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Gnucash v1.4.0 Released 140

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the balancing-the-books dept.
Ur@eus writes: "The Gnucash team has released the 1.4.0 version of their wonderful Quicken-like personal finance manager. This is the first stable release since the move from Motif to GNOME. You find Gnucash 1.4.0 at Gnucash.org" This plugs a major gaping hole in Linux software: I've been using gnucash for a year now, and it's made great leaps in terms of features and stability. It isn't quicken, but its close enough for most of us. If you're having problems with the main link, try this mirror.
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Gnucash v1.4.0 Released

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Must be the same fellow doing the moderation... let me attempt to explain. That most recent post of mine was clearly off-topic, and should have been marked as such. This post, on the other hand, is clearly flamebait, goatfucker. Let's try to get it right this time.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    What is this Quicken thing ?
    And is Gnucash an extension to regular cash, only you can make copies and everyone can get rich quickly ?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why couldn't you just hook up a perl/python script up that connects to your respective Internet bank site? Then you could run your transactions through that as if you had typed them on the web by hand. Just get GnuCash a API and build a template.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Actually, gnucash is a lot more than an account manager. It's a real accounting engine, and we have real accountants helping us make it more and more like what they expect to see. It's built to be useful for a lot more than just account tracking, and as such is built on a more solid accounting infrastructure, even now, than Quicken.

    Yes, a networked, multiuser version is in the future, and Palm connectivity is important, and better on-line integration through OFX and QIF imports is on the way, but up until now we've been focusing on getting the single-user interface and the accounting infrastructure solid, and that's a pretty big problem. There are still a lot of features for the single user version that are important for even casual users, and those have fairly high priority.

    Bill Gribble

  • They can't relax with their hamsters
  • GnuCash is being designed for the corporate as well as the home user. Quicken is only for the home user.

    One feature that GnuCash has is double-entry accounting. It takes longer to learn than Quicken's "Categories", but is far more powerful--and in fact is what professional accountants use.

    Whereas Quicken is focussed more on where you keep your money, GnuCash is focussed more on where you use your money.

    As an example: say you pay part of your college bills with a loan, part from a savings account, and part with a credit card. In Quicken, you would have to make a category for that, and then print a report to actually see how much you spent on your college bill. And it would be hard to see how much you have left to pay. Whereas with GnuCash, you would have a separate account for the loan, and could pay from many accounts, and see how much you still owe, etc...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Two problems here:
    • The GnuCash developer assigned to the OFX feature tried a bass ackwards implementation and ran screaming because parsing the XML was too hard. Whiner.
    • I have yet to find a bank that offers this without charging you a fortune for the privlege. Yes, I'd work on an OFX implementation if I found such.
  • Heh, you'd think Quicken of all things would be somewhat smart about importing QIF files. I loaded up some QIFs I downloaded from my bank back when the year was young. They have the dates as "mm/dd/00." What's Quicken 2000 do? Marks them as year 0 and sticks all of them at the top. A simple sed changes those to /2000, but it is still a hassle. At least with source, I could fix it myself. :)
  • Microsoft could take a page and name things w_something. It's better than reinventing every regular word to their own convoluted meaning. For many people, SQL is that Microsoft database thing, and Office is not a place to do business, but a means of running virii on your computer. Exploring is no longer something adventurers do, travelling to far off lands. Now it means to crash/reboot your computer. And we see what they are doing with their open specs for Kerberos. Open, unless you do anything with them. And the "industry-standard Kerberos" unless you want to use them with any other platform. I'll take a little unimaginative g* or k*, there are less disasterous repurcutions.
  • My first thought had to do with e-commerce; perhaps a module for Apache or some SSL thing for taking credit card numbers online.

    --

  • by mAIsE (548)
    In Tyler we TRUST !!
  • Why are BSD people always so damned uptight ?
  • How long ago? My understanding is that it (including non-duplication testing) now works fine.

    And if you make a backup of your originals before trying it again, what's the harm? I've said "never again" to things and, a few years later, found myself to be missing out, as the things which had caused me to object had been fixed. Making the same mistake may not be wise.
  • Ahh. Yup, if you've got Quicken, no need bother with anything else.

    And btw, I haven't said "never again" to Windows. I use it for games (though more than half my games run on *nix -- a good third are *nix-only) and testing (I sometimes end up having to port my stuff to Windows, or do some networking stuff which involves it).

    And this recent experience with Windows is what keeps me convinced that I'm missing out on nothing but trouble. (eg. porting up MPPE to work w/ the 2.4 kernels, on Linux I can put a command in the kernel module to dump the negotiated keys to the syslog. If I could do that on the Windows box and compare 'em it would make debugging one heckuvalot simpler).
  • Posted by 11223:

    It utilizes a virus approach - it simply ports itself to the penguin in question, and eats itself from the inside.
  • Posted by 11223:

    No - I disagree. While I don't know what a 'teh shell' is, I can assure you that NetBSD stands out as a platform. While FreeBSD is the OS of choice for Proprietary [bsdi.com] Systems [apple.com], NetBSD provides honest-to-goodness Open Source software on almost every platform - and we don't need to hide in Canada [openbsd.org] either.
  • Posted by 11223:

    Here at NetBSD we've been alpha testing a new feature that does penguin-eating.
  • What's the point? If you're comparing what they tell you against what they tell you, you're not gonna find many errors.
  • Technically there is nothing stopping anyone from writing a KDE/Qt front end for GnuCash. Licensing, however, is a different matter.

