## What is Free Statistical Software?

Free statistical software is defined here as being software that is capable of data manipulation, statistical analysis, and reporting and that is available at no cost to the user. Note that the more complicated definition used by the GNU Projectof having access to the source code is not considered.

## How Much Does Free Statistical Software Cost?

This answer may be obvious, but free statistical software has no cost! There are a number of very capable free statistical software packages that are comparable to the high-priced commercial statistical software packages. And free doesn’t mean there are trial periods or arbitrary limits on the free software’s capabilities. Free statistical software packages are fully functional and ready to meet almost any data analysis need.

## What Data Can Free Statistical Software Handle?

Free statistical software has improved greatly in recent years. Most free statistical software packages are capable of handling any data that the commercial statistical packages can work with. Free statistical software can generally handle a variety of file types and file sizes, including very large files. For example, PSPPcan handle up to one billion cases and one billion variables.

## Can Free Statistical Software Manipulate Data?

Free statistical software can manipulate data in all the same ways that commercial statistical software can. Free statistical software can create new datasets, read in data, merge datasets, and combine datasets. Free statistical software can create new variables, rename variables, and recode variables. Free statistical software can drop variables, subset data, sort data, and format data.

## Does Free Statistical Software Compare to Commercial Statistical Software?

Free statistical software is comparable to commercial statistical software. In some ways free statistical software is better than commercial statistical software. In other ways commercial software is better. Comparisons depend more on which packages are being compared and what features the user values most than on whether the software is free or commercial.