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Trading the Markets With FOSS Software?

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the free-markets-deserve-free-software dept.

The Almighty Buck 417

Robert writes "Along with many other techies, I share an interest in the world of finance (bubble-era stock options pulled me in). Unfortunately, as someone with a strong preference for GNU/Linux as my operating system of choice, I have found that software in this area seems quite sparse. For awhile I have made do with Python, R, Gnumeric, Gnucash and a telephone, along with some small utilities I have written myself. What I would like to know is: what FOSS software do you use for financial analysis, trading, system development, and testing in a Un*x environment? Are there programs you would like to see written or ported? Do any brokerages, data providers, or other services provide good support for we the few? And finally, what commercial entities do you know of that are using FOSS software in their operation?"

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buy Nortel buy Nortel (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25063813)

this stock is great buy nortel buy nortel good north american stock nortel is great buy buy buy
recommended +5 AAA

Signed,
Anonymous Coward

Re:buy Nortel buy Nortel (3, Funny)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 6 years ago | (#25063979)

I find your views on investing interesting and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

What? (0, Offtopic)

VoltCurve (1248644) | more than 6 years ago | (#25063819)

What is a GNU/Linux? I've heard of Linux before, and I've heard of RMS and his fanatics before, why are they smashed together?

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25064087)

Linux is the kernel, GNU is the toolset sitting around it.

try googling the string "GNU/Linux", and fail at trolling less.

The best tool... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25063827)

is a dartboard.

It's unfortunately not available on most distros, but building yourself isn't too hard.
The dependencies are merely a wall, and Newton's three laws of motion.

Re:The best tool... (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 6 years ago | (#25063855)

Optional upgrades- poison and a blowgun, along with photos of the guy who's getting billions in free money from the goverment while your portfolio tanks.

Re:The best tool... (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064671)

actually, I think darts would work fine without Newton's Third Law.

The NYSE runs linux (2, Interesting)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 6 years ago | (#25063833)

SEE [slashdot.org]

Re:The NYSE runs linux (4, Insightful)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064017)

That's nice, but I think he's more interested in analysis and management tools rather than actually running a stock market...

Real Men Hack The NYSE Directly. (0, Flamebait)

GNUChop (1310629) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064627)

It's got to be cheaper than spending your life savings and retirment in a bubble.

Hmmm (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25063843)

Lehman, Merrill, AIG, HBOS all used lots of FOSS IIRC.

Screw automated trading; screw Ben Bernanke, screw McCain-Bush. I'm going to be foreclosed because I lost my job in the operations dept at Merrill and I can't refinance my mortgage. Why should they get a bailout? Quants screwed over my life and I want them to pay.

Re:Hmmm (5, Funny)

DigitAl56K (805623) | more than 6 years ago | (#25063955)

Did you lose billions of dollars in the stock market? Don't have enough cash to cover your debts? Call the Federal Reserve hotline! You could have $85bn in your checking account by tomorrow, no collateral or responsibility required! 1-800-FED Call now and we'll start a commission to get investors off your back for free!*

*offer applies with enrollment in triple advantage and is subject to a vote for John McCain

Re:Hmmm (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25064207)

no collateral or responsibility required!

Ummm...please check your facts. AIG's assets are collateral and the loan is 11%+. I pay a lot less than than that on the equity lines and mortgages I have with my real estate investments. Sure, it's a bail out, but AIG's going to spend some big bucks paying it back or lose big time.

Financial Literacy is most people's problem, thus their finances are a problem.

Re:Hmmm (3, Informative)

snilloc (470200) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064359)

Not only is the interest rate over 11%, but the Feds took a 79.9% equity stake in AIG. The US Taxpayer now owns 80 percent of AIG.

doofus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25064495)

The Fed, who are allowed to print up new money on a whim, are seizing them by "loaning" money that was poof created. All the little stockholders at AIG are getting the shaft. Wake up and smell the fascism. This whole collapse is an elaborate charade and part of the big ripoff scam, great depression version two.

The federal reserve private bank is a clear and present danger to the People of the United States. Go google for what Jefferson said about turning over the currency to private banks, what would eventually happen.(Hint, it has 98% come true, and the last two percent is the really sucky part)

Your "investments" are soon to be *theirs* and you don't even see it coming yet! After all these clues this year! You think you are special or something? It's the big mass ripoff and they won't leave any stone unturned because they got away with it so far, no mass revolt.

If you don't have clear title to properties, you ain't got nuthin but promises made by chronic serial liars and master thieves. If you think they are going to allow the little people to game the system against them, you're wallowing in cognizant dissonance. Wake up, this is 2008, not 1998, you are going to get stuck with a pile of worthless paper IOUs except YOUR IOUs that you still owe will bite ya. This stuff isn't even hardly started going down yet, it's just begun.