    The Debian project has maintained for a long time that the GPL does not give a third party permission to distribute binaries linked against Qt [debian.org]. KDE itself is owned by the various KDE authors who are very unlikely to sue people for distributing Qt-linked binaries. GnuCash is owned by the various GnuCash authors, who may be far less permissive in this regard.

    People are free to distribute KDE/Qt front ends to GnuCash as source code, but I wouldn't want to be around to see the mess that would result from distributing binaries.

    As usual KDE users can always just install the GNOME libraries and run GnuCash from within KDE right alongside all their other KDE programs. Free software is much more compatible in this regard than proprietary software ([cough] Internet Explorer [cough]).

  • Yes, the plan is to put it into the distribution. I'm not sure how soon that will be, though. It will probably be in our next set of new packages.

    Peter
  • Any check printed by a consumer on a home PC is going to be spit out like this

    Why do you say this? Is the tolerance of the positioning tighter than 1/300th of an inch? (I don't have the spec handy...)

    Also, the absolute size of the characters and the spacing between them is more tightly controlled than the absolute position of the MICR line on the check, so errors introduced in the paper feed are less important, as long as the device can print with consistent accuracy...

    ---
  • You can bet that I'll have disclaimers in the package. :)

    This debate rages on Usenet every so often... the short answer is that the bank will accept & process almost anything, but they might charge you extra if their automated system can't handle it.

    I've used VersaCheck without problems, but only for 3-4 checks per month.

    I've heard that some banks use OCR anyway, instead of the magnetic reader.

    ---
  • So, now that everyone is making Windows-type applications or porting them right over, what's to keep Linux from becoming a Windows clone?

    Regardless of what applications you choose ( and in linux, you can choose ) to run, the underlying operating system is extremely robust. Linux is not and will never be a windows clone. It is a robust, well designed operating system.

    The problem with Windows is certainly not the fault of the applications that run on it. I wouldn't complain if all of those apps ran on Linux. The main problem with Windows is that the core operating system itself is unreliable.

    With KDE and GNOME, the desktop is almost as easy as Windows. Will there be a time when there's no distinction?

    Well, hopefully, there'll be no difference between Linux and Windows in terms of ease of use. However, there will always be a key difference -- in Linux, you can choose. You can run KDE, or GNOME, or the bloat-whiners like yourself can even run TWM and use Xterms.

    Linux could end up just like Windows

    No, it couldn't unless someone sabotaged the kernel.

    BTW, I could go on and on about how QT/KDE is really better designed than Win32, but that's another topic in itself.

  • So far in two years of working with Quicken Deluxe and Wells Fargo they have screwed up exactly 0 times. I checked my statements each month but have been doing electronic banking for those two years (more including the web interface) and not once hasn't everything come out as I remember it. In fact, it has reminded me of several things.

    Recently I've taken to using PocketQuicken on my Palm and syncing with the desktop to keep my credit card transactions up to date as I've not yet been able to sign up with credit card companies that provide online syncing of accounts. No more bounced checks, no more wondering how much credit I have when I am out and about. That is the feature that GnuCash NEEDS to even be considered by me.

    So far the bank errors have been more than offset by the convenience.
  • I tried importing QIF files once. Duplicates of every single entry. Never again, EVER. Not even if I could script it (and I most likely could) would I try it again. It just is not reliable enough.
  • Less than two years ago. As for never again, why import QIF files when I have the auto-update for quicken? Aren't you saying "never again" to windows and missing out now? The right tools for the job. My Linux box runs my services, my Windows box is games and Quicken. I'd love to have them all on the Linux box but until it catches up to where I am very comfortable in the way I do things (Esp. when it comes to Quicken/Wells Fargo/Palm) it is no skin off my back to have my finances on my game machine.
  • Paycheck is deposited via electronic funds transfer from my employer.

    Any (rare) paper checks I get are deposited and entered into the Palm while at the ATM.

    Any charges on my cards (dinner, rare purchases, etc) are entered in the Palm as made.

    I've not really looked at a paper receipt in years.
  • I read your post over and over again, and could not quite figure out what is the point you're driving at. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that you're not just trolling your way around Slashdot I have to question you:

    With KDE and GNOME, the desktop is almost as easy as Windows.

    And is this a problem? Is it any worse because it is esier to use? IMHO, KDE and GNOME are already bloated pieces of software You know, bloated, when referring to software has become, through annoyng repetition in otherwise sterile arguments, become a meaningless expression. And of course it has no intrinsic absolute value, but you already knew that. I mean, GNOME is more "bloated" than, say FVWM, but then again it aims to do a lot more than the latter.

