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The Almighty Buck Software

MoneyDance 2003 Reviewed 254

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the free-money-programs-but-no-free-money dept.
TheMadPenguin writes "For those of you who may not have heard, MoneyDance 2003 was released on March 28th, 2003 for general public consumption. It is available for Linux, MacOS X, and also Windows. Geared toward current Intuit Quicken and Microsoft Money users, MoneyDance 2003 is packed full of features. It's reviewed at MadPenguin.org."
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MoneyDance 2003 Reviewed

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  • by Renegade Lisp (315687) on Friday April 25, 2003 @08:05AM (#5807232)
    A user's comment on this review at madpenguin.org states the obvious: What about GnuCash [gnucash.org]? It turns out that GnuCash is very comparable to this product in terms of features, and for somebody who'd rather stick with free software, there should be no rational need to buy MoneyDance.

    I've been using GnuCash for my personal accounting for a year and a half now, and I must say that it's absolutely enough for all that I need (I'm a freelance consultant), and lots of interesting new features are on the horizon.

  • Delete protection (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mccalli (323026) on Friday April 25, 2003 @08:11AM (#5807260) Homepage
    From the review: Deleting a transaction is quick and painless by selecting the transaction you want to delete and pressing the Delete Button. And as an added delight it doesn't ask you the obnoxious question "Are you sure?"

    But these are my accounts! I want to be protected against accidently deleting things. To take a random example, suppose I think I've clicked into a text field to start typing, whereas what I've really done is just highlighted the whole transation. I press delete and...

    Oops. Hope I still have the bank statements for that one. I'll enjoy tracking the discrepency down, I'm sure...

    Sometimes, it's good to have confirmation required before performing a destructive task. Imagine a similar review saying "And better still, no pesky usage screen or prompt - just typing the command name instantly low-level formats your SCSI RAID array...".

    Cheers,
    Ian

  • Re:Moneydance (Score:3, Insightful)

    by override11 (516715) <cpeterson@gts.gaineycorp.com> on Friday April 25, 2003 @08:17AM (#5807279) Homepage
    I dont believe the article said ANYWHERE it was free.

    Because it will run on Linux, you assume it is? You know,, Linux will never become the de-facto OS if people are not willing to PAY for developers to make software for it.
  • by Rinikusu (28164) on Friday April 25, 2003 @08:17AM (#5807282)
    Maybe they don't like the /. referral tags?

    Again for all the "free software people" and the million and one "JUST USE GNUCASH!" folks, here is something for you:

    Free software may be fine and dandy, but some of us don't actually mind *paying* for software if said software does the job well. Shocking, isn't it? Free is not the end all, all encompassing criteria for a great majority of computer users out there. I know, you're trying to change that, but face it: Commercial software is not inherently evil, Proprietary software is not evil, RMS be damned.

    Here's something to ponder: With OpenSource software, I get the source and I can tweak the software any which way I want! Yay! So, after I spend a few weeks poking my way around the source code and finally figuring out where and how to make the changes I need, I could've just gone down to BestBuy and bought another copy of Money or Quicken and have been done with it. What I'm buying is *convenience*. Ever notice that the QuickEMart on the corner sells stuff at quite a premium over the grocery store down the street? Convenience. Sometimes convenience costs money, and I'm willing to pay the "tax" to get something now, not 3 weeks from now.

  • by sultanoslack (320583) on Friday April 25, 2003 @08:33AM (#5807349)

    Sadly you've missed the point of Free Software.

    • Free Software isn't software that you don't pay for. You must be new here.
    • Let's say you want to integrate i.e. Quicken / GnuCash into your business. There are features in there that are valuable to you and not available in any package (i.e. things specific to your workflow). Sure, you might have to pay one of the local geeks [EUR/$]1000 to hack that feature in, but you can't do that for any price with most proprietary software.
    • See point one again. If you want stuff from Free Software, you might have to pay for it. But I assure you that people exist that will cater to your whims for a price. :-)
  • by Zigg (64962) on Friday April 25, 2003 @08:35AM (#5807362)

    So, after I spend a few weeks poking my way around the source code and finally figuring out where and how to make the changes I need, I could've just gone down to BestBuy and bought another copy of Money or Quicken and have been done with it. What I'm buying is *convenience*.

    Of course you are, but you are assuming that you absolutely will be able to buy the feature you want by swinging on down to the store and buying your copy of whatever. Simply because you're in the store waving your credit card around doesn't make the feature you want magically appear.

    You see, if the vendor doesn't think the feature you want is worth implementing, it won't get implemented; proprietary software developers are generally paranoid about giving you the means to implement it or pay someone else to implement it.

  • by $rtbl_this (584653) on Friday April 25, 2003 @08:40AM (#5807392)

    I can't help but get the feeling that you're confusing the ability to modify the source code with some kind of necessity to do so. Most of the open source software I use does what I want without me having to change a single line of code, as does most of the equivalent closed source. The difference is that if a program doesn't do something I want and it's open source I can do something more constructive about it than submit feature requests, wait and hope not to get fobbed off.

