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Moneydance - Cross-Platform Personal Finance 360

Posted by michael
from the it's-march-28-do-you-know-where-your-taxes-are dept.
sreilly self-promotes: "Moneydance 2003 has just been released for Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. This program is a completely cross-platform replacement for Quicken or MS Money. This is the first time that online banking and online bill payment has been available in a made-for-Linux application. It also has features that aren't available in Quicken such as an extension mechanism that lets developers easily add and distribute new features to the program."
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Moneydance - Cross-Platform Personal Finance

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  • Thanks but no thanks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Drunken Coward (574991) on Friday March 28, 2003 @03:57PM (#5618071)
    I'm not going to trust my personal finances to a company that refuses to release their code under the GPL. Who knows what kind of data this software is gathering, not to mention the fact that I've never even heard of this company. If I don't use Microsoft Money because of these issues, why would I use something presented by an even less reputed source?

    And forget auditing it myself, with an EULA that says:
    You may not reverse engineer, decompile, translate, adapt, or disassemble the Software, nor shall you attempt to create the source code from the object code for the Software.


    I'll wait until something free (as in beer and speech) before I think it's secure enough for my data, thanks.
    • by bmongar (230600) on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:07PM (#5618173)
      I'm not going to trust my personal finances to a company that refuses to release their code under the GPL

      So you don't use banks or credit cards then? Because I don't know of a bank or credit card company that has opened up their software.

      • I don't know of a bank or credit card company that has opened up their software.

        Here's one. [networkmagazineindia.com] I'm not saying this is the norm, but it has happened. More importantly, it will continue happening.

        I agree with your point, though. You can't always find GPL's apps where you want them. Personally, I still prefer them, if they are available. Not only can I see the source code, but a lot of other people can too. And yes, I do occasionally look at source code, and tweak a fiddly bit here or there. More impor
    • by sporty (27564) on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:08PM (#5618197) Homepage
      It was funny. I was on bugtraq, and someone posted some code, showing how a system (freebsd at the time), could be exploited. Iditoically enough, I trusted the source after giving it a quick look and ran it. Somehow, I missed something.. a call to drop to the shell and execute a ping -f.

      So tell me. Do you go through the pains of examining the source of every application you use?

      But would you say, someone would eventually catch it in code? Sure, it'd a good argument. After all, web servers, name servers, XFree86... they have bugs, people catch them.

      So here's my next question. There's one fundamental difference. If everyone ran a tampered copy of other free softwares, the damage would be minimal compared to say, transmitting your financial information to a server in Java (the island, not the language). After all, after I realized what that bugtraq code did, I killed the app. No permanent reprecussions.

      Do you trust MS to not transmit your financial information when you do a software update? Do you use a machine with no net connection to prevent your financial info from spreading around? ANd if it did spread out once using GPL softare, who's fault is it?

      Opensource isn't a panacea. It's a methodology. It's a way of making software secure over time, if people can contribute. It's about anyone going in and making improvements to their copy, or hell.. breaking it. It's not about instantaneous security. After all, did you audit your last linux install to maek sure it doesn't transmit your shadow file off to Alan Cox, since he's become a nut and hates all linux users now? (Not really.. but you get the idea).
      • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Friday March 28, 2003 @05:08PM (#5618668)


        Opensource isn't a panacea. It's a methodology. It's a way of making software secure over time, if people can contribute.


        Indeed. You are completely on the mark with this point. The Open Source methodology isn't a silver bullet. It is no talisman. It is no guarantee to secure systems.

        But. This methodology is a first step towards peer review. It is a part of a proven process. So while its not pixie dust, it is a good move.
      • it is about the companies confidence in the product. I mean if you open the source, people will look at it, and it won't take too many issues before the company is a laughing stock in the financial world.

        The company could display their code, but keep it under a proprietary copyright liscense. I mean, books do it all the time.

    • by dreamchaser (49529) on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:24PM (#5618328) Homepage Journal
      Translation: I don't want to pay anyone for their hard work in putting together any piece of cross platform software.

      Seriously, software and politices are NOT the same thing. People need to grow up a little. I could maybe see the arguement of wanting to see the source, but free as in beer and speech just shows what you are really after; a free ride.
    • "I'll wait until something free (as in beer and speech) before I think it's secure enough for my data, thanks."

      Well write one and release it then.

      Go on, if it is that easy to do, DO IT.

      I dare you.

      Put your money where your mouth is and develop/release such a program.
    • Have you ever downloaded any app from Sourceforge or the like? If so, were you familiar with the company?

      Why wait until something is free as in beer? Do you not believe in rewarding coders for their work?

      I take it as you are a GPL promoter that you have read and understood the entire source code for the GNU/Linux distro which you use and every app which you use. If not, why not? Who knows what kind of data your distro may be sending back to the vendor?

      Have you ever shopped online? A lot of the shopping cart

    • by JustAnotherReader (470464) on Friday March 28, 2003 @05:17PM (#5618763)
      I'm not going to trust my personal finances to a company that refuses to release their code under the GPL

      Quicken and MS Money both send their data to the financial institution as XML is a format known as "Open Financial Exchange" or simply OFX

      Since OFX is an open standard and the data is encrypted via SSL then all this product is doing is taking data you enter via a GUI and converting it to an OFX message. I say "only" but in fact that's quite a lot of work.