    Perhaps if you could expand a little bit more on how the proliferation of "Windows-type" (you might have meant GUI? User friendly?) apps will make Linux worse...

  • That's what "Quicken" makes me think of. Highlander, the 'Quickening' (not the bad sequel but the idea from the original film). It (Quicken) doesn't seem like a good financial name at all. PC Teller would be better in my mind.

    Anyway, GNUcash sounded like eCash first time I saw it. "What?? An open source electronic currency?? What will those zealot freaks think of next? A non-profit government?" :)
  • The difference isn't going to be between the paper statement from the bank and the electronically imported statement, it's going to be between your ATM receipts and the information from the bank. Maybe I'm paranoid; but I don't trust either my memory of the transactions or the low-wage employees at the bank's office.

    I've seen discussion of syncing Palm accounts with GnuCash on the mailing list recently, I don't know how far along they are.

  • I was able to export QIF format from MS Money when I moved to GnuCash a few months ago. I had to select "Strict QIF compatibility". This was with MS Money 2.0a, YMMV.

  • Isn't Canada in America too?

  • Agreement with 90% of your comments, especially insuring high quality in software. The only area where we disagree (which is where I turn "zealot mode on"), is that closed proprietary programming has constraints that make it inherently more difficult to program well. 90% of the projects I have worked on that were based on open source code have succeeded, where the percentage of closed source projects is right about where the industry predicts it would be -- around 35%. By the way, my definition of "success" in software projects is "on time, on budget, feature definitions met, with low maintenance for the release."
  • I know of two.

    I have not used either of them.

  • Damn, if I woulda realized this was on Slashdot, I would've mentioned that Dave Peticolas, one of the 5 core developers of GnuCash, was going to do a talk on using GnuCash at tonight's Linux Users' Group of Davis [lugod.org] meeting.

    Oh well, maybe when 1.6.0 is out he can do it again ;)

  • This is a tad offtopic, but here goes.

    Should anyone be able to stick the letters GNU at the front of his software programme's name? It seems to me we should courteously leave it to the FSF to distinguish *their* software (or software recommended by them) with this Mark.

    Maybe its just me, but if a piece of software like Gnucash has nothing to do with the FSF, it should be called Gplcash or something. (I realize the ability to say it like "new cash" would be lost :)
  • You know, the best thing about the various versions of MS Money are that they will synch with your brokerage / bank account. You can download you statements and clear them against you account within the program, make sure your balances are accurate, etc... Does anyone know if it is possible or could be implemented in Gnucash?
  • "...is that they know how to name their programs to make them attractive to the general public.

    Why is this an advantage? There is a subset of people (call them "intelligent") that doesn't make snap judgements based on the name of something. So making a name change as you suggest will only increase marketshare among the non-intelligent. And who wants to support idiots when the fun part is creating code?
    --
    Compaq dropping MAILWorks?
  • If you don't like KDE or Gnome then don't use them. Some of us like a desktop enviroment like KDE or Gnome running on a more robust OS. I think that is one of the biggest advantages to Linux is the flexability of configuring the system to be what you want.

    Terry
  • One of the things that bugs me about Quicken is the feature bloat. That, and the fact that the QIF format is so freakin' brain dead.

    Of course, I was turned off by GnuCash because of the dependance on Motif and half a dozen obscure libraries.

    I see the problem this way: commercial software caters to the lowest common denominator in order to sell the most units. Free software caters to the programmers' favorite toys (whether it be language / libraries / environment / etc.) in order to make it the most fun to write and use. The best software of either type finds a happy medium between these extremes.
  • MS actually tried to buy out Quicken back in 1995 or so, but it was nixed by the appropriate regulating authorities on antitrust grounds. They've since tried winning on their own product's merits, but without much success.
  • So I would expect that in a few years, Intuit will be saying, "Well, it's not GNU Cash, but it's still pretty good, and if you buy it, we
    make money because we're such nice people..."


    What's so great about that scenario? The goal of open source is not to put commercial software out of business. It's to insure high quality in critical software.

    I see the purpose of projects like this as knocking on the commercial developers heads and saying, "Hello! Anyone in there? There's a good market out here that you're going to completely miss." If Quicken had already been ported to Linux, then GnuCash wouldn't be very important at all. Quicken is not like a web browser or a word processor, where the file formats it uses determine what all the other software on all other OS's must conform too. QIF is simple anyways. Quicken does not hold the key to some important internet or multimedia protocol. It's just a program a lot of people use.

    The important thing about GnuCash is that now more people can abandon Windows (or Mac) and move to Linux/BSD/anything that can binary emulate Linux.

