Silent Install of IBM SPSS Statistics 19 for Mac

by on January 13, 2011 » Add more comments.

A Little Background

While there is documentation for doing a silent install of SPSS Statistics, the instructions for version 19 leave out some critical details. This post aims to clear up what needs to be done for a silent install of IBM’s SPSS Statistics 19. These instructions are for the site or volume license version where a network license server is not being used (if you are using a network license server, you can simply repackage /Applications/IBM and /Library/Application Support/IBM). Each installed copy of SPSS has to be activated online, which means re-packaging is not an option.

Versions 17 and 18 did not install silently as documented and according to their KB article 83035, the only resolution was to wait for version 19 because of a problem with “InstallAnywhere”. Because of this, I never found a way to deploy versions 17 or 18.

The Instructions

The SPSS doc you want to refer to is the “Site License Administrators Guide” which is on the DVD. The instructions indicate you can find the silent installer at /MacOS/Administration/SPSS Statistics_Installer_Silent.bin, however you will find that this file is missing. I reported it to IBM/SPSS and they responded that they apparently didn’t have room on the disc (and didn’t bother telling anyone). So they posted the installer on their support site. You will need to register for an account at (I don’t remember if there were any requirements, I registered a while ago) and search their knowledge base for resolution number 91524 or go to this link.

Download the file SPSS Statistics_Installer_Silent.bin. This file contains the entire installer so you will not need the GUI installer that is on the disc. The only other file you will need from the disc is the file. This is the file that contains all the properties used for the install (duh). You will need to make some changes to this file before it will work properly. This file is well commented, but it seems they didn’t update this file for version 19. It seems to have many of the defaults from previous versions (such as default application path doesn’t reflect the change to IBM).

You will want to specify the following settings in the

#For site license
COMPANYNAME="Emory University"

This is just a small snippet of the file, I only posted the parts I needed to change. Obviously, you will want to specify your company/school name as well as your license code.

The command to deploy is simply:

SPSS_Statistics_Installer_Silent.bin -f

A couple things to note. Your deployment tool may interpret a successful install as an error because it doesn’t report back an “exit 0”. So you may have to run the command from a script, I use:

scriptDir=$(dirname "$0")
"${scriptDir}/SPSS_Statistics_Installer_Silent.bin" -f "${scriptDir}/"
exit 0

Another issue is that because the license activation is machine specific, you will not be able to use this installer with InstaDMG or include it with a monolithic image. If you deploy with DeployStudio, you will need to make it a first boot install and ensure the network is available when it is installed. We use Absolute Manage to deploy as needed.

Find more like this: Absolute Manage, Mac, Scripting, Software, Software Packaging , , ,

15 Responses to Silent Install of IBM SPSS Statistics 19 for Mac

  • Per Olofsson says:

    Thank you for clearing that up. We’ve also been in contact with SPSS support and gotten the rather unhelpful “wait for SPSS 19” reply. Fortunately we had license servers we could fall back to, for those machines that don’t leave our campus, but for SPSS 18 that didn’t work until we applied the following fix:

    “Environment variables for PASW Statistics are stored in the script file. This file is called by other script files, including the one that launches the application. You can find the following location:

    – Macintosh /.app/Contents/MacOS
    – Open the script file in a text editor.
    – Add this line:
    export LSHOST=’license:servers:separated:by:colons’
    – Save and close the script file.”

  • Patrick says:

    Thanks for the tip Per. I hope to get a license server setup soon for SPSS as well as some other software we use that can take advantage of it.

  • Jeff Nichols says:

    Hey Patrick, I am trying to use Composer to package this together. I can successfully place the 2 files on the top of the disk, with the right permission. I can clean up these files (rm) when done. But I haven’t figured out how to get the script to run postinstall. I tried several different variations figuring I have the syntax wrong somewhere, but have been unsuccessful. Any ideas on which direction to go? Thanks for any help!

  • Patrick says:

    I have yet to put good use to Composer. It’s overkill to copy the files to the disk and then run the install. Try using Iceberg or Packages, add the 2 files as resources and use the script above as the postflight. This way it will simply install without having to copy the big installer to a temp place on the disk first.

  • Gavin says:

    Many thanks for this, Patrick. I do, however, find that, despite being called a silent install, SPSS 19 yet again does not install completely silently when using the file to license it. If the target Mac is logged in, then the user can see a Java icon pop up for about 30 seconds called ‘com.zerog.lax.LAX’ (which puts the items in place and licenses the software) and then closes. In those 30 seconds, however, the user is able to stop that Java script and thereby break the licensing.

    If the Mac is logged out, at that stage of the install the menu appears with the same title, running as root, and any user at the machine has the opportunity to click into the Apple menu and choose various options to disrupt the “silent” install.

    Any tips on avoiding this or suppressing the ‘com.zerog.lax.LAX’ to stop it displaying?

  • Patrick says:


    Yea, I guess it’s not truly silent. In my case, I’m making it available via the Absolute Manage OnDemand installer to my users so it’s not a big surprise for them to see an icon appear in the dock.

    I have not looked at any way to silence that behavior. Sorry.

  • Valdez says:

    Thanks for posting this, I am trying to get things working, and I was doing some testing. I downloaded the SPSS_Statistics_Installer_Silent.bin file from SPSS. I have tried every way I know to execute the file but I cannot get anywhere. I have tired from terminal as room “SPSS_Statistics_Installer_Silent.bin -f”, with the code you provided as both .cmd and .sh. Every time I try it either says “Permission Denied” or “Command not Found” I feel like it shouldn’t be this troublesome.

    Any Advice?

  • Patrick says:


    When you run the command, you need the path to SPSS_Statistics_Install.bin, even if it’s just ./SPSS_Statistics_Install.bin to specify current working directory. You also need to precede it with sudo.

    So either:
    sudo /path/to/SPSS_Statistics_Installer_Silent.bin -f

    or if you use the script method:

    sudo ./

  • Valdez says:

    Still pulling my hair out on this one. I re-downloaded the .bin from SPSS, and re-created my

    I still get “command not found” See the linked screenshots.

    Any advice? Problem is on any computer I try.

  • Patrick says:

    Try making the .bin file executable: chmod +x /path/to/SPSS_Statistics_Installer_Silent.bin

  • Valdez says:

    I <3 you. Thanks for the help, that did it.

  • andrew rae says:

    Has anyone got a link to the mac silent install bin file? now it’s all on the IBM site i can’t find anything ….


  • marcia howell says:

    I’m having the same problem with SPSS 20. I try to open the file and my computer wants to know what app to open it with. I’m missing the old simple days of spss. Does anyone know what app I’m supposed to use to open it?

  • Patrick says:


    The properties file is just a text file. Open it in TextEdit.

  • John Staplehurst says:

    Got a successful silent install of SPSS 20, but notice that SPSS (Fix Pack 1 in the new IBM terminology) is now available – but only as an .app. I guess it’s another Instal Anywhere packaged updater. Anyone managed to instal that silently? Or suggest another mass deployment strategy (I have ARD and Munki available).

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