for this fast response and wishing him, Saptarshi Guha Dr Norman Nie and the rest of guys at Revolution Analytics a congratulations for this new product launch.

Big Data and R: New Product Release by Revolution Analytics

Press Release by the Guys in Revolution Analytics- this time claiming to enable terabyte level analytics with R. Interesting stuff but techie details are awaited.

Revolution Analytics Brings

Big Data Analysis to R

The world’s most powerful statistics language can now tackle terabyte-class data sets using

Revolution R Enterpriseat a fraction of the cost of legacy analytics products

JSM 2010 – VANCOUVER (August 3, 2010) — Revolution Analytics today introduced ‘Big Data’ analysis to its Revolution R Enterprise software, taking the popular R statistics language to unprecedented new levels of capacity and performance for analyzing very large data sets. For the first time, R users will be able to process, visualize and model terabyte-class data sets in a fraction of the time of legacy products—without employing expensive or specialized hardware.

The new version of Revolution R Enterprise introduces an add-on package called RevoScaleR that provides a new framework for fast and efficient multi-core processing of large data sets. It includes:

  • The XDF file format, a new binary ‘Big Data’ file format with an interface to the R language that provides high-speed access to arbitrary rows, blocks and columns of data.
  • A collection of widely-used statistical algorithms optimized for Big Data, including high-performance implementations of Summary Statistics, Linear Regression, Binomial Logistic Regressionand Crosstabs—with more to be added in the near future.
  • Data Reading & Transformation tools that allow users to interactively explore and prepare large data sets for analysis.
  • Extensibility, expert R users can develop and extend their own statistical algorithms to take advantage of Revolution R Enterprise’s new speed and scalability capabilities.

“The R language’s inherent power and extensibility has driven its explosive adoption as the modern system for predictive analytics,” said Norman H. Nie, president and CEO of Revolution Analytics. “We believe that this new Big Data scalability will help R transition from an amazing research and prototyping tool to a production-ready platform for enterprise applications such as quantitative finance and risk management, social media, bioinformatics and telecommunications data analysis.”

Sage Bionetworks is the nonprofit force behind the open-source collaborative effort, Sage Commons, a place where data and disease models can be shared by scientists to better understand disease biology. David Henderson, Director of Scientific Computing at Sage, commented: “At Sage Bionetworks, we need to analyze genomic databases hundreds of gigabytes in size with R. We’re looking forward to using the high-speed data-analysis features of RevoScaleR to dramatically reduce the times it takes us to process these data sets.”

Take Hadoop and Other Big Data Sources to the Next Level

Revolution R Enterprise fits well within the modern ‘Big Data’ architecture by leveraging popular sources such as Hadoop, NoSQL or key value databases, relational databases and data warehouses. These products can be used to store, regularize and do basic manipulation on very large datasets—while Revolution R Enterprise now provides advanced analytics at unparalleled speed and scale: producing speed on speed.

“Together, Hadoop and R can store and analyze massive, complex data,” said Saptarshi Guha, developer of the popular RHIPE R package that integrates the Hadoop framework with R in an automatically distributed computing environment. “Employing the new capabilities of Revolution R Enterprise, we will be able to go even further and compute Big Data regressions and more.”

Platforms and Availability

The new RevoScaleR package will be delivered as part of Revolution R Enterprise 4.0, which will be available for 32-and 64-bit Microsoft Windows in the next 30 days. Support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL 5) is planned for later this year.

On its website (, Revolution Analytics has published performance and scalability benchmarks for Revolution R Enterprise analyzing a 13.2 gigabyte data set of commercial airline information containing more than 123 million rows, and 29 columns.

Additionally, the company will showcase its new Big Data solution in a free webinar on August 25 at 9:00 a.m. Pacific.

Additional Resources

•      Big Data Benchmark whitepaper

•      The Revolution Analytics Roadmap whitepaper

•      Revolutions Blog

•      Download free academic copy of Revolution R Enterprise

•      Visit for the most comprehensive set of information on R

•      Spread the word: Add a “Download R!” badge on your website

•      Follow @RevolutionR on Twitter

About Revolution Analytics

Revolution Analytics ( is the leading commercial provider of software and support for the popular open source R statistics language. Its Revolution R products help make predictive analytics accessible to every type of user and budget. The company is headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif. and backed by North Bridge Venture Partners and Intel Capital.

Media Contact

Chantal Yang
Page One PR, for Revolution Analytics
Tel: +1 415-875-7494


R Oracle Data Mining

Here is a new package called R ODM and it is an interface to do Data Mining via Oracle Tables through R. You can read more here and here . Also there is a contest for creative use of R and ODM.

R Interface to Oracle Data Mining

The R Interface to Oracle Data Mining ( R-ODM) allows R users to access the power of Oracle Data Mining’s in-database functions using the familiar R syntax. R-ODM provides a powerful environment for prototyping data analysis and data mining methodologies.

