Disable editing of transactions, is it possible?

Jeff Kletsky gnucash at allycomm.com
Tue Jan 18 14:55:32 EST 2011

Rather than beating ourselves against the potential "stupidity" of 
government regulations, perhaps considering it as a "useful feature" and 
coming up with some requirements would be productive. One of the things 
I *hated* about Quick-whatever was that you could totally screw things 
up unintentionally. I'd welcome a feature that "locked down" 
transactions that I had, for example, marked as "cleared" or 
"reconciled" one or more constituent splits.

What data would need to be locked from UI editing?

My first stab would be:
* Date of transaction
* For each split
   - amount of split
   - target account
* Number of splits

This would allow notes and descriptions to be updated, but not the core 
financial data

When would the UI lock need to be applied?

On first entry seems like the most conservative, but potentially very, 
very annoying ("Oh &^%$&, I didn't mean to click there and now that 
entry is locked.") When one or more constituent splits were marked as 
"cleared" or "reconciled" seems like a natural point for me, but may not 
meet the requirements of the tax codes or GAAP of the jurisdictions.

An interpretation on the applicable Swedish and German codes would be 
most helpful for answering both of these.

On 01/18/2011 10:07 AM, Daniel Karlsson wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 18, 2011 at 1:38 PM, Mike or Penny Novack<
> stepbystepfarm at mtdata.com>  wrote:
>>    Adding an option to make transactions
>>>> read-only/disable editing may seem unnecessary, in fact the only purpose
>>>> of this would be to make the software available to Swedish accountants in
>>>> smaller firms and organisations. If one would want to cook the books this
>>>> feature will do nothing what so ever to stop him, but this feature would
>>>> make the software comply to Swedish law.
>>> Misunderstanding what I was saying?
>> Perhaps the Swedish lawmakers need to call in Swedish systems analysts to
>> explain this to them.  I was saying that no software CAN be compliant with
>> "prevents the data from being altered". What such software COULD do is
>> prevent that alteration unless other (unrelated) laws and civil restrictions
>> were violated in the process. Thus the terms of your license with some
>> commercial software product likely says that you are not allowed to examine
>> the code and/or internal data formats and may not use the code for other
>> purposes of your own.
>> But that's not "in the code" but in the licenses.
>> Let me try to make this clear. Let's suppose that the developers did
>> exactly what you suggest, created a "Swedish version" which had a line of
>> code that disabled the edit transaction process. But this is OPEN SOURCE
>> SOFTWARE. Are we to suppose that Swedish programmers/analysts* are too
>> incompetent at their craft to be able to create a "slightly modified"
>> version to be used when one wanted to edit the data? This isn't a task of
>> writing an entirely different version of the program but changing just a
>> couple lines of source code and recompiling.
>> The only way I can interpret the law in this case is making OPEN SOFTWARE
>> illegal for accounting purposes.
>> Michael D Novack
>> * or ones elsewhere anywhere in the world who for whatever reason wished to
>> do this and offer their version to Swedes
>> --
>> There is no possibility of social justice on a dead planet except the
>> equality of the grave.
> To be honest I hadn't considered the roles licenses plays in this, and
> neither am I an expert on law, far from it, but I believe that software
> doesn't have to prevent the data from being altered, just making the option
> unavailable is enough. If someone change the code of the  "Swedish version"
> to allow editing and used it to edit transactions might be considered the
> same as writing a tool to access some proprietary database to change
> transactions, Of course the editing of GnuCash isn't illegal, but using such
> an edited version to change transactions would be.
> Several Swedish accounting programs store files in plaintext, or some easily
> accessed database. The data is in no way protected against tampering, yet
> they are approved simply because the GUI does not allow it. Yes, this law
> isn't attuned to the reality and Swedish lawmaker do need someone to explain
> that to them. But adding an option in GnuCash might be easier than to change
> the mind of the government :P
> One way to implement this would be to make the option to make transactions
> read-only available when creating a new file. I'm not familiar with CnuCashs
> design so I don't know if that's a viable solution, but from a Swedish users
> perspective that would be perfect.
> If a patch was submitted, making the option to make transactions read-only,
> would it be accepted?
> Daniel
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