    There is no need for all software in the world to become open source. Open Source has its advantages, to be sure, but if a commercial product can maintain high-quality without it, then what's the problem?
  • I remember a story where a number of customers of some institution who were royally pissed off with said institution submitted cheques on a variety of non-paper formats including a toilet bowl and, IIRC, a cow (yes, a live cow). The institution in question had to accept them since they all had the correct information on them.
  • And here I thought Quicken was a dumb name all these years 8^) It never did imply anything to me...

    I'll agree that GnuCash is a pretty lame name, but hey - programmers aren't usually marketing. That's who names the products...
    at least it's better than OldCash...
  • [
    I'm an M$ Money user. Great for what I've needed, and the CD came 'free' with a computer (well, my friend's system, but he uses Quicken, so never instlled this one). I've been using it for a couple years now, and don't want to switch over, but this is one of the last apps tying me to Windows (Eudora and games are the others)... It really does do a good job of stock + account tracking, especially with the automatic updates and tax information. GnuCash seems to only import Quicken files... anybody know if they are planning to import Money files also?

    Of course, I use Quicken Turbo Tax on the Web for yearly taxes (free through my Mutual Fund...).

    Oh well... (waiting for the day when my NT box can be another Linux or BSD box in my cluster...
  • At least KDE compiles on AIX with little effort. Window Maker is a beast...

    KDE isn't really all that 'ugly', and you can customize it to be whatever you want. You don't have to have desktop icons, the panel, etc, etc, etc... it's pretty easy to do...

    KWM is faster than WM on my system, too. I've got the space to spare - drives are cheap.
  • I'm using Money98 now (was using 20 (I think) before that)... It doesn't want to let me do that, though it claims that it will import qif files... of course, the help online isn't all that great, though it claims that it can export qifs... haven't had that much luck with the more complicated things, though (simple checkbook worked alright, but the interweaving of accounts and funds was bad... (old Money). Not sure if this was a M$ export problem or a Quicken import problem... though I figured that Quicken should be able to import its own file format...

  • It (Quicken) doesn't seem like a good financial name at all.
    PC Teller would be better in my mind.

    While I agree the "Quicken" name alone fails to instantly conjure images of simple personal money management, to me "PC Teller" is worse. The first thought that occurs to me upon seeing "PC Teller" is the slight-of-hand team comprised of one large guy who talks a lot and one small guy who doesn't talk at all. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't trust them with my money.

  • I've been using Versacheck with regular Canon ink, not MICR ink.

    George
  • Will all banks accept checks with non-magnetic toner? (OCR capable) -- I bought a package by VersaCheck but am nervous about using it for the first time.

    I've been using Versacheck with a laser printer and inkjet (Canon BJC-4300) for about a year, I ran out of checks one day and couldn't wait 2-3 weeks for new ones to arrive.

    Unfortunately, every Versacheck printed check I've sent out has been accepted by my bank.

    I do notice the occasional one get's misplaced in the statement, but the money still gets removed.

    My bank is HSBC in upstate New York.

    George
  • I've been using Versacheck for about a year, maybe 200 checks, and every one has been accepted and the money taken out of my account.

    George
  • A quick web search turned up a source for MICR ink cartridges and toner [inkjetinternational.com]. There must be several people competing in this market. I realize that most banks will process checks without the magnetic ink, but for those financial instituions that require it, this looks like solution.

    I am amused by the idea of printing text with a combination of traditional black and magnetic ink. You can hide information in plain sight. Largely useless, I admit, but fun.

  • The names between Windows apps and their Linux counterparts are radically different. They are as poorly named(could we just have a few more apps that have X at the beginning) as console emulators(Nosefart being the worst)
  • Quicken's budgeting still pretty much sucks.

    I've also noted that Intiut seems to be increasingly putting in bloat rather than new functionality. The last version had lots of graphical wing-dings, but no real improvements in usefull functionality.

    Unfortunately, until Gnucash can transparently talk to my bank, it'd be difficult to switch.

    Quicken does keep track of acrrued interest, though. At least, it does for my loans... Admittedly, it can be a royal pain-in-the-ass to figure out.
  • That's exactly my experience upon first purchasing Quicken 1.0 for DOS back around 1990.

    Good financial software is damn important.

    Unfortunately, Quicken seems to be bloating rather than improving these days.
  • a "commercially-funded competitor" .. like maybe Micro$oft Money ???

  • Three cheers for this dude!!!

    I use that shitty software, VersaCheck. I can't stand the damned thing. It has to be the worst piece of software that need to use. To think that I paid good money for it makes me even more furious.

    If you need beta testers for this program, I'll gladly volunteer. I'll even write real checks to see if they clear the bank! :)

  • "it's" to show possession (?)
    "it's" doesn't have to be short for "it is"

    No. This is wrong. "It's" is always short for "it is". To show possession, the correct pronoun to use is "its".

    For more correct apostrophe usage, see Bob's Guide to the Apostrophe, You Idiots [angryflower.com] (yes, that's the real title).

    every time you correct a grammatical error a hamster dies.

