Intro + a bug
Mike or Penny Novack
stepbystepfarm at mtdata.com
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 .
There is no possibility of social justice on a dead planet except the equality of the grave.
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