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PSPP 0.6.0-pre1 now available on

From: Ben Pfaff
Subject: PSPP 0.6.0-pre1 now available on
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2008 23:30:06 -0700
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.1 (gnu/linux)

The first pre-release of GNU PSPP 0.6.0 is now available on  You can download it at:

This pre-release is being made mainly for the purpose of
compatibility and portability testing.  Please try building and
running it and report compatibility problems to
address@hidden or via the bug tracking system at:
With your help, this can be the most portable release of PSPP

This is the first major release of PSPP since version 0.4.0.
Notable changes since version 0.4.0 include:

  * The PSPP license is now version 3 or later of the GNU General
    Public License.  Previously, it was version 2 or later.

  * PSPP now has a graphical interface, called PSPPIRE.  This
    interface allows you to enter data and variable definitions
    interactively.  Commands may be executed in syntax form, or by
    using the interactive dialog boxes available from the dropdown

  * A few sample syntax files are now included in the `examples'

  * Numerous major and minor bugs have been fixed.

  Build changes:

    * The INSTALL file now reflects the details of how to install
      PSPP.  It is a tailored version of the generic installation
      instructions, instead of a verbatim copy.

    * iconv, which is ordinarily installed as part of a Unix-like
      system, is now required.  If you don't have it already, you can
      install GNU libiconv (

    * libxml2 and zlib are new optional dependencies.  They are
      required to use PSPP's support for reading Gnumeric files.

  Statistical procedure changes:

    * REGRESSION is a new procedure for fitting linear models to data
      via least-squares estimation.

    * NPAR TESTS is a new procedure for non-parametric tests.  In this
      release, it supports binomial and chi-square tests.

    * RANK is a new procedure to rank variables.  It supports numerous
      forms of ranking.

    * FREQUENCIES can now output histograms and pie charts.  These
      features were present in earlier releases, but not documented.

  User interface changes:

    * In many situations where PSPP once terminated with a fatal
      error, PSPP now recovers and continues execution.

    * PSPP is now able to start up and run even if it cannot find its
      configuration files.

    * Journaling of interactive commands to a disk file is now
      implemented.  By default, journaling is enabled, to a file named
      `pspp.jnl' in the current directory.  SET JOURNAL may be used to
      control journaling.

    * The use of `+' between syntax file names on the command line to
      prevent the dictionary from being cleared between their
      executions is no longer supported.  All syntax files are now
      executed as if `+' had been specified.

    * The -d/--define and -u/--undef command line options are no
      longer supported.  Instead, use /usr/bin/env or shell primitives
      to define or clear environment variables before invoking PSPP.

    * If a syntax file named named `rc' is found in a configuration
      directory (such as $HOME/.pspp), it is executed before any
      syntax file specified on the command line.  The -r or
      --no-statrc command line option may be used to disable this

  Output changes:

    * Output configuration options have changed.  Please refer to the
      manual for a full description of the available options.

      In consequence, you will need to reinstall your "devices" file.
      "make install" will do this for you.

    * Most error messages are now written to PSPP output files by
      default.  SET ERROR can be used to disable this behavior.

    * When invoked interactively, PSPP now by default produces output
      on the terminal, piping it through the "more" program.
      Previously, by default output was written only to file
      pspp.list.  On most terminals, the page length used for output
      automatically adapts to the terminal size, even if the terminal
      is resized.

    * ASCII driver:

      - This driver now supports charts in output.  Charts are written
        as separate files that the main output file refers to.  By
        default, charts are written in PNG format to files named
        pspp-1.png, pspp-2.png, and so on.

      - Configurations are provided that use VT100 (and xterm)
        line-drawing characters in tables.  The option "-o list-vt100"
        requests use of this device for output to pspp.list.

    * PostScript driver:

      - The default paper size is now determined using the PAPERSIZE
        environment variable, or the LC_PAPER locale category on
        systems that support it.  If these are not set, the default is
        now A4, instead of US letter.  To make US letter the default,
        set PAPERSIZE to "letter" in your environment.

      - Font metrics are now read from AFM files, instead of
        Groff-format metrics files.  PostScript fonts can now be
        embedded in output.

        In consequence, you will need to install an AFM file for each
        font used in PostScript output.  "make install" will install
        AFM files for the standard PostScript fonts, including the
        ones that the PostScript driver uses by default.