      I've been involved in writing the receiving end of this software at a major Californian bank and it's kind of nice that most of our work is aimed at meeting the OFX specification. If your product can work with that spec then certifying it with Quicken and MS Money is not too difficult.

      BTW, on a funny note, while Intuit has quite an extensive QA process that we must go through to get our software certified to work with Quicken, Microsoft's certification consist of "Do you work with Quicken? Great, you're certified"

    • by tramm (16077)
      Drunken Coward wrote:

      I'll wait until something free (as in beer and speech) before I think it's secure enough for my data, thanks.

      How about GNU Cash [gnucash.org]? I've been using it for almost two years now and am very, very pleased with it. It is GPLed, so it is both free beer and speech.

      The new business features allowed me to replace SQL-Ledger [sql-ledger.org] with it. I'm happily generating invoices and handling payroll with GNU Cash 1.8.2 now.

    • by tunah (530328)
      I'm not going to trust my personal finances to a company that refuses to release their code under the GPL.

      If you had said "under a {free|open source} licence", then that would have been an extreme, but reasonable, position. To specify the GPL specifically is religious nonsense. You might prefer to buy from a company that GPLs, but to say that software with some other free license is less trustworthy is absurd - the choice of free license is irrelevant to you if you don't plan to release changes to the so

  • Why not use Gnucash? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Gothmolly (148874) on Friday March 28, 2003 @03:58PM (#5618080)
    See subject.
    • Bill payment and downloading transactions from my bank... I can't get to their site right now, but I understand from the original post that this is the first Linux based financial app that will let you do the two activities I listed.
    • Simple... use Quicken to its fullest extent, then try using Gnucash. You'll see pretty quickly.
    • Probably "ease of use". I have yet to see this new-fangled thing yet. In the meantime, I've been very slowly brewing up something I can use myself (no, it isn't far enough along to matter to anyone else yet; yes, it'd be GPL'ed or something else "open" if it does get there). I've looked at gnucash each time the next even-number comes out. It looks nice if you need to do small-business stuff, but for just my personal finances, I could never get far enough along after hours of banging my head against it to ge
      • That's a shame. It can take a little while to get used to double-entry bookkeeping, but once you grok it, GnuCash really makes things sing. I've used GnuCash since 1.4.x, and it's still the best thing I've tried (including Quicken). You can get away with just using the checkbook type register to do simple finances. Really, the beauty of GnuCash is that it allows itself to be as simple or as complicated as you need it. I started using it for simple finances, and now I also run my consulting business on
        • by slide-rule (153968) on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:55PM (#5618577)
          If there's a walk-through or tutorial guide on setting up gnucash for [preferrably simple-style] personal finances, please post. I've looked for something several times and haven't found any useful references. The recent 1.8 looks fairly close to my needs, but I simply don't have brainpower to invest in figuring out a workable setup on my own. (Yes, the irony of that statement vs. my running two dual boot linux boxes isn't lost on me...where you think my time goes? ;-) Something like a "MS Money user's survival guide to gnucash" (or the like for quicken users) would probably go a long way to help gain some adoption.
          • If there's a walk-through or tutorial guide on setting up gnucash for [preferrably simple-style] personal finances, please post.

            I second that request, and would mod it up if I could. I have poked around in the gnucash documentation, and I'm a current user of it, but I would love to see some good user-directed documentation aimed at giving users lots of practical information.

            -Alan

          • by Anonymous Coward
            http://www.gnucash.org/docs/C/gnucash-guide/
          • The link posted by the AC is very good. There's also a PDF [object-refinery.com] which is a pretty concise walk through the basic features (pre-1.8, but still very useful).

            Also, when you start GnuCash for the first time, there's a "Druid" that will walk you through and help you get your accounts downloaded and set up.

  • It looks like a good program. The don't seam to have paytrust up yet, that is the part for on line payment. It does look allot like Quicken, or at lest an older ver I remember from a few years ago, I am going to have to play with this program more, it is a 20Mb download for the trial ver. I already go my copy before they got /., best $5 I ever spent (I can see "The Mysterious Future") But it is a java based program that is how they did the cross platform stuff, they do not have linux executable. But ha
  • Worried? (Score:2, Insightful)

    I don't know why, but for some reason I feel uneasy about having an open-source finance program. Especially one that accesses my account information across the Internet.

    I know that I shouldn't feel that way, but I don't like the idea of easy access to the code. I know "security through obscurity" isn't security, but "security through obscurity and good coding" is probably better than "security though good coding" alone.

    Thoughts?
    • Re:Worried? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Mortice (467747)

      Thoughts?

      I think that since it's not open source, you just wasted your time.

    • Re:Worried? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Diphthong (461653)


      I know "security through obscurity" isn't security, but "security through obscurity and good coding" is probably better than "security though good coding" alone.

      Well, sort of... but obscurity does not generally lend itself to good coding. (That argument is a very slippery off-topic slope so I'll stop now.)

      When it comes to a financial app, whether it goes on the 'net or not, I very much do not want obscurity -- otherwise I might end up installing something that both does my taxes and mucks with reserv

    • by frovingslosh (582462) on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:12PM (#5618232)
      but "security through obscurity and good coding" is probably better than "security though good coding" alone.

      Thoughts?

