PSPP–the free, open source version of SPSS

by Karen


I just heard recently about PSPP, which is a free, open source version of SPSS.

I have not tried it yet, but it does look promising. This is the description from its website:

It is a Free replacement for the proprietary program SPSS, and appears very similar to it with a few exceptions.

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.

Sounds pretty good, huh?

The only downside I can see, though, is with the statement “no additional packages to purchase in order to get ‘advanced’ functions.”  That appears to be because there aren’t any advanced functions.  PSPP seems to correspond only to SPSS base.  No Advanced Models, no Missing Values Analysis, no Complex Surveys.  That means you can do one-way anova and regression, but not GLM, logisitic regression, factor analysis.

So if you are only using SPSS for basic statistics, or for teaching an intro class, this may be just what you need.  And perhaps if it takes off, as R has, we’ll see more advanced features soon.

If you’ve had any experience using PSPP, please tell me about it in a comment.  I’d love to hear how well it works.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Annie December 11, 2009 at 10:07 am


I’m currently comparing these two software-packs. I think there might be a virus risk with downloading a free software from internet, don’t you?


Karen December 16, 2009 at 4:14 pm

Hi Annie,

I think you’re safe if you download them from a reputable source. Both the links I gave are reputable, to the best of my knowledge.



Mark February 17, 2010 at 9:59 am

I have been working with SPSS and PSPP, the results are basically the same. PSPP just still misses some functions. However currently pspp added factor analysis and reliability analysis. I prefer using pspp because it is free (open source!!) software and is much faster than spss.


Lynn September 12, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Does anyone know if PSPP results are reliable? I’m wondering what the previous poster meant by “the results are basically the same”. Also, does anyone know if people are starting to widely publish with PSPP?


Karen September 15, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Hi Lynn,

I don’t know–I’ve never tried it. Anyone else?



Melina February 22, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Olá, como faço para baixar esse programa? Mesmo dizendo que é gratuito para teste ele cobra. Grata.


Karen February 24, 2012 at 8:17 pm
Justin June 2, 2012 at 9:34 am

PSPP is a good alternative to SPSS if you want basic statistics like frequencies and t-tests and you want them for free. If you already know SPSS there is no learning curve. This website goes into more detail about PSPP:


S O October 24, 2013 at 4:35 pm

I was alarmed at your attempt to review a piece of software you admit to not having used. I mean no disrespect, nor am I defending the PSPP package, but your complaints completely ignore the purpose of the software (an SPSS clone with development driven by academic goals) and concentrate on terminology borrowed from a commercial product (which PSPP is not).

In short, if you know someone who is a capable programmer and would like to implement the features you see missing, ask if they are interested in contributing to PSPP. If you must use a feature not available, ask the developers how much work it would take, perhaps the cost of a single seat license of Complex Survey design would pay for the functionality to be developed and allow everyone access.


Karen October 25, 2013 at 9:10 am

Hi SO,

Fair enough. My intent was certainly not a review nor a complaint. I think it’s amazing that PSPP exists and I am hoping to get the word out and encourage more development. I certainly see why you responded as you did, though.

I like your idea, though, of hiring a programmer for the price of an add-od module. Know any?


Saad May 23, 2014 at 11:08 am

I have experience of working at SPSS and PSPP both. You may not believe that in my MS/M.Phil level thesis at my university i used PSPP & SPSS and found results to be approximately same.
According to me, PSPP is a great software and a service for humanity. Personally speaking, i simply love it for being FREE and equally reliable.


Eugênio June 25, 2014 at 5:12 pm

Yeah! It is very interesting having free software such as pspp… Yes, it is quite similar to SPSS and Yes, there is some function missing.
I think it is ok once the software is a GNU so it is colaborative product, than it is permanentely in construction.
I hope (basic) functions like missing value analysis could be brought as soon as possible. Unfortunately I have no expertise to help… I’m only a user…


George November 13, 2014 at 7:23 pm

I agree with the previous poster – I wouldn’t have taken long to have a quick look at the software.

This aside I found it at the time of writing to be very limited on functions for what I am after – I need to analyse neuroscientific data, primarily using either univariate analysis or repeated measures with between subjects factors – the software only provides a one way ANOVA so is pretty useless to me. Hopefully these features will be developed as at the moment this is no way a replacement to SPSS. It has T-tests, but you can do these excel.


Karol November 18, 2014 at 5:06 pm

can this be used on a Chromebook? I have an Acer 720.


Erik WInther Paisley January 16, 2015 at 10:22 am

This is an old post, but in case you’re interested, I do believe PSPP does have PCA / factor analysis. Otherwise, the free spreadsheet tool for Linux, gnumeric, has it built-in natively.

It’s worth noting, too, that PSPP doesn’t really like Windows. It’ll run, but some functions won’t work.


Tyler February 10, 2015 at 11:51 am

PSPP is now available from the cloud at


Lukas February 16, 2015 at 5:50 pm

I have tried the above cloud service for PSPP, great for working from MAC as it is independent of the system. Thumbs up and thanks for the tip!


Alex April 7, 2015 at 10:20 pm

I am using PSPP for my last year in Psychology, and am finding the lack of advanced options limiting. Because SPSS cannot run on my computer (Linux), I am forced to use PSPP. It would be very handy if PSPP could include a factorial ANOVA analysis and other more advanced statistical analyses.
However, for basis analyses, SPSS is fantastic!


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