    Ha ha ha ha! Die, hamsters, die!!!
    -----
    The real meaning of the GNU GPL:

  • The G is supposed to be pronounced. Check out the explanation from the GNU Manifesto [gnu.org]:

    To avoid horrible confusion, please pronounce the `G' in the word `GNU' when it is the name of this project.

    I assume that the main confusion that is supposed to be avoided is with the word "new", not with the animal. ("Have you heard of the new project?")


    --

  • paymybills.com (the only one of these kind of things I use) does it through QIF files. I believe GNUCash supports this feature. I know gnofin (the one I use) supports it).

    --

  • A lot of banks will accept checks written on the back of an envelope with magic marker, even, as long as all the requisite information is there.

    Now, that being said, if it looks like an OCR-capable check, but it doesn't work in the OCR equipment, I don't know how they'd deal with that.
  • The gnome version of GnuCash started out as "GnoCash" I believe... let's just say "GnuCash" is a step in the right direction. :)

    ---

  • " A lot of banks will accept checks written on the back of an envelope with magic marker, even, as long as all the
    requisite information is there. "

    They *will* accept such checks, but they usually
    charge a fee equal to the fee for a returned check.
  • Most people tend to then "if Quicken doesn't run thouse wine, then it won't run". That's not the case. Executor has been running Quicken for MacOS for many moons.

    ARDI [ardi.com] has beed selling their Linux version for $75 that INCLUDES the MacOS version of Quicken, and says if has full compatbility, with the execption of the online banking options.

    No, I don't work for ARDI, or to tell the truth, own Executor. But if GNUCash doesn't quite float your boat, and are stuck in Windows for the sole fact of Quicken, this wouldn't be a bad program to try. And at only $75 including Quicken, not a bad deal. I just don't want to see people not use linux, because they don't know that Quicken will run in linux, and that's the only program that's keeping them in Windows.

    Also on a site note, I do use GNUCash. It's served me well in managing what little money a lowly student can make =) I'd give GNUCash a try before you fork over the $75 to run Quicken though Executor.

  • Back when I was working my way through College as a retail clerk, I was told that the MICR #s used a special ink which made the numbers more visible to automated readers (i.e. the little box we fed the checks through for validation).

    How accurate is this? Is the ink really magnetic/metalized for this purpose? If so, it may be a significant problem to home users. If, OTOH the recognition is purely optical, nevermind. :)

    In any case, thanks for your efforts. I hope the right people take notice and include it in Gnu$$.
  • You don't know what those machines are doing. They could be idle for weeks or months. The only way to judge and OS is to run one and know exactly what it is doing.

  • It isn't Quicken, but its close enough for most of us...

    Z'okay that it's not a clone of Quicken, because (--Open Source Zealot Mode On--) GNUCash comes with source code. Has the eyes of the world to search out bugs, suggest features, etc. Forkable at will. And the best reason to use it and help with the development process? The completed product(s) can't be closed and taken proprietary, so I can count on being able to have/fix the latest and greatest version(s) without the chains to corporate America.

    So I would expect that in a few years, Intuit will be saying, "Well, it's not GNU Cash, but it's still pretty good, and if you buy it, we make money because we're such nice people..."

  • http://www.swig.org [swig.org]

    Also, you will need a program called "g-wrap". You can find it in the /pub/g-wrap directory on the gnucash ftp server.
  • GnuCash no longer uses Motif; in fact, this is not even an option anymore. It is now entirely GTK. Personally, I preferred Motif, not for looks but for speed and the ability to override everything easily (when will GTK respect .Xdefaults?).

    I have been using GnuCash for about nine months and am quite pleased with it. It works very well and gets better with each release. Its documentation has been written with the aid of real accountants; I have actually gotten a good feel for my financial situation, something wh. IMHO Quicken does a rather poor job of, for some reason. I really enjoy using GnuCash. Now if only they would get it to start up faster...

    I'd do it but I haven't the time.

  • As I've been considering what it would take to make my parents move to linux, I've had to think of all the things they currently do with their desktop that they couldn't do with a linux system. One of the largest problems has always been Quicken. Wine has never been able to run it sufficiently. The last time I looked at gnucash it wasn't quite up to the job. I'm looking forward to seeing the new version.

    Fortunately, I don't think many people rely on online-banking connections with Quicken but I suspect this will become more of a stumbling block as time goes on. It would be nice to have a linux app take care of this functionality as well.

    Now... If I can only convince them that kmail (or something) is better than Eudora then I could administrate their machine from home rather than having to drive over there all the time.
  • Will this work for window managers like Window Maker?

    It should - I use GTK apps all the time in WindowMaker. You might want to waste the space and install the bare minimum GNOME packages anyway, just in cash the progs get huffy when you install them. However, I don't seem to have any GNOME packages on my system right now, and the GTK apps run fine.
  • Try this some time:

    Imagine you're basically lazy, not math-ooriented (English major), bad with money, and hate using MS Windows.

    GnuCash changed my life.