      Just the opposite. Security through good open code, that can be reviewed by people who understand this and confirm that there is real security is much more secure that "I've written good code, trust me" type code. The bad guys who want your data, you bank accounts and your identity are not going to be stopped from reverse engineering the code by an EULA. If an EULA only stops honest people from checking the validity of the code, then one has to ask "why have it?".

    • There is no such thing as "security through obscurity and good coding". Closed-source programs that cannot be audited have a horrible track record of buffer overflows, unintended consequences to out-of-spec inputs, etc. So the only "security" is the fact that it's obscure. Personally, I'd trust open-source code more.

      As for accessing over the internet, one can only hope they're using standard protocols like SSL to encrypt the data and certs to know you're talking to a bank and not a man-in-the-middle.

      • There is no such thing as "security through obscurity and good coding".

        Actually, they aren't so much mutually exclusive as much as security through good coding makes security through obscurity superfluous.

        What is important in this, however, is that the relationship is not symmetric. Security through obscurity does *NOT make security through good coding superfluous -- in fact, just the opposite is generally true.

  • by CWCarlson (2884) on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:00PM (#5618100)
    I direct your attention to GnuCash [gnucash.org].

    I've never used it, but it certainly seems like a worthy contender.
    • by petabyte (238821) on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:09PM (#5618209)
      I'm currently looking into using GNUcash and so far its pretty impressive. I used to work for a company maintaining data in Quickbooks and eventually in MS Money. GNUCash is very capable against both of these programs for your average home user. Their webpage does list the goal of adding business features in the future.

      What I think GNUCash is missing most of all, however, is cross platform compatblity. I know it handles QIF files but the program itself has not been ported to Windows or MacOS yet. Many people these days have multiple OSes and I don't want have to reboot my machine in order to balance my checkbook (this arguement applies to both MS Money and Quicken as well).

      GNUCash has alot of potential and I might just start using it with the hope that cross-compatablity comes later. :)
    • I've never used it, but it certainly seems like a worthy contender.

      Using GnuCash is just fine. It works well and is robust in my experience so far.

      However, compiling it from source is the single most painful experience I have ever had with open source sofware without exception.
  • by stratjakt (596332) on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:00PM (#5618101) Journal
    Does your average linux user actually have any finances to manage?

    -1: Troll
  • Impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gmhowell (26755) <gmhowell@gmail.com> on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:01PM (#5618109) Homepage Journal
    Slashdotted with 2 comments. Look, if you are promoting your own project, there is no excuse for a slashdotting. Be prepared next time you submit your PR piece.

    So, since the homepage refused my connection:

    Can I install the client on multiple machines without an additional license? Does it work with Bank of America seemlessly (ie, I don't have to futz about with dl'ing the transactions manually). Can I import Quicken 2003 data? How much does it cost? What libraries did you use for the cross platform work?
    • Re:Impressive (Score:5, Informative)

      by sreilly (5153) on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:17PM (#5618271) Homepage
      lashdotted with 2 comments. Look, if you are promoting your own project, there is no excuse for a slashdotting. Be prepared next time you submit your PR piece.

      Unfortunately, the FreeBSD box it is hosted on keeps rebooting.

      Can I install the client on multiple machines without an additional license? Does it work with Bank of America seemlessly (ie, I don't have to futz about with dl'ing the transactions manually). Can I import Quicken 2003 data? How much does it cost? What libraries did you use for the cross platform work?

      multiple machines, one license: yes

      bank of america: yes

      import q2003 data: yes

      cost: 29.99

      libraries: java - jsse, jce, etc

      • Nice EULA (Score:3, Funny)

        by lorcha (464930)
        Well, it looks like you might be routing some requests to a different box or httpd server. At any rate, the server that I connected to looks like it is experiencing SSI issues because the EULA it's asking me to "sign" before doing the trial download is

        "<!--#include file="license.txt"-->"

        On the bright side, it is quite possibly the most easy-to-understand EULA I've ever read... :-)
  • GREAT! (Score:4, Funny)

    by tabo_peru (582809) on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:01PM (#5618117) Homepage
    Now I only need money.
  • Not for me (Score:4, Funny)

    by guacamolefoo (577448) on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:03PM (#5618135) Homepage Journal
    Until there is a personal finance program that allows me to calculate my savings in large stone wheels [stonemoney.com], I just don't have a use for it.

    GF.
    • Re:Not for me (Score:2, Informative)

      by jsled (11433)
      GnuCash can, actually. You can define arbritary commodities and currencies... keep the exchange rate up to date, &c.

      USD, CND, EUR ... LSW? ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:04PM (#5618145)
    I am more fond of women who dance for money than money that dances. But, mabey that's just me.
  • Intuit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 0x7F (158643) <slashdot&tpope,org> on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:08PM (#5618195) Homepage
    For those of us who dislike Intuit's DRM [slashdot.org], this sounds like a great alternative to one of their products. The fact that it runs on GNU/Linux is a nice bonus, too.

    I hope they follow up with some nice tax software, so they can really hit Intuit where it counts.
  • MoneyDance (Score:5, Funny)

    by unsinged int (561600) on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:09PM (#5618206)
    I've tried it before. People just looked at me funny and I didn't get any money. Same thing with the rain dance. Must be doing something wrong...
    • I've tried it before. People just looked at me funny and I didn't get any money. Same thing with the rain dance. Must be doing something wrong...

