[Fwd: Re: payroll]

Conrad Canterford conrad at mail.watersprite.com.au
Thu May 26 10:04:01 EDT 2005

On Wed, 2005-05-25 at 19:07 -0700, Thomas Bushnell BSG wrote:
> "Stuart D. Gathman" <stuart at bmsi.com> writes:
> > For this kind of problem requiring continuous expert review and updates,
> > I have always envisioned an open-source engine with paid-for data.
> Please remember, this is a free software project.  If people want to
> have non-free software (both programs and data are software), then
> that's up to them, but it shouldn't be our job or business to
> encourage them.

Yes and no. Gnucash shouldn't be requiring it, but by the same token,
shouldn't be restricting it either.

I don't see anything in the basic suggestion that is incompatible with
free software. If someone wants to provide the data free, and keep it
maintained, up to date and guaranteed accurate, for free - well that's a
bonus to people in their jurisdiction - assuming they trust it to be
maintained, up to date, and accurate.
I had rather assumed that the data files would probably be paid-for (at
least for people who are taking this seriously - who are running
businesses and really paying people money). Why? Because as a business
owner and manager, I want to know:
a) that I will get updates when updates are required, not just when
someone gets around to it; and
b) that the data is accurate, and isn't going to get me into trouble
with the tax office for failing to do the right thing.

Its not gnucashs business to make it exclusive (in either direction). If
you want the software to be used, be realistic, not restrictive.

> > The tax lawyers would offer the xml-described data for sale on a 
> > subscription basis, say quarterly updates.  
> This would be extraordinary.  Normally, legal advice is free (libre);
> that is, your lawyer gives you advice or explains the law to you, and
> you are free to repeat his advice or explanation to whoever you like.

I don't see how that is relevant in this case, since what you are paying
for is the update service, not advice. And leaving quite aside the
issues I have with your statement as it stands.

> I don't think businesses are helped by being forced to use restricted
> information.  Businesses would be much more helped by a free software
> product. 

Sure. If they could be assured that the accurate was accurate, etc. as
above. Paying for it gives a certain degree of assurance.

> > Updates could include a digital signed serial number so
> > that copyright violations could be detected.
> I want to urge very strongly that we not include *any* feature like
> this.  Geez, are we now cops on behalf of the software-hoarders too?

On this point, I will agree with you wholeheartedly. Gnucash should not
have this sort of functionality. That's not to say that the data file
cannot have such a thing, just that gnucash has no role to play in
using/verifying that number - although if someone produces custom
reports that somehow use that number, that's up to them.


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