IBM SPSS (22), “Serialization scheme was not recognized”

June 6, 2014

I’m being called in as IT consultant by my wife, who uses SPSS.
Today, mysteriously, it started INTERMITTENTLY failing with messages
like “Serialization scheme was not recognized” and “Could not instantiate a required server object”.

My snap answer (knowing that it has Java in it, and knowing that “serialization” is a magic word) was to suspect some sort of a Java version mismatch — but I didn’t see any evidence of a recent update at all. I go looking online, and all the advice tends to revolve around Java, but none of it has been updated (I looked inside the application’s package contents, nothing looked new there, there was no other new Java on the box). One thing that looked a little peculiar was in ~/Library/Application Support/IBM/SPSS/Statistics/22/Eclipse/configuration/nl/en_US/ . There, org.eclipse.osgi and org.eclipse.update had both been touched TODAY, “right around when the problems started”.

So WTFF Eclipse doing in my wife’s SPSS “Application Support”? She does not use Eclipse.

So I shut down SPSS (took it minutes at 100% CPU, ???) moved the IBM folder over out of the way (made sibling directory “NOT”, moved IBM and the other sibling SPSS folder into NOT) and restarted. This appears to have made things better.

15 Responses to “IBM SPSS (22), “Serialization scheme was not recognized””

  1. Hi
    Is this on PC or Mac?
    I’m having the same issues but can’t seem to follow your steps on Mac… Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    • dr2chase Says:

      It was on a Mac, with the benefit of hindsight I can see that my instructions are a little terse (and I hate it when other people do that). Are you familiar with Unix command line?

      I did something along the lines of:


      mkdir “Library/Application Support/NOT”

      mv “Library/Application Support/IBM” \
      “Library/Application Support/NOT”

      mv “Library/Application Support/”*SPSS* \
      “Library/Application Support/NOT”

      I.e., it was all SPSS-related glop in Application Support.

  2. Gunnhildur Says:

    what … i’m having the same problem on my MAC! I lost some files that i thought I had saved .. and now I dont really understand here what to do. what is “mkdir” and “mv” etc. ……..

    • dr2chase Says:

      These are typed commands in a terminal window. Terminal is an application in Utilities. If you can find a friend who speaks Unix (or Linux) they ought to be able to help you with this. The difficulty with doing this outside of Terminal is that the Library folder in your home directory is by-default hidden in the Finder view.

      This is an option for seeing it: http://osxdaily.com/2013/10/28/show-user-library-folder-os-x-mavericks/.

      In the Library folder, open the folder named “Application Support”, and within that you would create a new subfolder called “NOT” and with SPSS not running, move “IBM” and the other folder you see with SPSS in its name into NOT. Then you restart SPSS. It should start up in some neutral state and recreate the missing folders.

      But ideally, find a friend who speaks Unix, even better if they know Macs.

  3. Soonawala Says:

    excellent, thank you.

  4. dondioko Says:

    Thanks for this! Worked excellent for me. Appreciate your advice immensely.

  5. DougS Says:

    Is anyone seeing this on Statistics v23?

  6. teacherusa Says:

    This worked for me too! Thank you so much!!!

  7. Philippe Says:

    This worked for me, many thanks!!

  8. Do you have anything for Windows 7? I don’t see a folder by the name of “Library” or “Application Support”.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    This has just worked for me on a Mac THANK YOU!

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