      Maybe you need to talk to the Dance Man [watchmedance.com]?

    • I've tried it before. People just looked at me funny and I didn't get any money...Must be doing something wrong...

      Maybe you're not getting much money because your breasts are one or 3 cup sizes too small ?
      • This is slashdot. His breasts are probably big enough its just the gut they flop on that turns people off.
    • by infinite9 (319274) on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:44PM (#5618493)
      Must be doing something wrong..

      This reminds me of my favorite far side. There were a bunch of indians standing around looking at one in the middle. The indian in the middle was holding a book titled "101 Rain Dances". Instead of rain drops, it was raining hand-crank egg beaters. The caption said, "Oh, one step to the left, then two to the right. What kind of dance was I doing?"

  • I tried the current moneydance out a few weeks ago, and it simply Didn't Work. After entering a few transactions, modifying one of them caused it to hang, and eventually crap out with the good 'ol NullPointerException.

    If it's improved in the last few weeks, I might give it another shot, but only because GNUCash doesn't run on Windows.
    • If it's improved in the last few weeks, I might give it another shot, but only because GNUCash doesn't run on Windows.

      Has anybody tried compiling GNUCash under cygwin? I know there are some GTK programs that have been compiled under cygwin (rather than using the GTK port to windows). I don't recall what dependencies GNUCash has, I just remember there's a LOT (I failed to build 1.6, but luckily Mandrake is including 1.6+ versions now).

      Also, does anybody know about decent documentation for GNUCash? My m

      • Has anybody tried compiling GNUCash under cygwin?

        I checked around for that -- there have been various attempts, but I don't know of anyone who as succeded with it. The other option I was looking into was running it remotely on a seperate Linux box using cygwin's xserver, but I need to set it up, and I'm not sure it's worth the electricity for one application.

        Regarding your other question, the documentation is at gnucash.org...

        "Currently implemented and supported are the XML file backend, which stores
        • The other option I was looking into was running it remotely on a seperate Linux box using cygwin's xserver, but I need to set it up, and I'm not sure it's worth the electricity for one application.

          Heh, I'm doing this already for Quicken, but I'm reading through GNUCash documentation right now. It really does look like it'll do what I want, and I'm willing to sacrifice online banking if necessary fianlly. I don't think my wife will object, since it's costing $6/month, and she's wanted to eliminate that e

    • Offtopic but isn't it ironic how the NullPointerException has become the segfault of Java. Yeah you can't send pointers off into deep space but NullPointerException really is just a fancy wrapper for what would otherwise be a segfault. Ok, so it lets you do a little cleanup and possibly recover ... still food for thought.
  • Uhh... wrong (Score:5, Informative)

    by randombit (87792) on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:14PM (#5618248) Homepage

    How about Mozilla? I've been doing all of my banking, and paying my credit card bills, over HTTP/SSL for ~2 years now. Which is exceptionally nice as my bank is a local credit union about 3000 miles away from my current place of residence.

    If online banking with Linux is causing people problems, I would highly recommend finding a bank that supports doing this kind of thing over the web.

    • I think the idea though is that the client is invariably faster than using a browser. You can't really do keystrokes through a web interface (which is fine for the room-temp IQ crowd), so if you get a specific client that allows the luser to just type this stuff in if they are so inclined, you're at an advantage. That, and you don't have to wait for the program to suck its interface off of a remote server and then parse it into usability every time you click on something.
  • no thanks (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I checked this out once. Looked usable, though a little lackluster. I'm sure the newer version has improvements.

    However I didn't download it or evaluate it because of an obnoxious license clause that said I waive all rights to a jury trial and agree to arbitrate all claims. Is that clause still there? (Can't tell because apparently they run their web site on a cell phone or something).

    Although I don't anticipate being affected by that clause, I find it extremely arrogant that I give up a basic constitutio
  • by loosifer (314643) on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:16PM (#5618258) Homepage
    ...but only on OS X. We bought it because of it's cross-platform capabilities, but never ended up taking advantage of them.

    The features are pretty good, in that I don't often want to scream at it and torch the hardware it's running on, like I do most software I use. My wife does most of the finances (whew!), and she seems to like it. I can't compare it to Quicken or whatever, because I haven't used them, but we always import our Quicken-formatted bank statements into MoneyDance with no problems.

    Sorry I can't provide a more helpful review, but I just wanted to drop a "Hey, I'm using it, and it's at least decent" note, since no one else appears to have actually used it.
  • Moneydance (Score:5, Informative)

    by Craig Maloney (1104) on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:23PM (#5618320) Homepage
    I thought I'd weigh in on this discussion since a lot of folks seem to be unfamiliar with the history of this application. MoneyDance dates to a time before when the only other options for Linux were a package written in TCL, and XAccount/GNUCash. At the time $20 bought a license for the application. Having wanted a finance application that worked well, I happily registered my copy and used it for years. The AppGen decided they needed a personal finance component and purchased MoneyDance from the author Sean Reilly. AppGen then had trouble after the dot com boom/bust, and MoneyDance was the first to suffer. People found out the hard way that they had purchased an unsupported product. For the longest time AppGen just sat on the code, letting it rot in secret while people wondered out loud when new fixes and changes would be released. I have since moved to GnuCash for my finances, but I applaud Sean for getting the code and releasing new versions of MoneyDance again. It really is a wonderful program to use, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it for anyone who would like another option in personal finance management.
  • by dacarr (562277) on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:25PM (#5618330) Homepage Journal
    One thing that would be very nice to see is some sort of list of financial institutions that this has been checked with and that compatibility can be assured. At the very least, at least the software compatibilities for the financial institutions' back ends.
  • by martinde (137088) on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:25PM (#5618332) Homepage
    There is also Kapital [thekompany.com] from The Kompany [thekompany.com]. And gnucash, which is linked in other replies. And CrossOver Office [codeweavers.com], which supports Quicken.