R-ODM is especially useful for:

  • Quick prototyping of vertical or domain-based applications where the Oracle Database supports the application
  • Scripting of “production” data mining methodologies
  • Customizing graphics of ODM data mining results (examples: classificationregressionanomaly detection)

The R-ODM interface allows R users to mine data using Oracle Data Mining from the R programming environment. It consists of a set of function wrappers written in source R language that pass data and parameters from the R environment to the Oracle RDBMS enterprise edition as standard user PL/SQL queries via an ODBC interface. The R-ODM interface code is a thin layer of logic and SQL that calls through an ODBC interface. R-ODM does not use or expose any Oracle product code as it is completely an external interface and not part of any Oracle product. R-ODM is similar to the example scripts (e.g., the PL/SQL demo code) that illustrates the use of Oracle Data Mining, for example, how to create Data Mining models, pass arguments, retrieve results etc.

R-ODM is packaged as a standard R source package and is distributed freely as part of the R environment’s Comprehensive R Archive Network ( CRAN). For information about the R environment, R packages and CRAN, see


Present and win an Apple iPod Touch!
The BI, Warehousing and Analytics (BIWA) SIG is giving an Apple iPOD Touch to the best new presenter. Be part of the TechCast series and get a chance to win!

Consider highlighting a creative use of R and ODM.

BIWA invites all Oracle professionals (experts, end users, managers, DBAs, developers, data analysts, ISVs, partners, etc.) to submit abstracts for 45 minute technical webcasts to our Oracle BIWA (IOUG SIG) Community in our Wednesday TechCast series. Note that the contest is limited to new presenters to encourage fresh participation by the BIWA community.

Also an interview with Oracle Data Mining head, Charlie Berger

Business Analytics Analyst Relations /Ethics/White Papers

Curt Monash, whom I respect and have tried to interview (unsuccessfully) points out suitable ethical dilemmas and gray areas in Analyst Relations in Business Intelligence here at

If you dont know what Analyst Relations are, well it’s like credit rating agencies for BI software. Read Curt and his landscaping of the field here ( I am quoting a summary) at

Vendors typically pay for

  1. They want to connect with sales prospects.
  2. They want general endorsement from the analyst.
  3. They specifically want endorsement from the analyst for their marketing claims.
  4. They want the analyst to do a better job of explaining something than they think they could do themselves.
  5. They want to give the analyst some money to enhance the relationship,

Merv Adrian (I interviewed Merv here at has responded well here at

None of the sites I checked clearly identify the work as having been sponsored in any way I found obvious in my (admittefly) quick scan. So this is an issue, but it’s not confined to Oracle.

My 2 cents (not being so well paid 😉 are-

I think Curt was calling out Oracle (which didnt respond) and not Merv ( whose subsequent blog post does much to clarify).

As a comparative new /younger blogger in this field,
I applaud both Curt to try and bell the cat ( or point out what everyone in AR winks at) and for Merv for standing by him.

In the long run, it would strengthen analyst relations as a channel if they separate financial payment of content from bias. An example is credit rating agencies who forgot to do so in BFSI and see what happened.

Customers invest millions of dollars in BI systems trusting marketing collateral/white papers/webinars/tests etc. Perhaps it’s time for an industry association for analysts so that individual analysts don’t knuckle down under vendor pressure.

It is easier for someone of Curt, Merv’s stature to declare editing policy and disclosures before they write a white paper.It is much harder for everyone else who is not so well established.

White papers can take as much as 25,000$ to produce- and I know people who in Business Analytics (as opposed to Business Intelligence) slog on cents per hour cranking books on R, SAS , webinars, trainings but there are almost no white papers in BA. Are there any analytics independent analysts who are not biased by R or SAS or SPSS or etc etc. I am not sure but this looks like a good line to  pursue 😉 – provided ethical checks and balances are established.

Personally I know of many so called analytics communities go all out to please their sponsors so bias in writing does exist (you cant praise SAS on a R Blogging Forum or R USers Meet and you cant write on WPS at SAS )

– at the same time someone once told me- It is tough to make a living as a writer, and that choice between easy money and credible writing needs to be respected.

Most sponsored white papers I read are pure advertisements, directed at CEOs rather than the techie community at large.

Almost every BI vendor claims to have the fastest database with 5X speed- and benchmarking in technical terms could be something they could do too.

Just like Gadget sites benchmark products, you can not benchmark BI or even BA products as it is written not to do so  in many licensing terms.

Probably that is the reason Billions are spent in BI and the positive claims are doubtful ( except by the sellers). Similarly in Analytics, many vendors would have difficulty justifying their claims or prices if they are subjected to a side by side comparison. Unfortunately the resulting confusion results in shoddy technology coming stronger due to more aggressive marketing.