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Evaluating PSPP

From: Andy Choens
Subject: Evaluating PSPP
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2008 15:02:27 -0400
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20080724)

I just compiled PSPP/PSPPIRE 0.6.0 and I have to say that I am very very impressed with what I see so far. Tools like this are so important for helping companies such as the one I work for transition to open-source technologies. Many of our statisticians are comfortable using SPSS, and transitioning them to a tool like R-CRAN would be more difficult than transitioning them to a tool like PSPP.

I have a couple of questions for people who are knowledgeable about the development of this software. Since I do both IT and data analysis for the company, I am pretty well positioned to promote the use of OSS. I am currently writing a report to the owners that evaluates OSS software that exists today, and whether or not I think it could be useful to the company. I am looking for some more information about PSPP and the goals of the program.

1) The company I work for is (mostly) using SPSS version 11. Is there a roadmap that outlines the feature parity goals for upcoming versions of PSPP? I have found the list of features/commands that are not yet implemented, but I'm looking for information to help me know "when" PSPP might be able to meet all of our needs as a company.

2) The authors of SPSS have identified programmability as an important feature for SPSS. I noticed that they are now shipping versions of SPSS with python as a scripting language (!!!) and the ability to interface with R. As I understand it, R-CRAN is not going to become part of SPSS, but if you have both R installed, that SPSS will be able to use R's remote functionality and use R-CRAN modules in SPSS routines. I'm curious to know if PSPP is planning on doing this as well.

Thanks in advance for your help. I hope I will be able to write back in a couple of months and announce that we are now using PSPP at the company rather than SPSS.


Andrew Choens, MSW
Research Policy Analyst
Hornby Zeller Associates, Inc.
(518) 273 - 1614

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