One of the great things about SPSS, especially in the early days were the very good written SPSS manuals of Marija Norusis. I have used these manuals very often to explain statistical methods to colleagues or clients.
I still use SPSS a lot, but nowadays I also use R for analytic work. I think SPSS took the right decision to enable the use of R within SPSS. 50 years is an impressive age for a software package like SPSS, but I’m not sure whether SPSS will survive another 50 years.
I started using SPSS in 1979, while studying cognitive psychology at the Leiden University. In these days I had to program SPSS-syntax on punched cards. The worst thing was not this card-interface, but it was the IBM job control language you had to include: total gibberish language that was needed to make your SPSS-job run on a mainframe somewhere in one of the university buildings. This way of working had two advantages. Because each run took quite some turnaround time (typing in the SPSS-commands on the punched cards, offering the job to the job-scheduler, running to a printer for the output), you had every interest in preparing your work very precisely because you did not like to go to the printer just to see that your job ended with an error message. The other advantage (over working with the menu –interface) is that you became quite proficient in writing SPSS-syntaxes, a skill that I still use in my current job.