    I started keeping track of every single little thing I spent a few months ago with this software and finally, after 27 years of floundering and fearing my own finances, I have the money demon whipped. This is not merely good software, this is important software. Get it. Use it.
    • Check Printing, like Versacheck. I love printing my own checks.
    • Palm Pilot conduit. I love my Palm.


    I glanced at the web page, but couldn't see if they had these options.

    George
  • I used to work for the CoreStates Bank PC banking department before they were bought by First Union. So I had to know both Quicken & Money from the inside-out. Unfortunately, that was over 2.5 years ago so I can't quite remember it all. But here are some basic similarities and differences:

    Similarities:

    Both of them let you create accounts, enter transactions, transfer funds and pay bills. Both of them let you set up various reports to track expenses and investments. Although the programs looked different, the functionality was pretty much the same and you could use either one comfortably given enough time.

    Differences:

    IMO Quicken is much easier to install and set up. Setting things up in Money (ie new accounts, internet connection) depends a lot upon using wizards even if you have enough experience to do something without them. Quicken uses some "step through" menus like wizards, but they're avoidable. Again, this is a personal preference.

    The best thing about Quicken is that it doesn't delete your npclog, which is a text file that gets concatenated (by Quicken) with your upload/download data. If you understand the codes in the npclog (which aren't too tough to understand), you can see what payment/transfer instructions you sent out and what cleared check #'s and stuff you received. If there is a discrepancy between your records and the bank's records, the npclog can easily clear up who made the mistake. I once saved my mom $120 in erroneous overdraft charges by printing out the npclog and showing the local friendly banker how she transferred money before the cutoff time of 3pm even though the bank didn't recognize it in time.

    Money (as of Money 98 anyway, but probably Money 2K, too) deletes your npclog after a short while. There is a trick to catch it before it gets deleted, but try explaining the procedure to "Joe AOL" to get him to send you a copy of it.

    The only sucky thing about Quicken is that it prefers IE over Netscape for its internet functionality. It has something to do with using IE's DLLs. If it wasn't for Quicken, I wouldn't have IE installed.

    So, to summarize....buy Quicken and fsck Micro$oft.
  • Don't be so quick to knock GNUcash and free software in general. I'm not sure how long GNUcash has been around, but quality software packages aren't written overnight. Remember, Quicken's been around for many many years now (my Dad still uses an ancient DOS-based one, for fears of winxx crashes and corruptions). So they can add some features between releases, to keep Quicken a decent product. GNUcash is developing everything from scratch, and so it didn't have this existing code base to work upon.

    Anyway, suppose a commercially-funded competitor to Quicken formed today. Also suppose they had a team of software engineers as large as Quicken's, and they were working full time. The question is, how long would it take for them to produce a financial software package with stability, functionality, and usability mostly equivalent to Quicken's? Could they get their first version out within 6 months? A year? I'm not sure how long it would take, but I imagine that their first few product releases would be sub-par, and it would take time before they had a decent comparable product.

    That said, we'll see how GNUcash and other free-software packages with direct closed-source commercial counterparts develop over time. It'll certainly be an interesting show.

  • The big question I have is how do you count how much money do you save by using OSS software instead of Microsoft software with Gnucash? ^_^

  • From http://www.gnucash.org/features.php3

    "Intuit® Quicken® QIF files can be imported, and are automatically merged to eliminate duplicate transactions."

    For those not familiar, QIF files are one of the choices for download of a month's worth of credit card transactions.
  • GNUCash is a great step for Linux in general. However, to call it 'Quicken Like' is like calling a moped 'Car Like'. Quicken is a fully matured program that manages many different function in financial tracking and planning. GNUCash is an account tracker.
  • Well, Maybe the name PhreaKash might get more attention.

    Might be a problem, the name may trigger SPAM filters looking out for FreeCash offers.

  • is that they know how to name their programs to make them attractive to the general public. For example, the name "Quicken" seems to imply that it will "Quicken" the process of balancing one's books--which it does, if you compare it to using a typewriter and a four-function calculator.

    On the other hand, "Gnucash" has got to be one of the worst names, ever. When I saw the name, my first thought was "cash for Gnutella, because they're charging now," and I freaked out. Then I thought, "Well, maybe it's just a GNU thing that has something to do with making payments online." I had to actually read down to figure out that it was the GNU money-managing software--and I'm sure that anyone who saw it on the shelf (assuming it was packaged) would think "Cash for gnus?? Is this another stupid video game like 'Lemmings?'"
  • but it's my understanding of English that when a G is followed by an N, the G is silent, as in "gnat," or "gnarled."

    In the sane, normal world, you are correct, but check out this entry [tuxedo.org] in the Jargon File.

    And while I'm on the subject, even the great Knuth is not immune. TeX [tuxedo.org] == "Tekh". I mean, why be so damn deliberately difficult? Why not "tecks"?