Re:doofus (0, Troll)

Linux_ho (205887) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064553)

Wake up and smell the fascism ??? How about, wake up and smell the socialism?

Re:Hmmm (4, Insightful)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 6 years ago | (#25063975)

Why screw McCain-Bush (as if the two were related anyway)? The housing bubble, which is undoubtedly the cause of the economic downturn, came about because democrats on capital hill thought every American should be able to live the "American dream," and buy houses which they couldn't afford. They urged the major lenders to to get into sub-prime lending, which they wouldn't have done otherwise because it's terrible risk management. I believe many republicans were also in on this, so at best it's quite bipartisan.

You can blame a lot on Bush, including the terrible budgeting since that's an executive job, but the economy, not so much. Not unless you're a tool of Nancy Pelosi and Reid. I know it's popular around here to blame everything on Bush, but get the facts. Be enlightened.

Re:Hmmm (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25064043)

Yeah, the ownership society is a democrat invention. Your intellectual prowess and skill at research astounds me. Want a bridge in Alaska?

Re:Hmmm (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25064233)

Well, you have some facts skewed and some misplaced causality.

In 1999, Republicans wanted less regulation, causing investment banks to make create financial derivatives to hide risk and gain back their margins and bonuses, where normal banks could now compete.

Second of all, remember Bush touting the "Ownership Economy" where the sub-primes had artificially elevated the percentage of citizen's who lived in homes they owned?

Hardly sounds like a left-wing plot of the Democrats altering private banks attitude of lending via mind-control.

Less regulation, market forces, and human animus(greed, aggression, and fear), which if totally unchecked/balanced by other concerns can spell disaster.

Re:Hmmm (5, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064623)

Read this 2003 NY Times article [nytimes.com] about Republican efforts to increase regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. There is plenty of blame to go around. Here's a little snippet from the article:
  Among the groups denouncing the proposal today were the National Association of Home Builders and Congressional Democrats who fear that tighter regulation of the companies could sharply reduce their commitment to financing low-income and affordable housing.

''These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis,'' said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ''The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.''

Representative Melvin L. Watt, Democrat of North Carolina, agreed.

''I don't see much other than a shell game going on here, moving something from one agency to another and in the process weakening the bargaining power of poorer families and their ability to get affordable housing,'' Mr. Watt said.
 
I'm not a proponent of either party - and so I think it makes it easier to see that they are both grossly incompetent for the most part.

Re:Hmmm (1)

Mansing (42708) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064259)

They urged the major lenders to to get into sub-prime lending, which they wouldn't have done otherwise because it's terrible risk management.

So the major lenders are easily swayed by suggestion? Some how this doesn't sound quite right unless all the major lenders are managed by complete financial idiots. More likely, they saw lots of profits, and the White House (Mr. Clinton at the time) gave them a convenient excuse to exercise unbridled greed and usury.

/me leaves to continue burying the gold in the yard

Re:Hmmm (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25064293)

The housing bubble was caused by the de-regulation of the mortgage markets that allowed mortgages to be divided up into little pieces and sold off in the stock market (mortgage-backed securities). In case you didn't know, McCain and Bush are big proponents of deregulation. You may be right (democrats want everyone to have a house and republicans want deregulation) and that's the formula that got us into this mess. As you said, a bipartisan effort made it happen. But you're not giving the republicans all the credit they deserve.

Bush is still culpable (5, Insightful)

tacokill (531275) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064331)

Say what you want about the origins of the problem but there is no doubt whatsoever that regulation of securities (via the SEC) has been totally and 100% completely absent during all of this.

That, most definitely, happened on Bush's watch. The "laissez-faire" philosophy of the republicans sounds and looks a lot like Hoover right now. They have, literally, let Wall Street run itself. And you can see the end result on the front pages everyday. Whats the saying? Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Look, I am no regulation lover but even the staunchest of conservative economists recognize free markets must have some regulation to insure a fair playing field. Under this administration -- there has been NONE.

Do you realize that many firms were allowed to leverage up 30 to 1? Let me break down what that means for the /. crowd. Say you have a $10 watch. You go to a pawn shop for a loan and they loan you what? I'd say about $5 or so. Certainly something less than the value of the watch, right? Well, on Wall Street lately, they've been getting $300 loans based on that $10 watch.

That is totally fucked up and should have never happened. End of story.

Re:Bush is still culpable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25064473)

Why do people always ignore the role of congress. It's all of their fault.

Because Congress doesn't appoint them (2, Insightful)

tacokill (531275) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064667)

I never reply to AC's but I am making an exception.

