Intro + a bug

Mike or Penny Novack stepbystepfarm at
Mon Aug 6 22:07:18 EDT 2007

It was suggested that I join this list in addition to the users list. I 
am a retired senior systems analyst with a few decades experience in 
software for a "financial". Well call that semi-retired as they 
sometimes tempt me back into the "cypher mines" for a little juicy 
consulting. At the moment I am doing an evaluation of GnuCash to see if 
"ready" (close enough to ready) for our purposes and am paralleling 
using the books of a 501(c)3 of which I am treasurer. I don't expect 
that all the special report formats as normally used by non-profits will 
be in place, but hey, they aren't in QuickBooks (supposedly) Non-Profit 
version either --- and presumably if GnuCash passes initial testing I 
can write mods, this being open source.

I would like to do a little more than simply report any problems I find 
from the point of view of an "end user" because with a little help, I 
could. In other words, when I report a problem, if a developer could 
point me to the right "subsystem" I'll look at the code to try to 
include with the bug report not only what is experienced as wrong by the 
end user but why.

Here's the first one. I am of necessity testing GnuCash under Windows 
(sorry, but we can't make it an organizational requirement for Treasurer 
"must be able to run under a 'nix OS). The only interesting problem 
encountered so far is a total inability to save changes to 
preferences/setting. At first I thought this was something I had done 
wrong in set up but no, after much testing, have determined it's a bug.

The initialization routine (I don't know its name) which executes the 
first time a user runs GnuCash, in particular, which creates the .gconf 
directory and it's contents, does not work for all legal Windows XP user 
account names. In other words........

If the XP account is named "Testonly" the initialization will work, the 
directory .gconf and its contents will be created as expected, and 
preference changes can be saved (normal behavior)

If the XP account is named "Test & Retest" (this is a legal XP account 
name) the directory .gconf doesn't get created, and though this user 
will be able to create a set of books and process them normally, save 
them normally, etc. preference changes like turning off "tip of the day" 
or altering the frequency of "autosave" will not take.

Whether the account does or does not have administrator privilege does 
not matter. Sticking in a .gconf directory from another account doesn't 
fix it. More an annoyance than anything else (can always set up another 
XP account with a different name in which to run GnuCash). I suspect 
that very few Windows users have an account name with <space> and 
<ampersand> in them  so no surprise something like this would have 
passed through alpha and beta testing without detection. If somebody 
would point me to the right routines I'll have a look. Probably a string 
processing error and most likely the <space> being mistaken for end of 
string.  Most of my career worked in COBOL and BAL (IBM mainframe 
assembler)  but am reasonably fluent in C (will need to learn Scheme 
when tinkering with reports, but hey, when you have learned a dozen 
languages, what's one more).

Meanwhile, I understand that "close the books" isn't working. If whoever 
is the developer on that portion wants a hand, please get in touch. 
Unlike the problem I just reported (nuisance, not serious, unlikely to 
affect many people) the lack of a working "close the books" routine 
would be a serious "minus" in my evaluation because while can be done by 
hand, onerous if there is a large number of income and expense accounts. 
I am not in a position to offer to "take over" since I can't make a long 
term commitment not to return to paid work should a tempting offer 
arrive* but at the moment have time available.

Michael D Novack, FLMI    (the FLMI is an "insurance" designation)

* I'm not actively SEEKING paid consulting work, not on any head hunter 
lists  -- but I don't turn down "help" requests from my ex-employer . 
Totally unpredictable.

There is no possibility of social justice on a dead planet except the equality of the grave.

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