Operation Sugar-Daddy

Neil Williams linux at codehelp.co.uk
Fri Apr 22 16:40:41 EDT 2005

On Friday 22 April 2005 8:05 pm, Rod Engelsman wrote:
> David J Patrick wrote:
> > While I feel that gnuCash is the state-of-the-art personal finance
> > package, for linux,

I appreciate the acclamation but I'm afraid GnuCash is still some way behind 
state-of-the-art as far as the user interface is concerned and this is 
precisely why *so* much effort is going into the G2 port.

GnuCash, as Derek has already pointed out today, is still a Gnome1.4 
application as far as the packaged code is concerned. All the developers are 
acutely aware that GnuCash is the last mainstream package to rely on 
Gnome1.4, that Gnome1.4 is limiting all development of the user interface and 
that it's time has long since passed. We will wish Gnome1.4 a peaceful 
retirement - just as soon as the G2 port is ready.

Gnome1.4 is OLD and the constraints of that user interface library are simply 
out of date. A lot of problems and bugs will close when Gnome1.4 is finally 
out of the GnuCash interface.

GnuCash IS state-of-the-art in other areas, in particular the double-entry 
accounting engine and business features. The user interface is in need of 
work and that is and must be the primary emphasis of current development. In 
some ways, users don't get to see the capability of the underlying code 
because the user interface gets in the way.

This will become clear with the G2 port - things that users have wanted since 
GnuCash 1.6 and possibly before will become available with quite small 
changes to the core code. There are also larger changes that could be 
introduced into the GnuCash 1.8 line but would cause such headaches that it 
is simply pointless. Far better to put all the new stuff into the G2 port - 
this way users get a whole new interface and new lumps of functionality in 
the underlying code as well. It really isn't far away now.

> > The development team is also suffering from 
> > inadequacies of underlying software technologies, beyond their control.

Not quite beyond our control - it's well within our grasp to move away from 
Gnome1.4 and get up to date with Gnome2.4. It just takes a lot of time and it 
is not finished yet. It's a big jump.

> > gnuCash is so close we can taste it, but to expect the
> > core dev team to bring it the rest of the way, for free, in their spare
> > time, just because it's important, is unreasonable.

I disagree, the development just needs time. It is progressing, there are 
still problems but there are new solutions as well.

All the developers want to complete their work. Everyone wants the best 
application we can devise. Everyone wants their sections to fit well with 
other work. Everyone wants to make the most of the code contributed by the 
rest of the team. It is not unreasonable to expect GnuCash to continue to 
mature and become the application we all want. It IS unreasonable to expect 
that tomorrow. This year? It is certainly possible.

> > The lack of a mature, feature rich, financial app is THE barrier to
> > widespread linux adoption.

Within our sphere, probably. Wider than that? Well, not every Windows user 
even installs a finance package and many Linux users do not either. Linux 
covers many bases, it may be a barrier to widespread desktop adoption by 
those who are interested in computerised accounts, it is not a barrier to 
those who just want a gaming platform or who need servers or clusters or to 
use webcams. Other barriers exist in other areas.

Many Windows users are happy to do what few accounts they want on a 
spreadsheet. Many Linux users will feel the same. Not everyone needs GnuCash 
- we shouldn't delude ourselves that GnuCash is the be all and end all of 
even desktop Linux. The development team has a large enough burden already 
without lumping that on as well, thank you!

> I entered my personal experiment with Linux with high hopes. After all I
> had been using Mozilla and OpenOffice.org for some time, and I knew they
> were available. The one hang-up was the financial app. I could find *no*
> cross-platform open finance app that fit the bill. It's crucial... it's
> my money for God's sake.

More crucial still, it's about tax returns!

Be under no illusions, the developers are fully aware of the criteria and the 
importance of maintaining data integrity, abiding by accounting principles 
and making GnuCash as professional as possible.

Personally, I rely on GnuCash to keep my tax returns in line and if there's a 
problem with the basic accounting in GnuCash, I could be in line for a 
serious fine! There is abundant motivation to get things right!

> At this point I am looking at either KMymoney, running MSMoney under
> wine, or just chucking it all and going back to Winders.

PLEASE wait for the Gnome2 port. I don't want to build up hopes too high, but 
there will be a lot of improvements simply from moving to Gnome2, let alone 
the rest of the work going into the port.


Neil Williams

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