    So has anyone had good or bad online banking experience with any of these? I think all of them but gnucash are supposed to support it. I'd like to see a comparative review...
    • by Doc Hopper (59070) <slashdot@barnson.org> on Friday March 28, 2003 @05:05PM (#5618637) Homepage Journal
      I have a great deal of experience with Quicken under Linux using Codeweavers Wine (the actual Crossover Office product, which I bought largely to run Quicken). It does just fine for the basic checkbook management thing, but there is one huge usability bug that's a show-stopper for me. If you try to enter a "split" (itemize a transaction), and any of the splits have a negative value (like transfer to another account via the split) Quicken crashes hard. Doesn't happen on Windows, but all the time on Linux under CXOffice.

      In case you're interested in repeating the experiment, try setting up a house payment with all the correct accounts:
      Asset: Escrow
      Debt: Home Loan
      Cash Flow: Checking

      Set up payment from Checking to Home Loan for $900.00 (or whatever your house payment is). Then in House Payment, split that transfer into Principal (positive number), Interest (negative number), and Escrow (negative number). Click OK on Split window, BOOM! Down it goes. I use this technique all the time. Watching the Windows display, I think the Intuit folks actually do some goofiness with swapping the background window over to the account to which the negative transfer goes, and that may be the cause of the crash. In any case, happens every time on my two Linux machines.

      The help is also broken, and I still rely on that a ton whenever I'm doing something new. You basically get blank screens on about half the help menu items. Some are populated, some aren't. It's very weird.

      Other things that seem to be lacking in MoneyDance and GNUCash that I use all the time (I haven't tried either in about a year, though, so they may be updated):

      * Most "planning" features, particularly setting up payment schedules automatically for debt reduction plans. My wife and I are on-track to get our house paid off in 9 years (only 5 years into the mortgage now), and it's largely due to this planning in Quicken.
      * Automatic import into TurboTax. May not seem like a big deal, but when you run several businesses and hire an external tax preparation specialist, it's helpful if everything is in Quicken already that you can hand them a floppy disk with your TurboTax data for them to import into their whatever-program.
      * Tax categories for just about everything under the sun, updated annually. I only use a handful of them, but when I know that a particular transaction is going to be a type of thing to end up on one of my forms at the end of the year, I can create a category for it and WOW! it appears on that form from TurboTax at the end of the year.
      * Superb graphing & reporting. One-click graphs of where our money goes, easy reporting if we're on our debt reduction/savings plan targets, etc.

      Admittedly, those features may be present in MoneyDance or GNUCash now. But they are definitely show-stoppers if I don't have them. And due to the bug in CXOffice, Quicken under Linux is really a non-starter at the moment, except when I need to glance at my finances. I regularly back up my data from my Windows machine, and import it into my GNU/Linux Quicken to I have the information available on my laptop in GNU/Linux all the time.

      Really, the automated import stuff is a non-issue for me. I download a .qif just about daily from my credit union, import it, and match what's cleared. Takes about two minutes total (as long as I've kept up, if I'm a few days behind it takes a bit longer to check for matches), then I'm done for the day. End of the month, we review our numbers, see if we need to adjust the family budget to account for something, and get on with our lives. I wasted a HUGE amount of time learning the thing when we first bought it, though, in large part because I was trying to work around problems running it under Crossover Office on my GNU/Linux machines. I eventually mostly gave up, installed Windows XP on one of my home boxes, and just use that box for gaming & Quicken now.

      Hope that answers the question! I'm eager to give MoneyDance anot
  • From the home page (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lerxst Pratt (618277) on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:26PM (#5618339)
    The world's most intuitive personal finance software just got better! Moneydance 2003, the groundbreaking new financial tool is now available for all platforms. Moneydance can be trusted to keep all of your financial information safe, organized, and at your fingertips. After just a few minutes with Moneydance's simple interface and powerful features, you will wonder how you ever got along without it.

    Protect your privacy - and your peace of mind With Moneydance, you will not be bombarded with advertisements on your desktop, nor have your personal information shared without your explicit consent. Unlike some other applications, Moneydance does not install third party software on your computer to monitor or restrict your activities.

    Online banking and bill payment: no paper? no problem Pay your bills in seconds without writing a single check. With Moneydance you can automatically synchronize your records with transactions downloaded from your bank. Moneydance currently can perform online banking and bill payment with hundrededs of financial institutions. Moneydance also integrates nicely with the Paytrust online bill payment service.

    Manage your budget Moneydance lets you easily create and manage multiple budgets and shows you where your accounts over or under budget. Simply specify how much you expect to earn or spend in each category for a given time interval (weekly, monthly, yearly). Moneydance can then show you a comparison of how your budget compares to your actual income and expenses for any time period.