    --

  • Damn right! I detest many of the namings in the Linux community, many who feel they have to be oh-so-clever by making unpronouncable names. At least Linus had the excuse of a foreign language. What's RMS' excuse? "Gah-nu" indeed. "Napster" is easy on the tongue and memorable. Gnome (aka Gah-nome) is absolutely idiotic and difficult to say.

    I simply don't understand the hostility to easily pronouncable names in the Gnu community.


    --

  • So true, and likewise, much of what goes into Linux isn't GNU either, it's bits and pieces of BSD that no one could create themselves. So whenever you look at your docs and see "(c) The regents of the university of california" remember, we were here first
  • It isn't quicken, but its close enough for most of us.

    This seems to sum things up. For all the good that free software gives users, it so often falls short. Gnucash simply doesn't have all the features users are looking for. It does have many useful features, but before wide acceptance of software like this can occur, someone somewhere must have the proper motovation to make it "perfect". And this is where i believe it is nessary to have a "pay for play" segment in the software market. At this time, it appears that a pure freeware world simply can't work.

  • by whoop (194) on Monday June 19, 2000 @09:12AM (#992164) Homepage
    Just what is it about everything that people whine about "bloat?" If you don't want one coherent set of desktop apps, run twm or leave Linux in console mode and play color-yahtzee. Windows 9x/nt, on the other hand, is pretty much useless/impossible in dos mode as it comes from Microsoft. I can see people calling Windows stuff "bloat" because it crawls even when you have a 500+ Mhz processor and 64+ MB of RAM. I have run KDE (1 and 2) in various environments from a 300 Mhz K6 to my current Athlon 550. Seeing as pretty much any modern computer has 64 or more MB of RAM, KDE (and I'm sure GNOME as well) run perfectly well. Sure, if you try running it on that 486/33 with 4MB RAM it will be slow. But for those with a computer that was new in the last five years, it's fairly sufficient to handle KDE/GNOME.

    The beauty of Linux is you can shut things off, uninstall, etc to tailor it to how you wish. Windows, you must take it all (including those damn AOL/AT&T/Earthlink shortcuts). If you have specific things you wish to label bloat, say so. But remember you can just skip them altogether. If it's just because you don't like them or do not wish to run them, that's not a good enough reason to bitch about it.
  • by FreeUser (11483) on Monday June 19, 2000 @10:36AM (#992165)
    Perhaps it relys on gnome-print...

    Indeed, it uses gnome-print for check printing, and presumably printing other reports as well.

    I've run older 1.3 versions of GnuCash under a bunch of different window managers, including enlightenment, icewm, windowmaker, and kwm. You need to have the gnome librarys installed, including the "development" libraries (headers, etc.) if you're compiling GnuCash from source. Other than that you really don't need gnome, although you may want to have some of the gnome utilities around if you're interested in playing around with themes (GnuCash will use gtk/gnome themes, which can improve the aesthetics over the default according to your taste).
  • You are absolutely right on this account. Perhaps "plugs a major gaping hole in GNU software..." would have been better way to put it. I personally use the Linux kernal myself, but if it can compile on one of the BSDs, then certainly it runs on more than just Linux.

    I think that the reason why you see this Linux bias so often on Slashdot is pretty obvious and is actually understandable. GnuCash is, of course, GNU software and is governed by the GPL. Linux is also governed by the GPL. NetBSD is not, it is the BSD license. GNU is intended to be a *NIX replacement operating system/environment. Because of this, when a new piece of software or software version is released as part of the GNU project, it is going to be associated with a GNU operating system kernal (either Linux or HURD.)

    I think you are going to have to get used to it... it's a Stallman thing.
  • by dieMSdie (24109) on Monday June 19, 2000 @01:40PM (#992167)
    I downloaded gnucash out of curiosity, and tried to compile. The configure script bombed out with a "Can't find Swig" error. I was thinking, "what the fsck is SWIG?!" I didn't notice anything on the Gnucash pages about needing this - it's something they should include.

    I then went looking on Google, and found it. I thought I'd post a link for anyone who gets this error and, like me, had never heard of Swig before.

    Further digging on the Gnucash site helped me find out that you don't really need Swig, and they might be changing the configure script so that it doesn't bomb if you don't have it.

    Anyhow, here is the link to Swig [rpmfind.net]
  • by imac.usr (58845) on Monday June 19, 2000 @09:23AM (#992168) Homepage
    Quicken for the Mac is a pure piece of shit, full of bugs made worse with every "patch" and not even fully Y2K compliant, only saved from being dropped by Intuit via a personal intervention by Steve Jobs. What makes this so aggravating is that Bill Campbell sits on the goddamned board of Apple! I hope some enterprising developer (and yes, I would do it myself, if I had the skill) will either port this to the Mac OS, or create their own version. Fuck Intuit.

    Sorry for the rant, I'm still pissed off about the whole Bungie/Microsoft thing...

  • MICR ink (actually almost always toner) is special, in that it contains much more iron than regular toner.

