User Stories

Some love it - others hate it. Some work with it every day and some cannot even remember which version they used. What is YOUR story about SPSS?

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ViAnn Beadle ViAnn Beadle wrote on 27. April 2018 at 21:11:
This is the origin story of SPSS/PC. I was getting a lot of calls from users about when SPSS was going to be available on the PC. After the IBM pc/xt was introduced along with the "winchester" harddrive, I thought we had a chance to adapt SPSSG, a 100K stripped down version of the mainframe version of SPSS that Tex had developed. I talked to Bill Arendt about how it worked, using a common stored in memory, data stored on a drive, and different procedures that were swapped in and out of memory to execute commands. Bill took a look at the SPSSG architecture and thought that it would work. The interface was SPSS syntax commands and the output ASCII. We were targeting this to mainframe users who wanted to run SPSS on their PC. Bill recruited Dennis Bartley to work on the architecture for the product and Jean Jenkins to work on porting the procedures. It was a hard sell to Marketing that initially estimated we could probably sell less than 1000 copies of the product. We figured that we could probably get it up and running within six months but would take about a year to completely finish it. Fortunately, a FORTRAN compiler was available for the PC but was a bit buggy and managed to stymie us every now and then. Louise Rehling wanted it done by Christmas so we called it the XMAS project. We had two PCs to test it on and they were named Merry and Christmas. We finally got it done by June of the next year and overshot our 256K memory target and required a floating point accelerator chip. Most XT's only had 256K so we had to convince our beta testers to upgrade their XT's for memory and floating point chip. I remember trying to get the memory chips onto expansion cards as we got more machines. A definite PITA. I think we beat the original Marketing estimate in the first two months it was sold.