Statistical Packages

The following general-purpose statistical packages are available:

  • R
  • S-Plus
  • SAS


R is a comprehensive (and free!) statistical environment, with graphical facilities, and a programming language. There’s enough to say about it that it’s all on a separate R page.


S-Plus is the language on which R was based, with graphical facilities, and a programming language. Information about S-Plus is on a separate S-Plus page.


SAS is a comprehensive statistical package, with many built in facilities. One can also write programs in SAS. There are many books on SAS in the U of T library. There are also some manuals available here.

SAS is started with the sas command. On an X-terminal, this will create several windows, holding commands, output, etc. On-line help is available through the menus.

Alternatively, you use a text editor to create a file of SAS commands with a name ending in .sas, and then tell SAS to run these commands non-interactively. For example,


will run the commands in, producing output in other files with names starting with myproj, such as myproj.log.

There’s no doubt a lot more to be said about SAS, but since I don’t use it, I’m not the one to write it.

You can get to up-to-date information at SAS Institute web site


xlispstat is now available only on the old utstat computer.
XLISP-STAT is a statistical package based on the Lisp programming language (in this implementation, the XLISP dialect). It provides general statistical facilities, as well as support for interactive graphics.

For a description of the system, see the following book:

Tierney, L. (1990) Lisp-Stat: An Object-Oriented Environment For Statistical Computing and Dynamic Graphics, New York: Wiley. ISBN 0-471-50916-7

XLISP-STAT is run with the xlispstat command. To quit, type “(exit)”.
Up-to-date information can be obtained via Luke Tierney’s Lisp-Stat page.

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