    This is important because check readers aren't actually doing any kind of OCR - when they started using MICR lines OCR was a dream even on a very primitive level. The numbers (and the 4 special characters) look that way because when you run them past a reader the waveforms / signals they produce are very identifiable. Think of them as being an early version of a magnetic stripe, but non-writable.

    Position is also very important - individuals don't see it, but for any business printing its own checks in any significant quantity it's critical that the position of every character in the MICR line be correct. If the positioning isn't correct, the (often poorly adjusted) readers at the central processing banks will spit it out as a damaged check, and it gets special handling. Consumers never really see this, but for businesses their bank can actually be charged for the extra processing, and they're willing to pass that charge along to the business printing unscannable checks.

    Any check printed by a consumer on a home PC is going to be spit out like this, but I'm not sure the banks are set up to deal with extra fees for those - they probably have the cost of a certain percentage of checks being "damaged" factored into their fees. This is also the reason that they prefer that you not fold checks - folded checks are both less likely to read and more likely to jam in the readers.

  • by (void*) (113680) on Monday June 19, 2000 @09:24AM (#992170)
    No flames here. But Gnucash is written in such a way that the transaction engine is independent of the front end. In this way, it would be a relatively straightforward task to write the front-end for KDE, Windows or a console. The flexibility is all there, just waiting for some someone to write it.
  • by Dungeon Dweller (134014) on Monday June 19, 2000 @08:37AM (#992171)
    Man, that's what those old money people call us entrepreneurs. They look down on us and call us gnucash. What snobs!
  • by Ur@eus (148802) on Monday June 19, 2000 @09:14AM (#992172) Homepage
    The only thing you need is gnome-libs installed. Don't think you have to install any other component of GNOME. As for bloat, gnome-libs provides functionalty that many apps need, it would be more bloat for each and every app to implement such things themeselves.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, 2000 @08:49AM (#992173)
    Gnucash can read Quicken .QIF files. I have downloaded .QIF (both Quicken 98 and 99) from my banks website and Gnucash recognized it outright :-). Check it out.
  • by Booker (6173) on Monday June 19, 2000 @08:53AM (#992174) Homepage
    I believe that it does have check printing (experimental at this point, requires gnome-print) but that's only for printing date, payee, and amount on a check that's already been printed - just like Quicken does.

    I'm working on an app to print checks under Linux like VersaCheck ('cause they pissed me off with their shoddy software, and their subsequent "tech support".) I did a cleanroom implementation of the MICR font, and I just finished up a Postscript program that will print the checks... I want to wrap a command line and a GUI app around all this so you can choose check formats, different accounts, etc. It's not done yet, but it's not vaporware, either - I promise. :) I guess I need to have it checked by a bank, too. :)

    Also, I let the GnuCash guys know about what I'm working on so that they could incorporate it into GnuCash - haven't heard much back from them yet.



    ---
  • by ethereal (13958) on Monday June 19, 2000 @09:40AM (#992175) Journal

    I enter my paper receipts into GnuCash by hand, and then reconcile the GnuCash record with the bank/CC statement every month. If you just download from your bank and import, you're taking their word for the transactions you made. Better to compare from two different sources to find any discrepancies.

  • by First Person (51018) on Monday June 19, 2000 @09:04AM (#992176)

    These words may be the sentiments of a heretic, but here goes...

    The Gnucash program is good attempt to duplicate popular account management programs. But other than being free, what's the point? A more radical approach might has started by saying: most Linux users are connected to the network and like to be constantly plugged-in. Let's build a network friendly UI (say using Java), that users can connect from their Palm Pilots or via web browsers on the road. Let's build in data transfer from Nasdaq for stock and mutual fund tracking (there is development level support currently). And let's allow the program to periodically email reports. This said, I welcome the announcement of this version, and in particular the engine, as a good starting point.

    The nice thing about open source is that it provides a road for us heretics to enter the mainstream. All it takes is a few late nights of hacking.

  • by ReconRich (64368) on Monday June 19, 2000 @09:09AM (#992177) Homepage
    As many have commented, the ability to over-the-net transactions is what keeps people using Quicken (tm) & Windoze. Quicken uses a protocol called OFX http://www.ofx.net [ofx.net]. There may be some issues with incorporating this into GnuCash, They've been talking about it for a long time. BTW, it may already be in there, I've still got an old 1.3 version.

    -- Rich
  • by kindbud (90044) on Monday June 19, 2000 @08:40AM (#992178) Homepage
    I rely on Quicken to do the dirty work of entering most of my transactions in the ledger. I have switched my accounts to banks, brokers, credit cards that support this feature, because it relieves me of most of the work to balance my accounts with my statements. One click, enter a password, and my accounts are updated over the 'net.

    No support for that, no sense in trying it out. I reordered my entire financial life around this feature. If it weren't for this, and for games, I'd be 100% non-Windows on my home PC.

  • by fred_the_slow (136259) on Monday June 19, 2000 @09:24AM (#992179)
    according to several reviewers, quicken and quickbooks by Intuit run fine on WINE.

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