    Stay on schedule The ability to schedule recurring or future transactions in Moneydance makes it easy to plan for bills, loan payments, and paychecks. On the starting screen Moneydance shows all of your upcoming or overdue reminders, and you can view future and past reminders for any month. Special loan payment reminders automatically calculate principal and interest payments for mortgages and other loans. You can even print a monthly calendar that includes your scheduled items.

    Visualize your wealth Another great reason to use Moneydance is that it lets you easily visualize your finances. With Moneydance's built-in graphs you can view your accounts from many angles. The Net Worth graph allows you to view the total value of all of your accounts over time. The Expenses graph provides a clear picture of where your money is going and when. Other graphs include Account Balance, Currency History, Income vs Expenses, and more. Moneydance can also remember commonly used graphs so that they are accessible with a single click from the main screen.

    Get the details, quickly Moneydance provides a variety of reports detailing information about your accounts. Built-in reports include: Budget, Missing Checks, Net Worth, Account Balances, Cash Flow, Detailed Cash Flow, Transactions, Cost Basis, and VAT/GST. You can also tell Moneydance to remember commonly used reports so that they are accessible with a single click from the main screen.

    International ease If you ever cross national borders you will appreciate Moneydance's built-in support for multiple currencies. Recording international transfers is a breeze - simply specify the amount and the currency, and Moneydance will automatically calculate the value in the context of the current account. You can download Up-to-date exchange rates from the Internet automatically with the OandA.com exchange rate updater extension.

    Compatible, standards-based reliability Moneydance uses industry standard technologies such as OFX, QIF, SSL/TLS, Java, and XML to ensure compatibility with other software and services. In addition, with our open API and Extension Developer Kit you can be sure that third parties will always be able to integrate their services with Moneydance.

    Understand your portfolio Today's investment portfolios are as complicated as ever. Moneydance can bring your investements into focus with support for tracking stocks, bonds, CDs, mutual funds, and more. The investment account overview sho
  • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:26PM (#5618340) Homepage Journal
    I'm using one commercial product now which regularly gets its database corrupted even in brand-new files built from scratch. Sometimes it crashes when I try to back it up.

    Never mind which product. I've heard the other one is worse anyway.

    It's not just me. A Google(tm) search revealed that this has been a problem for years.

    So -- what does Moneydance have on the back end? Can I trust it not to fail unrecoverably just before tax time? Are there repair facilities if something goes wrong? Do they work? Can I export to some simple text or XML format that I can inspect and patch if need be?
  • In Java (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Euphonious Coward (189818) on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:26PM (#5618342)
    Now I remember why I didn't try it before.

    It's written in Java, which means, by my experience, it will tend to get stuck in infinite loops, consume all of RAM, and (thereby) crash my other programs. People tell me that's the various JVMs' fault, not the language's, but I haven't discovered yet how to apply that fact usefully.

    Are there any successful Free Software projects written in Java and popular outside of Java development shops? (I don't mean that question rhetorically -- post 'em if you got 'em.)

  • by fobbman (131816) on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:26PM (#5618344) Homepage
    Did I really need a visual of CPAs mimicking the Riverdance folks? I don't think I did.

  • by MisanthropicProggram (597526) on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:27PM (#5618347)
    from clarkhoward.com - an Atlanta based consumer advocate -

    " Depending on who you sign up with, fees range from free to $10 a month. Use a service that stands behind its electronic payment, such as paying late fees and handling problems with vendors if you made the payment several days before the due date. When you figure the cost of the check, stamp and envelope for every transaction, a small monthly fee is worth it. "

    I, on the other hand, don't trust anyone. I have to put my signature on everything - even if it takes more time out of my life! It's the same when you use a debit card. If you want to dispute the charges, for whatever reason, the cash is gone from your account until the dispute is resolved - if ever. This is unlike a credit card where the credit card company takes the risk. With online bill paying or debit cards, you take all the risk. So, if someone rips you off, well, you eat it!!

    In short you're risking, although unlikely,an event of having a very bad situation of having too much cash taken out of your account, or having a bogus charge against your account and having limited recourse to get the money back.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:31PM (#5618388)
      You're always risking something.

      If you open a chequing account you run the risk of someone forging a check.

      If you have a credit card you run the risk of someone using it without your permission.

      If you keep your money in a paper bag under the mattress you run the risk of the boogeyman coming to steal it.
    • If you want to dispute the charges, for whatever reason, the cash is gone from your account until the dispute is resolved - if ever. This is unlike a credit card where the credit card company takes the risk. With online bill paying or debit cards, you take all the risk. So, if someone rips you off, well, you eat it!!

      I have to disagree with you here. If your debit card says "Visa" in the lower right hand corner, you are in fact protected: http://www.usa.visa.com/personal/cards/visa_check . html
  • DebtMinder (Score:2, Informative)

    by NetMasta10bt (468001)

    I'm not affliated with DebtMinder [ithinksolutions.com]. But I think it's an interesting solution to debt management that I'm not sure if the other 'checkbook' software have covered or not.