  • by pongo000 (97357) on Friday April 25, 2003 @08:43AM (#5807407)
    Imagine a world where all those people who would otherwise shell out $30 for MoneyDance would be willing to donate half of that to support "free" comparable software such as Gnucash.

    Just imagine.
  • Re:Moneydance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jdreed1024 (443938) on Friday April 25, 2003 @08:54AM (#5807444)
    However, GNUCash [gnucash.org] will run on all the platforms listed, and is free.

    First of all, GNUcash does not run on Windows without much frobbing. Yes, I know we don't like Windows 'round these parts, but there are plenty of folks who do. Secondly, GNUcash is not designed to be a drop-in replacement for Quicken. This program clearly is. I just downloaded the Windows version, and I'm happy with it. I'll never use MS Money or Quicken again.

    If we want Linux to succeed, we have to acknowledge that there is room for proprietary software. (Linus has the right idea - leave it up to the users to decide what they want to use it for). If you don't like proprietary software, don't use it. But Free Software is about Freedom. Kind of like the Freedom to run whatever programs you want. If GNUcash is a better program than Moneydance, then Moneydance will die, without any assistance from the zealots. If, OTOH, Moneydance fills another niche, then both will survive.

    Like it or not, software like this is vital to getting Linux on the desktop. If people want to pay, let them pay. But let them decide which they like better - don't presume to dictate their software choice to them. GNUcash takes effort to set up, especially on some MacOS X and Windows. Sure, it's not a _LOT_ of effort, but it's more than the standard "double click install.exe" that folks are used to.

    I'm getting tired of seeing responses to every non-free Linux program mentioned on /. along the lines of "Boo, it's proprietary, use $bar instead". If you know of and use a better, l33ter program to accomplish the same task, then maybe, just maybe, you're not the intended audience of the new piece of software. In that case, don't use it. But why disparage it in front of potential users? Sure, there are some things to be worried about. Like when MS releases Office and Windows Media Player for Linux, I'll start to get nervous, and recommened OpenOffice and Mplayer instead. But when a company comes along with a good product, and sells it for a reasonable price, don't bitch just for the sake of bitching.

    Lastly, let's not forget the goal of this program. A drop in replacement for Quicken, available for Linux, OS X, and Windows. The last platform is perhaps the MOST important. The installation on Windows is as easy as any other Windows program. And it reads QIF files. And it has most Quicken features. But it's not Quicken. And this is excellent. Because guess who makes Quicken? Our good friends at Intuit, makers of the wonderful TurboTax with activiation that we were all bitching about a while back. If Intuit can lose some market share because of this program, it's still a good thing. Because it's taking people away from a company that treats their customers like criminals.

  • by Apreche (239272) on Friday April 25, 2003 @08:54AM (#5807446) Homepage Journal
    The trueness. Even in Mandrake 9 it uses kaffe instead of sun java. You have to install sun java yourself, which is easy enough. But you have to replace the symbolic links in /usr/bin with ones that point to the sun java. When I tried to install jython I realized this.

    I'm kind of dissapointed about this MoneyDance program though. It looks like it's really cool and simple. Which is just what I need because I don't do complicated things with my money. But it's a java program, and it isn't free as in beer or speech. If I had extra money to spend on software I wouldn't need a money managing program.
  • by Necroman (61604) on Friday April 25, 2003 @09:18AM (#5807554)
    As your parent post said, you are paying for convenience. This really falls into a time is money kinda thing.

    Sometimes I want software that just works, and I need it right now. I don't want to have to download some open source program, get that working on whatever machine I have, then find out the X feature is not implemented yet or has a few bugs in it.

    For the most part, commercial software will pass this test. You can normally just read the back of the box and it will tell you the features it has, and if it is right for you. If that is not enough, then maybe read a review or 2 online.

    This falls under the same reason as why I keep a Windows machine around, convenience. I don't want to find this great app that is Windows only, then try to get it to run under WINE. I want it to work right then and there. And sorry to say it, but Windows still has the largest market share, therefore it will have the most software released for it.

  • by override11 (516715) <cpeterson@gts.gaineycorp.com> on Friday April 25, 2003 @09:41AM (#5807683) Homepage
    See, there are 2 camps of Linux people.

    People like yourself, who want a free open source OS, but care very little for the general public. F%#k em, you think, because they dont know about Linux, just let em fry with DRM and big brother breathing down windows update and back doors. Because they dont know linux they are beneath me.

    Then there is the second type. These linux users enjoy helping other people out, and introducing them to a wonderful open source operating system. These type of users help others out on message boards, even when they are asked the same newbie question over and over, because they realize that there is a learning curve to a new OS.

