Giving up on Gnucash

Rod Engelsman rodengelsman at
Fri Apr 22 21:36:09 EDT 2005

Bryan Phinney wrote:

> My take was, "would you care for a little cheese with your whine?"
> What I don't get is why anyone feels the need to publicly announce that they 
> are abandoning a software application.  When I eat in a restaurant and find 
> the food not to my taste, I don't stand up on a table, discuss my perception 
> of the shortcomings and announce that I won't return.  I have never seen 
> anyone else do that either.  If I did, I would probably question their grasp 
> on reality.
> Exactly what do you hope to gain by doing so?

Believe it or not, constructive criticism and product improvement. If 
all the developers ever hear is, "Yay! Attaboy!" then how will they know 
what needs to be improved?

How many people do you think dl an app like GC, try it out for a while, 
and then abandon it without saying anything?

I would imagine that Derek, Josh, Neil, et al are at least somewhat 
interested, for whatever reason, in having others use and appreciate 
their work. Otherwise, why release it publicly? They could just form a 
little club, use it themselves, and the hell with everybody else.

   First off, if you are
> abandoning the application, whatever you point out as to its shortcomings can 
> simply be ignored, after all, others may not agree with you and you certainly 
> won't be around to trumpet someone actually addressing the issues you 
> present.

I'll keep an eye on the project, and if they're addressed I'll gladly 
come back.

   If your goal was to ask one of the developers to address your
> issues, you could simply have posted a list of requests, asked if they might 
> be considered and waited for a reply.

Been there done that. But at some point you have to decide whether you 
are willing to wait.

> Instead, like some overly dramatic drama queen, 

Is there any other kind?  ;)

you come onto an advocacy/help
> list for an application and publicly announce that you are abandoning the 
> project and going back to a commercial, proprietary application.  And you 
> expected what kind of reaction?  Should we wail and gnash our teeth?  Does 
> this mean the end of Gnucash? After all, without Rod, it can't possibly 
> survive.

Of course not. There are two possibilities:

My concerns are overblown and atypical and I'm just a whiny bitch that 
can be safely ignored.


My concerns represent, in part at least, the views of many others who 
left silently. Enough of those and the project may indeed be in jeopardy 
in the long-term.

It would be a terrible waste of good talent and effort for the project 
to eventually die in favor of some other project that meets the needs of 
users better.

> I don't remember anyone specifically asking me to use Gnucash, perhaps I 
> missed the engraved invitation that you received from the developers.  And 
> that means, perhaps, that peons like me don't matter and my use and absolute 
> appreciation of Gnucash, including double-entry accounting which I absolutely 
> LOVE and wouldn't want any other way, doesn't count for much in the face of 
> Rod's abandonment.  However, if the gracious and talented developers like 
> Derek continue to produce Gnucash, rest assured that a few peons like me will 
> still be here waiting for the improvements.  And I swear now that if I ever 
> feel something lacking in Gnucash, even if for some reason, I decide that I 
> want to use something different, I won't make some melodramatic announcement 
> of my departure to the list.

In which case they won't know why and won't have any feedback for 
improvement. You should work for G. Bush. I hear he likes to surround 
himself with yes-men.

> At any rate, announcing that you no longer wish to use a product automatically 
> disqualifies anything that you point out as being simply sour grapes or 
> pointless trolling.  Pointless as in, who the happy hunting grounds really 
> cares what package you use for your personal finance?  Besides yourself and 
> perhaps your accountant.  If you aren't on the team, I don't care what 
> features or problems you have with your personal finance app.

Microsoft, Intuit, etc. care. You may have just accidently pointed out 
the Achilles hill in open-source software. The lack of a 
customer-oriented relationship. "If you like it, great. If you don't, 
who gives a **** what you think?"

If all they hear is "What a fantastic package!! But could you maybe, 
pretty please add X?" How much weight does that carry? By saying, "These 
are the problems, and they're serious enough for me to give up on this 
for now." I'm letting them know that for this one user at least, and 
probably many more that didn't make that announcement, that the problems 
are serious enough to warrant looking at.

As I mentioned in another post, there's a bug that makes the Loan Druid 
perfectly useless on my installation. This is a stock Fedora Core 3 
install. Not an insignificant distro and not an insignificant user base. 
I find it impossible to believe that I'm the only one with the problem. 
There's a bug in bugzilla that goes back to at least 1.8.4 about it.

> Well, speaking of attitudes, you appear to suffer from a common one yourself.  
> You gleefully point out that you don't have time to wait or actually 
> contribute, rather, either something works the way you want it to or you are 
> off to another package.  I bet if Derek had a nickel for every time someone 
> has taken that type of attitude, he would rival Bill Gates in wealth.   

If I could contribute, I would. But Linux, and by extension the apps 
that run on it, are beyond the stage where developers are the only 
users. That's a fact of life. At some point, it's shit or get off the 
pot. If the project loses it's user base, or never gets much of one, 
then it loses it's reason for being and dies. I personally would hate to 
see that happen; you apparently could care less.

I actually think I care *more* about this project than you do. The fact 
that it just isn't working out for me causes me much frustration. 
There's nothing gleeful about this announcement. And I certainly don't 
relish the idea of moving my data to another app. That's a royal PITA, 
but I figure it's better now than later.

Look at it this way. If I'm right, and certain things about this product 
really *do* need to be reworked and rethought, but because of people 
like you -- the cheerleaders -- the developers have the mistaken notion 
that everything's okay... and then it dies because it lacks a user base...
If that happens it will be partially your fault.

If I'm wrong, and just a PITA drama queen trolling worthless bag of 
salt... then you and everybody else will soon forget me and there will 
be absolutely no harm done.


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