    From Freshmeat:
    Debt Minder is a specialized tool for debt management. It is user friendly, complete, functional, and economical, and considers account subtleties such as introductory APRs, varying interest rates, split interest rates, external payments, and more. Its visualization capabilities include pie charts, line graphs, bar charts

  • "Please excuse me while I switch to a new server. It should be ready in about 5-10 minutes "

    You are wise, young grasshopper.

  • by lorcha (464930) on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:36PM (#5618431)
    System requirements for MoneyDance (according to their website):
    64 Megabytes of RAM
    Windows 95 or higher
    166 Mhz or higher Processor

    Apparently those requirements won't cut it for your webserver, eh?

    Anyhow, I am downloading it right now and they are serving at ~ 10K/sec even though their front page just ain't loadin'. If you just want to try to download the thing, just point the 'ol browser here [moneydance.com] (windows version) and give 'em a try. :-)
  • by Kircle (564389)
    Found this on their website: "Please excuse me while I switch to a new server. It should be ready in about 5-10 minutes"

    about time! :)
  • MyBooks Profeesional (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mao che minh (611166) on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:42PM (#5618474) Journal
    This software, from Appgen (http://www.appgen.com), was the deciding factor in moving two small businesses to Linux for me. MyBooks Pro is the bomb - it imported their QuickBooks Pro files and records in no time. The licenses are also very cheap.

    This application is the real deal. Oh, by the way, it works on both Linux and Mac OS 10.x

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Friday March 28, 2003 @05:00PM (#5618604) Homepage Journal
    And, having my /. habits honed to a fine edge, jumped right in without reading the post either, expecting to find something about Steve Ballmer. Oh well.
  • by pjt48108 (321212) <[moc.oohay] [ta] [80184tjp]> on Friday March 28, 2003 @05:00PM (#5618605) Homepage
    I thought that was what Michael Flattley does everytime some moron shells out $$ for a Riverdance ticket.

    An unfortunate software title for those of us disaffected, frustrated theatre types in geekdom.
  • by ChicoLance (318143) <lance@orner.net> on Friday March 28, 2003 @05:02PM (#5618614)
    It used to be very necessary to balance your checkbook, back when banks kept account balances on paper, and human errors were common, but is this still necessary?

    I stopped balancing my checkbook a couple of years ago, and have saved myself a lot of greef. I can check my balances and verify that nothing is improperly charged by using current web interfaces, and if I do goof on my in-my-head calculations of how much money is left in my account, most banks will give free overdraft protection, which I just pay back when my check comes in.

    This can sound kind of silly, but it has made my life a lot easier, and spot audits have shown that everything is working great.

    --Lance
    • by cr0sh (43134) on Friday March 28, 2003 @06:02PM (#5619091) Homepage
      I do - and it still matters.

      I cannot tell you the number of times I have balanced my checkbook and came across double-entries on the bank statement, from the same place, nearly at the same time - like they ran the card through twice! If I was looking at this online, I may not see this discrepancy (unless I looked really close).

      I currently use the Checkfree software for all of this, but they recently moved to Quicken, so if the damn Moneydance website ever comes up - I want to see how it compares - in the meantime, I will probably end up installing Quicken.

      I have thought that maybe I should go back to doing all of this "by hand" - but I love to pay my bills via electronic means. Most solutions for Linux (like GNUcash), since they don't offer EBT transactions (yet), mean you have to do double entry (once for the online payment, like through the bank, and once in the money program). Double entry can and will trip you up, though - which can be a bad thing at the end of the month (nothing like finding out you have a negative balance because you double entered, or entered incorrectly, your paycheck amount).

      I have been trying to come up with a different method to allow me to do online paying without double entry - I was thinking something like a backwards method, where you keep your receipts, then when you "balance", you go through the online statement and compare the receipts to the statement, those that match do one thing, those that don't (or seem like theres a double) do another - but this seems like a large kludge that probably would have problems as well.

      All I want is a simple program that replicates the account activity page on my checkbook, allows bill paying from it, and has a few simple reports - nothing fancy. Checkfree's original software, while only allowing comms via a modem, was just that simple program - perfect for what I needed. Now it is going away (like I knew it would eventually). I can only hope the special version of Quicken they sent out is simple as well - I guess I will find out this weekend.

      Oh, by the way - one other thing you find out when you balance your account are the number of transactions that *don't* get reported to your account. Many times, you might buy something, and due to one reason or another, the transaction never gets sent to your account - so, free stuff (or at least until they figure it out, which I have yet to encounter)! One of my friends got a free computer system this way (ok, that is on the extreme end - most of the time for me it has been small gas and food purchases)...

  • by uberdave (526529) on Friday March 28, 2003 @05:06PM (#5618642) Homepage
    The problem I have with all of these money management softwares is that they have pathetic budgetting features, if they have them at all. Quicken, Gnucash, etc are great at tracking your money after you have spent it. However, the point of money management is not in tracking how it is spent, but in projecting and planning what *future* spending is going to be. I don't want to find out at the end of the month that I am short by $50. I want to find out at the beginning of the month that my projected spending is going to put me $50 in the hole. That way, I can cut back on something so that I don't wind up with too much month left at the end of my paycheck.

    What I would like to see is limits on spending categories. For example: You decide that you are going to spend $100 on gas. Suddenly you have to go way out of town. When you enter the gas receipts and the total comes up to $120, there should be a warning dialog: "You have exceeded your allowable spending in this category." From there you would have to allocate funds from other spending categories (say dining out expenses) to cover the excess. The software should warn you that you need to cut back, and where you can cut back, (based on how you planned to spend the money originally) so that you don't spend more than you earn.