The executive branch appoints people to run institutions like the SEC, FCC, etc. Those people appointed have totally abdicated their responsibility to the people. The entire purpose of the SEC is to make it a "level playing field" with respect to financial disclosure and equity trading. It is not.

Why? Because nobody in those posts is enforcing ANYTHING. And they haven't for a very long time. Yes, Congress makes the rules. But if nobody enforces them, are they really rules?

Re:Hmmm (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25064399)

>The housing bubble, which is undoubtedly the cause of the economic downturn

Undoubtedly the cause? The single cause?

Really?

We spend enough on military crap to buy everybody in the country a new house every year,
and you blame the whole economic collapse on the reduction of a few percentage points of value in a fixed asset that most people would not liquidate *anyway*....

Re:Hmmm (4, Interesting)

Oswald (235719) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064453)

You need to inform yourself. First of all, the housing bubble was primarily fueled by errors on Wall Street, not Washington. The explosive growth of the mortgage-backed security industry created an environment that gave people lots of incentive to do really stupid things, like loan people money without requiring them to invest significantly in what they were purchasing or demonstrate that they had the money to pay back the loan. Secondly, here [businessweek.com] is just one of many available articles explaining that the really big hit has come from borrowers with good credit ratings and sufficient cash flow who simply do not wish to continue to pay the mortgage on a house that is no longer worth nearly what they paid for it. It turns out that you can default on your mortgage and all they can take is your house, not your other assets (who knew?).

Anyway, it's certainly not "authoritative," but here [google.com] is a funny and true cartoon that does a pretty fair job of explaining how the screwed up incentives turned normal people in financial fuck-up machines.

Well, you're sure enlightened... (1)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064701)

Yeah, this will be an endless worthless flame war, but I'm sorry you are living in some kind of fantasy land man. The whole Republican Party is rotted to the core. Sure, once maybe it stood for something, now it is just the tool of those who are utterly unprincipled and for whom nothing is unthinkable. No lie is too base, no act unconscionable.

No politician in 21st century Amerika dares to cross the line of the Corpocrats who effectively run everything. Look where the money flows my friend, the 100 richest families in the US gained $670 BILLION DOLLARS in network in the last 7 years. If you cross them, they just edit you out of the news cycle friend. There's no end to the dirty money and no way you'll stay in office.

The real estate bubble was caused by the fact that Wall St in its infinite greed simply kept ratcheting up the leverage and lowering its lending standards until the lid popped off the whole house of cards (good mixed metaphore, eh). Where were all the regulators? Oh, I forgot, a 'free market' means we don't actually pay attention to those pesky LAWS anymore! Just buy them lunch and hire them for some cushy jobs when they retire and its no problem.

Doesn't help that your precious Republicans happily dismantled as much of that oversight as they possibly could. NOW the Corpocrats are using the Republicans to spend MY money to bail out their carelessly run (or looted) companies? Forget it. NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN AGAIN AS LONG AS YOU LIVE. If John McAncient had 1/10th of the integrity he pretends to he wouldn't even be able to stomach calling himself one.

But don't worry, they won't have to pay, because they've already probably just ignored the last possible chance they had to even possibly avert an environmental catastrophe so vast that in a few years eating will be a luxury and nobody will even know what the word 'vote' means.

Re:Hmmm (3, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064111)

Quants screwed over my life and I want them to pay.

That's the thing. They can't!

Re:Hmmm (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064237)

That's never stopped my creditors.

Re:Hmmm (2, Funny)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064145)

screw McCain-Bush

No thanks.

Re:Hmmm (2, Insightful)

tedu_again (980692) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064345)

Next time buy what you can afford.

Re:Hmmm (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25064431)

When I took the mortgage out 8 years ago I budgeted for being able to afford 3 months out of work without any problems. But mortgage interest rates have gone crazy. LIBOR isn't my problem, I'm just a cog. And if they're not going to refinance then how is it my fault.

Screw you too.

Re:Hmmm (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25064693)

It's your fault because you tried to predict the future and failed. There isn't anyone else to blame for your desire to finance more than you would be able to afford should things turn sour.

Or perhaps you think that you have some right to a favorable housing market that behaves as you desire? Probably. The culture of entitlement runs strong here at Slashdot.

Re:Hmmm (3, Interesting)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064505)

>Next time buy what you can afford.

Many did, and then saw the economy collapse around them, changing the nature of "what they can afford".

Some of these were unable to liquidate their real estate, because to do so would require them to literally pay a mortgage on the amount of money that the property declined by.

In my case, it has forced me to decline certain job opportunities because relocation is not an option, because of real estate values. (I would not seek, nor do I believe anyone will offer, a $45,000 relocation bonus to start, and that's what it would cost me to walk away from my home, never mind the fact that I like where I'm living and would prefer a *benefit*, not just a break-even proposition, for relocating.)

