GnuCash and running a business?

Linas Vepstas
Mon, 21 May 2001 14:41:37 -0500

On Mon, May 21, 2001 at 02:20:31PM -0400, Paul Lussier was heard to remark:
> Hi all,
> I'm wondering if I will be capable of (in the future, not 
> necessarilly soon) running a business with GnuCash someday.  Or do 
> you think that (the still vaporware) GnuEnterprise project is better 
> suited for that type of things.

The GnuE people are good people, but GnuEntreprise has a very different 
set of goals.  "Enterprise" is a secret code word used by businesses
to denote software that costs at least $250K or 10 or 20 times that, 
and is used by thousands of users (in one company).   One has to rethink
the infrastructure in that kind of environment, and it is indeed 
infrastructure, not apps, that gnuE is mostly concerned with (right now).
Accounting need not be gnue's first application, there are many other 
interesting things one could build.

> I guess the things that I'd be interested in seeing in
> business-related software would be things like:
> 	- payroll
> 	- project tracking
> 	- billing (time/services)
> 	- personell/materiel management
> etc.
> It seems that financial apps out there today (Soloman, AppGen, SAP, 
> PeopleSoft) are essentially a general ledger (like what GnuCash is 
> today) with modular add-ons that allow you massage the items in 
> question (like milage, lunch, widgets,etc.) into numbers that plug 
> into the general ledger on one hand, but all be manipulated 
> separately on the other for various reports generation.
> This is meant more as a general discussion question, rather than a 
> feature request, since at this time I"m gainfully employed by someone 
> other than myself, and therefore have no current (personal) need for this 
> functionality :)

A better place for this kind of general discussion might be on

> What are the intricacies involved in developing a package that does 
> deliver all this functionality?  I'm sure it requires a significant 
> amount of time/effort, but is it overly complicated, or is it *just* 
> time/effort that needs to be put into coding?  What are the issues 
> involved?

There's three classes of development effort:
1) the kind that merely need a new report type (there are many interesting
   enhancements that are no more than report types).  Adding a new report
   is getting easier, since the infrastructure for reports get revamped and
   much improved.

2) Integration with some other software.  e.g. I'd like to see gnucash
   integrated with evolution, so that we could use its rather nice
   addressbook to store shipping, billing, etc. addresses in gnucash.

   Alternately, I still haven't found any good time-tracker tools
   that could be modified to export qif's so that gnucash could easily
   work with timesheets ...

3) Some new kinds of features require additions to the kinds of data
   the backend stores.  These I like to think of much more seriously,
   since I don't want the backend saddled with poorly thought-out
   data formats that need to be supported and maintained forever.

Upshot: its mostly time & effort.  The current version of gnucash has 
a revamped infrastructure, and so I think we'll be able to do many,
many things without having to rethink/redesign any significant portions
of it.  It should be ready for considerable growth.


> Just curious :)
> -- 
> Seeya,
> Paul
> ----
> 	It may look like I'm just sitting here doing nothing,
>    but I'm really actively waiting for all my problems to go away.
> 	 If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right!
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Linas Vepstas -- --