    Lets try and be a type 2 man, there are a lot of people out there who dont know anything about linux, or dont know enough to actually start USING it for everyday purposes. You flaming the boards just makes them want to stick with windows just to avoid your elitist bullshit attitude.
    Grow up.
  • by BiAthlon (91360) on Friday April 25, 2003 @09:42AM (#5807696)
    Rather than keep me from doing something how about having a robust undo function.

    You just deleted a transaction. Oops, didn't mean to do that. Undo. Viola! Everything is back the way it was and no stupid "Are you really sure you want to do what you just said you wanted to do" prompts.
  • by mjwise (476) on Friday April 25, 2003 @10:13AM (#5807875)
    You're pretty new here, relatively speaking, but that's not really important.

    Why, back when I was young first posts meant somethin'...oh well...anyway...

    Sometimes the best solution may be to use a proprietary product for awhile, while you work on a longer term free software solution.

    But let's say you pay some geek $1000 to hack GnuCash to do exactly what you need. You've basically branched out a tree for yourself. Now a new GnuCash release comes out that fixes, say, a few critical bugs and has a few spiffy new features you'd love to have, but now you have to merge this new version into your version. There goes $500 to Mr. Consultant Geek again, and so on and so forth. The flexibility of being able to put in new features is quite nice, but it has a pricetag, and you may create a situation where you have to maintain software in-house or have to pay a consultant $$$ for maintenance. Free, perhaps, but still plenty expensive.

  • by sreilly (5153) on Friday April 25, 2003 @10:20AM (#5807928) Homepage
    You're pretty new here, relatively speaking, but that's not really important.

    You're pretty new here yourself, Mr. 6869. :) Isn't everything relative?

    On the other hand, relying on a proprietary product means that features you want or require depend upon the developer. If it doesn't meet your needs today, you have no way to ensure it ever will. If your needs change over time, you don't have the ability to adapt the software to your new requirements.

    Although in the case of Moneydance, there's an open API [moneydance.com] and plugin mechanism [moneydance.com] that lets you add the features yourself. Apparently the only remaining advantage of GnuCash in this case is that it is free-as-in-beer. Although as the saying goes, for some people, it's only free if your time has no value.
  • Re:Moneydance (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Narcissus (310552) on Friday April 25, 2003 @10:21AM (#5807934) Homepage
    Wow. You've been using a hacked financial management application for "a few years now" and still haven't been able to work out how to save enough cash to "afford anything any other way".

    Assuming you live in America, the product costs $70 for the Premier SKU. You mean to tell me that this program, which has features to save you money, hasn't been able to save you the $1.95 per month for the last few years to be able to buy it?

    Something doesn't seem quite right with what you're telling us...

    Oh, and just out of curiousity: are those games you and your kids have pirated, too?
  • by copponex (13876) on Friday April 25, 2003 @10:24AM (#5807950) Homepage
    First of all, let me preface this statement by the fact that I would do what I'm about to suggest, if I had any programming knowledge at all. I am reading books on XML and Java, but I know it will be months before I could start programming...

    If anyone in the linux community wants to make millions of dollars, they need to create an accounting package that is designed for small businesses, AND as easy to use as quickbooks, AND can support an high number of simultaneous users (50 or so). I've looked at NOLA, ARIA, Compiere, Lazy8, SQL Ledger, and a ton of others, but no one even comes close to the interface and ease of installation in QuickBooks. You could even create an entire linux distro around the package, since many *many* small businesses don't have sales people doing anything but selling, writing e-mails, and looking up phone numbers.

    The application can't be cobbled together between open source projects. It needs an integrated and have a consistent, intuitive interface. It needs to have in-depth reporting, with the ability to drill down inside the reports to locate specific information. It needs to have inventory control - in short, support for everything that the big boys do. And you don't have to even sell the program - just sell the support. This is, and has been, one of the biggest gaps in software that everyone knows about, but no one has tried to fix.

  • Re:Moneydance (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 25, 2003 @10:59AM (#5808237)

    If we want Linux to succeed, we have to acknowledge that there is room for proprietary software.

    Most people do. Pointing out Free alternatives to closed-source applications isn't a crime though.

    If you know of and use a better, l33ter program to accomplish the same task, then maybe, just maybe, you're not the intended audience of the new piece of software.

    What kind of backwards reasoning is that? "You use a better application, therefore the better application is not actually better for other people"?

    But when a company comes along with a good product, and sells it for a reasonable price, don't bitch just for the sake of bitching.

    Pointing out a Free alternative is not bitching. A commercial product has to justify its price; they shouldn't expect a free ride just because they are competing with established products, especially if there is comparable Free software.

    Lastly, let's not forget the goal of this program. A drop in replacement for Quicken, available for Linux, OS X, and Windows. The last platform is perhaps the MOST important. The installation on Windows is as easy as any other Windows program.

    So, the thing that set you off on this rant is basically because somebody pointed out a Free alternative to a commercial product, that you don't like the installation procedure of, and operates in the same market as a company you don't like?

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