Giving up on Gnucash

Rod Engelsman rodengelsman at
Fri Apr 22 13:16:35 EDT 2005

Bob W. Anderson wrote:
>>And I know I sounded like an ungrateful ***hole, that wasn't really my 
>>intent. I really *do* appreciate all the hard, unpaid, labor that's gone 
>>into this program. It's just not what I was looking for.
> Rod, this is a private reply. 

And this is a public reply.

    You didn't sound like and "ungrateful
> ***hole",
> you came across as a petulant child not getting what it wants.   Just my
> opinion.
> If the feedback (not asked for) is not welcomed, please delete it.
> Bob in Newport

"Petulant child". That's nice. So if you try a program and it doesn't 
fill your needs, then you should just shut up and like it anyway?

I tried it. I gave it an honest run -- three months -- to eliminate the 
unfamiliarity factor, and have concluded that it's not for me.

When I import downloaded transactions from my bank, the matcher does a 
terrible job. I always have to go back through and delete dups from 
stuff I put in by hand. It insists that I assign balancing accounts to 
checks, but doesn't tell you the check number, so I have to flip through 
the checkbook looking at amounts to match them up. And it doesn't allow 
you to split those transactions on import either, requiring yet more 
manual processing. All-in-all, it takes at least twice as long as it 
used to with MSMoney.

The arrangements of the checks and deposits columns is exactly opposite 
of other programs, as well as the paper checkbook register supplied by 
banks. After thirty years of seeing it one way, why should I force 
myself to see it the other? Small thing? Maybe, but it's caused me to 
make mistakes, particularly when entering split transactions.

I have yet to figure out how to make the tax report thing work right. It 
always gives me errors and the help file doesn't match the program, so I 
can't determine what I'm doing wrong, or if it's simply broken. I didn't 
get much help from this list, either. Apparently either nobody else uses 
it or nobody else can get it to work right, either.

My loan druid is completely hosed for some obscure reason that the 
developers can't figure out. Both the stock installation that came with 
the FC3 distro and the 1.8.11 upgrade both have this problem. It's 
simply broken.

On a related note, loan accounts are treated as simple liability 
accounts. The problem? MSMoney has a feature where you make a payment to 
a loan account and it automatically determines the interest/principal 
split. Granted that won't generally match up exactly with what the 
lender says, but it's very useful for private loans that you want to 
keep track of. And I have that exact situation to deal with, requiring 
me to keep track of that via a spreadsheet and transfer the numbers over 
every time. Cumbersome.

I'm of mixed opinion regarding expense and income accounts vs. the 
category paradigm of other programs. Generally, I think categories are 
more intuitive, since I've always thought of an account as being 
something that someone else has a record of in addition to myself. So 
bank accounts, loans, credit cards, etc. would qualify, but groceries 
wouldn't. On the other hand, it's handy being able to look at an income 
account that way. I also like being able to have several open and 
visible at the same time.

Also, on a positive note, I like the flexibility of the account tree 
compared to the two-level hierarchy of categories you get in other 
programs. That's a definite superiority.

So I have very specific issues: I find the interface un-intuitive and 
confusing, YMMV. Some things are more cumbersome to accomplish, while 
other things are simply broken or missing entirely.

Frankly, I grow weary of the open-source attitude that you can't 
complain or criticize. In the end it doesn't matter much how little 
something costs or whether it's being produced in someone's spare time. 
If it's broken and doesn't do what you want, it's still useless. Well... 
I wouldn't call Gnucash useless, but it is certainly less useful than 
other products I've tried. Literally, if a useful function is missing or 
doesn't work right, then it is by definition, less useful. If it's 
wholly inadequate to the task, then it's useless.


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