Documentation Questions

Tax Assistance Program - ( taptax ) taptax at
Fri Apr 3 07:56:17 EDT 2009

Hi Christian,

Thanks very much for taking the time to reply to many of my concerns.  Thinking about what you said has generated these comments and questions:

1.  I had missed the significant point you made in distinguishing between enabling the tracking of transactions and bookkeeping activity versus supporting accounting systems.  The first is much less demanding and immediately beneficial to a wider group of users than the second.  That is important to understand when creating and supporting documentation.

2.  How is the documentation process managed?  I picture some sort of draft, review, and finalization process (whether simple or composed of many stages).  How does one enter this effort and what mechanisms need to be used?

3.  Since the actual development of the product has exceeded the pace of the documentation, where do I find a list of features not documented and a brief statement of the purpose of these features?  There must be some sort of notes that established an agreed goal that the programmers used to guide their work.

I have other thoughts but they should wait on the answers to these questions.

I hope to hear from you or the right person to deal with in learning about the documentation process.



P.S.  You can tell Josh that I have switched my membership from tbullock to taptax so that he should not be bothered by having to clear my messages.  Thank you.

-----Original Message-----
From: Christian Stimming [mailto:stimming at] 
Sent: Tuesday, March 31, 2009 3:42 PM
To: gnucash-devel at
Cc: Tax Assistance Program - ( taptax ); gnucash-user (gnucash-user at
Subject: Re: A new user's impression

Dear Tom,

Am Montag, 30. März 2009 01:45 schrieb Tax Assistance Program - ( taptax ):
>  1.  How many countries and accounting systems does GnuCash represent it
> supports?  I am aware of US, UK, Australian, German.  I suppose the various
> languages it is translated into could present variations on the accounting
> used in the English speaking world.  Can anyone speak to how this issue is
> addressed and what limitations are imposed on GnuCash's development?

Countries - As of the *languages*, we support a lot of them. As for the 
*accounting systems*: No, gnucash doesn't support specific accounting systems 
per se; instead, it provides you the technical means to create your set of 
accounts and use them for book-keeping. But whether your set of accounts fit 
into whatever accounting system you need is (currently) outside of the scope 
of gnucash. People are using gnucash in several different accounting systems 
successfully, though.

>  1.  Can GnuCash accommodate account numbers?

Yes: Just as each account has a name, it can also have a number.

>  1.  If numbers are possible in a chart of accounts, can branch reporting
> be accommodated in the account number?


>  1.  I have reviewed the GnuCash Documentation Project home page.  The
> references there seem to talk mainly about versions of the product fairly
> well removed from the current stable version 2.2.9.  I did see that users
> of product versions prior to 2.0 are strongly encouraged to upgrade to the
> more recent version.  Is this situation due mainly to lack of knowledgeable
> volunteers?  It seems to suggest that development is occurring at a pace
> faster than documentation.

Yes, exactly. Most of the documentation was written by some volunteers who 
were very active at a specific point in time (2001/2002, I think), but since 
then nobody has really picked up the task to update this information to the 
development of the program itself. Or in other words: Since 2002 the program 
saw regular contributions from several programmers, but almost none from 
documentation writers, and this is the state the documentation is in.

>   The
> 2.2.9 documentation is most recently dated in 2006.  Is that because there
> has been no substantive development in product capabilities since 2006?

No, this is because nobody has created documentation for new or changed 
product capabilities.

>  1.  In the real world historically there have been just 3 basic classes of
> entities: proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations.  Are there any
> plans on the drawing board to provide illustrated treatments of each of
> these forms of ownership?

No. Some volunteer to describe how to handle those ownerships needs to start 
working on this and send her/his contributions.

>  1.  Since GnuCash seems designed and intended to be flexible enough to
> accommodate organizations of varying sizes, are there any efforts underway
> to provide illustrated charts of accounts as appendices to the Tutorial and
> Concepts Guide? The documents start out with simple concepts and move 
> rather quickly into more sophisticated and real world capabilities.  Do you
> think a new user would be well served to have a model chart to use in
> thinking about his needs?

No, there are no efforts underway; feel free to start one. Yes, we think a new 
user would be well served by this.

> Asking questions and thinking about the answers I get seems to me to be a
> good start.  Does anyone agree with that?




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