Getting SPSS 17 to work with Softgrid/App-V
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we use Softgrid (or Microsoft Application Virtualization as it’s called these days) at the university. Every now and then, I run into problems sequencing an application. My latest encounter with a troublesome application was SPSS Statistics 17.
The problem I encountered was that the installer would hang at the very end of the installation process. In some cases, the box would even blue screen at this stage. I scratched my head on this problem for some time, but today, I finally figured out how to solve it.
I had a look at the Windows Task Manager when the installation had hung and discovered that there were a couple of processes called spsslinit.exe that appeared to be doing nothing. So I fired up the installer once more with MSI logging enabled and when it had hung, I looked at the end of the log. There, I found mention of a script function called PostInstallCommands. From the log, I could tell that the script function started up 7 spsslinit.exe processes (with various different parameters). I don’t know for sure what the spsslinit.exe processes do, but I believe they are somehow related to SPSS licensing when running in standalone mode. We use a network license, so we don’t need the standalone stuff.
The next step was to somehow prevent the SPSS installer from running the PostInstallCommands script. So I fired up Orca (Microsoft’s MSI editor) and looked in the InstallExecuteSequence table sorted by sequence number. Sure enough, at the end of the sequence, there was PostInstallCommands. I then created a new transform and dropped the PostInstallCommands row together with another row called SPSSlinit. I’m not sure the latter is needed, but I thought it can’t hurt.
With my brand new MST file, I started the sequencer and fired up the installer with the following command line:
msiexec /i “SPSS Statistics 17.0.msi” TRANSFORMS=1033.mst;SPSS17_Softgrid_Fix.mst
It worked beautifully! After the install, I upgraded to 17.0.1 and even that went without a hitch. I’ve done some testing and the app is running just fine with our network license. If you’re trying to do this with a standalone or site license, I’m not sure this is the way to go, but then again, I don’t think SPSS can be sequenced using anything other than a network license.
I’ve uploaded the MST file if anyone needs it.