      - Standard paper sizes no longer need to be specified through a
        configuration file.  The "papersize" configuration file is no
        longer needed, or supported.

      - The PostScript prologue is no longer obtained from the
        "ps-prologue" configuration file.  This configuration file is
        no longer needed, or supported.

    * HTML driver:

      - The HTML prologue is no longer obtained from the
        "html-prologue" configuration file.  This configuration file
        is no longer needed, or supported.

  Command language changes:

    * The following commands are new:

      - GET DATA, which currently supports reading Gnumeric files and
        text data files.  It will be extended later to read other
        types of foreign data.

      - CD, to change the current directory.

      - INSERT, to execute a syntax file.

      - DELETE VARIABLES, to remove variables from the active file

      - ADD DOCUMENT, to add text to active file documents.

      - CLOSE FILE HANDLE (a PSPP extension; see below).

      - XEXPORT, a PSPP extension that is a transformation equivalent
        to EXPORT.

    * The following functions for transformation expressions are new:

      - DATEDIFF, for computing the difference of two dates.

      - DATESUM, for advancing a date by a specified duration.

      - VALUELABEL, to obtain the value label for a value.

    * PSPP now supports very long string variables (over 255 bytes

    * MATCH FILES now supports the FIRST and LAST subcommands.

    * Previous versions of PSPP prohibited using commands to both read and
      write a single file at the same time.  Now, PSPP allows this, and
      the new version of the file atomically replaces the old version.

    * The following commands are no longer available.  They will be
      re-implemented in a later release:




    * The PROCESS IF command, which was deprecated, has been removed.
      You may replace any usage of it by SELECT IF following
      TEMPORARY, which has the same effect.

    * The output format for variables created by VECTOR may now be
      specified as part of the VECTOR syntax.

  "Scratch files", a new PSPP extension:

    A scratch file, like a system file, consists of a dictionary and
    any number of cases.  Small scratch files are stored in memory;
    one that grows too large is written to disk.  By default, any file
    handle whose name begins with # is assumed to refer to a scratch

    Scratch files can be used just about anywhere a system or portable
    file can be used.  Also, portable files are now allowed in most
    places that system files were allowed in previous PSPP version.

    A new CLOSE FILE HANDLE command allows the storage associated with
    scratch files to be freed.  It also allows file handles to be
    reassigned to new files.

    For more information on scratch files, refer to the "File Handles"
    section in the PSPP manual.  For specifics of what commands now
    allow what kinds of files to be specified, refer to the
    documentation on those particular commands.

  Data access changes:

    * Binary formats and IBM/360 formats, including ASCII/EBCDIC
      translation, are now supported.  Use FILE HANDLE to specify the
      format of these files.

    * Little-endian, big-endian, and VAX-endian formats are now
      supported for integer binary formats when reading and writing
      data files.  The new RIB and WIB subcommands on the SET command
      control endianness of integer data.  The default is the host's
      native endianness.

    * IEEE 754, VAX, and IBM hexadecimal formats are now supported for
      floating point binary formats when reading and writing data
      files.  The new RRB and WRB subcommands on the SET command
      control the floating point format.  The default is the host's
      native floating point format.

    * DATA LIST now supports the SKIP subcommand, to skip records at
      the beginning of a file.  For compatibility, DATA LIST now
      treats N format as F format for FREE and LIST format input.

    * The SAVE and XSAVE commands now support the UNSELECTED,
      PERMISSIONS, NAMES, and MAP subcommands.

    * The EXPORT command has been re-implemented to obtain better
      results.  Support for the UNSELECTED, DIGITS, and TYPE
      subcommands has been added.

    * For compatibility, PRINT now inserts a space at the beginning of
      every output line, even lines that would otherwise be blank,
      when OUTFILE is specified.  (The behavior of WRITE is

    * For compatibility, PRINT EJECT now inserts the digit `1' at the
      beginning of each line that should begin a new page.

    * For compatibility, WRITE now outputs the system-missing value as
      a field filled with spaces.  Binary formats are an exception.
      (The behavior of PRINT is unchanged.)


    * Input and output format descriptions have been rewritten.  They
      now precisely describe what is accepted on input and written on

    * The descriptions of the PSPP system and portable file formats
      have been extensively revised and improved.

  For developers, the build system now requires Autoconf 2.60 and
  Automake 1.10.

Ben Pfaff

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