    The bottom line is that you can't spend more than you have, and looking at where your money went will not help. You have to manage where your money is going to go.
    • by gimple (152864) on Friday March 28, 2003 @05:14PM (#5618739) Homepage
      My wife and I use this software--Money Matters. [crown.org] It budgets exactly as you describe. It has helped us truly manage our money.
    • You ought to try MS Money. I use it in exactly the way you describe. Every time I open it up, it tells me where I've already overspent my budget for the month. Every week, I check where I have money left in the budget, and spend accordingly.

      $120 left in the grocery budget on the last Sunday of the month? Let's eat steak! Gas budget is over by $20? Better reallocate from groceries...

      Not only that, but it also includes a "Lifetime Planner," which tells you how much you'll want to earn when you're havi
    • Don't live so close to the edge. It's a lot easier.

      Yeah, some people have no choice, but 98% of the people out there do, and 98% of those live on (or over) the edge. I can't tell you how many idiots I've worked with that made 6 figures that live paycheck to paycheck because they have no concept of not indulging their every whim and desire.

      (sorry, impersonal rant :))
  • The missing app (Score:2, Informative)

    by jhr0771 (656695)
    I have my laptop running only Linux for almost 2 years but I had to go always to my wife's machine (Windows2000) to use M$Money. The features I use the most are the recurring transaction reminders and the report about the future balance of the account based on those reminders. I haven't found any alternative until now. I tried MoneyDance yesterday(a preview) and it works great ! and with the extension of Balance Predicter(it needs a litle bit more work), I'm leaving definitly M$ !.
  • by aquarian (134728) on Friday March 28, 2003 @05:17PM (#5618760)
    FYI, Quicken's .qif file format is wide open, a de facto standard that anyone can write to. I don't understand why more developers don't take advantage of this fact. If you're writing a new Quicken-replacement program you should just use it, rather than reinvent the wheel -- whether your product is commercial, GPL, or whatever. You can download the .qif spec from Intuit.

    Intuit has more incentive to keep their file formats open becuase what keeps Quicken and especially Quickbooks going is the ability for developers to create add ons. Quickbooks has a whole industry of add-on developers. By using the .qif standard, you can plug into this community too. The more stuff your product will interface with, the more attractive it will be, be it commericial, GPL, or whatever.

    • Not quite (Score:4, Informative)

      by benoitg (302050) <bock AT step DOT polymtl DOT ca> on Friday March 28, 2003 @05:36PM (#5618930) Homepage
      Clearly you don't know the problems surrounding the qif format very well.
      -I can't be used as the main save format of an app, because of the lack of a transaction ID field. Quicken sure as hell doesn't use it as it's file format, only an import-export format.
      -There is no definitive spec on the file format available from intuit. All the docs available are listed here http://libofx.sourceforge.net/links.html and the most complete certainly isn't intuit's. Even the account type identifiers sometimes change depending on the language of your Quicken (examples for example, !Type:Bank becomes |Type:Banque in french Quicken 2000)
  • by The Breeze (140484) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @04:14AM (#5621519) Homepage
    I am so confused.

    Appgen used to make Moneydance - did they buy it from Sean Reiley, and then sell it back? Moneydance has always had a decent reputation and has been around since 1998 as far as I know, quite possibly longer.

    Appgen makes MyBooks...I've been trying that off and on for two years..quite cool in that it is cheap, source code is available (no GPL tho) for extra $$$, and it runs on Linux, Mac & Windows, and the licenses are good for any mix of machines...a 5 user license will run on a Linux server with Mac, Windows, and Linux clients all at the same time...quite uncool in that it's rather unpolished in places and awkward to use at times, and getting the thing to print invoices is a royal pain.
    You can use Appgen's scripting language to make invoices, but the program was originally designed to print invoices on pre-printed forms. Yuck.

    Appgen sales-types are helpful and eager to let tech support help people who are evaluating, and they say that they were writing big accounting apps on UNIX heavy metal for 20 years or so. I don't know, I'm a bit worried about the rumors in this thread about Appgen's finances. I am still considering purchasing MyBooks but am in no rush.

    GNUCash is a joke. I had no problem using it as of release 1.4 for personal finances, and I've heard it's quite feature rich now at 1.8. A joy to use. The problem is it's practically impossible to install. GNUCash has a reputation for being the epitome of dependancy hell. I'm sorry, I love hacking around as much of the next person but 60+ shared libraries is too much for me. At one point the website actually said "Don't try to install this unless your distribution comes with it". Sigh. A wonderful product, GNUcash, if you can actually get it to work. I'm at the point now where I need my computer to actually work and spending hours trying to solve the dependancies for GNUCash is too much. I cannot understand why they put so much work into something that is so difficult to install.

    I'm thinking about taking SQL Ledger for a spin, a bit troubled by comments some of its developers made a while back thinking that user security wasn't that big a deal, but looks like a nifty product...

    There's a site out there run by some guy that has about 15 accounting programs both GPL & propietary...I can't find it tho...

    Anyhow...just rambling - if anyone can post the history of both Appgen & Moneydance I'm sure that others besides myself would appreciate it.

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