My story is not at all uncommon. I'm not bankrupt, but I'm at the threshold. And I have university degrees, more than a decade of experience, and the real estate in question is a modest property.

Re:Hmmm (1)

sukotto (122876) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064409)

Sure they do/did ... in the IT department. The traders and researchers don't use any of that though. They use Excel, or the stuff built into their Bloomberg turrets.

Re:Hmmm (1)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064679)

Get off slashdot and go get a job already.

Web-based vs Desktop vs Palmtop (3, Interesting)

FraterNLST (922749) | more than 6 years ago | (#25063867)

I've started looking at this too as i've picked up some stock recently, and it is a difficult proposition (given that i'm not really willing to pay for a commercial solution).

Personally, I absolutely love the interface of Google's stock ticker - the interface is nice, the information is top notch. The problem being of course that there's way in any of the nine layers i'd trust google with my portfolio information. The big advantage of a local program in my mind is that the information you put in, even if it is only "I want to track these stocks" is kept wholly to yourself and not stored on some remote server where you have to trust the hoster not to take a peek.

In the end i've been using the default stock program that came on the iPhone to watch the stock prices. Thats all it will do, that and a short graph history, and it uses the yahoo info instead of the google, but it's close to realtime and it's stored (I hope) on the iPhone. Course, Yahoo can still see which stocks i'm requesting, so maybe in the end it makes no difference.

Ideal would be a device-based solution that could draw down the information, either from google/yahoo or direct from the *sx, and hold information regarding you portfolio too - but locally, so theres no worry of the monetary values being shunted across the net to the infovores.

Re:Web-based vs Desktop vs Palmtop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25064343)

Why wouldn't you trust Google with your portfolio information? What do you think they would do with it?

Re:Web-based vs Desktop vs Palmtop (1)

FraterNLST (922749) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064649)

Why would you trust -anyone- with your portfolio information? Has it become old-fashioned to believe that financial status and business is no-ones business but your own?

I have no idea what possible use Google (or anyone) could make out of knowing how much of which shares I own, what they're worth, and how much I'm up/down in the current market. There might be no advantage whatsoever they could make out of that information.

Personally, I'd rather not give them the chance to experiment and find out. That's just me, I like to keep my privacy regardless of whether or not it would hurt not to have it. Once you give it up, it's gone, and if you figure out it hurts later - too bad.

Re:Web-based vs Desktop vs Palmtop (1)

mcbiondi (879388) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064641)

I don't understand. Why are you worrying if others know your positions? Especially if your just buying and holding (which admittedly you may not be). Think of it this way - you've already bought, maybe they'll say - Hey, that's a good idea, and buy it too, driving up the price for you.

Re:Web-based vs Desktop vs Palmtop (1)

FraterNLST (922749) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064695)

That's a good point, there isn't any real damage that could be done to me from knowing my positions in the market. Not with respect to the positions anyway. I haven't pissed off anyone enough that they would dump stock to hurt my position, and i'm nowhere near so deeply invested that something like that would work anyway ;)

It is still information that is considered private however. A lot of people don't like openly discussing their finances - but what bothers me more is knowing just how much information about me is out there. I have left a sizeable footprint over the years across the net and it's important to stop and think about just how much information you freely make available to people who are not necessarily going to tell you how they'll use it.

Doesn't it bother anyone else that there are these huge stores of information about them sitting out there, churning away, doing their best to find a way to make a profit from what they know?

Let me save you the trouble (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25063879)

There is none. You will get lots of recommendations to "hack it" with a hodgepodge of crap like the one you seem to be using right now, but that gets you nowhere.

There is no quality trading/management trading software on any OS other than Windows that bears even a passing mention.

Posting AC because people around here tend to get tender and defensive when someone dares suggest that their techno-religious experience is not absolutely perfect for everyone in the planet. Email and surfing the web? Linux is great. This? Don't waste your time and just stick with Windows.

(cue twitter to tell me [slashdot.org] how I "hate freedom")

Re:Let me save you the trouble (1)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064009)

There is no quality trading/management trading software on any OS other than Windows that bears even a passing mention.

You are correct, sir. It's the only platform trading software companies deal with, unfortunately.

Re:Let me save you the trouble (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25064491)

Have you used Firefox on Linux? It crashes more than Windows NT. And what are you supposed to use for email? mutt? Thunderbird? ye gads, Evolution?

Is there even single compelling application for Linux that any ordinary person would even give a second glance?*

*Note - Steve Jobs and Apple managed to write a windowing system and tool-kit from scratch and a ton of compelling applications that drew people to the platform while Linux developers were busy implementing a scheme scripting engine for their spreadsheet program that nobody cares about despite having limited resources and an angry mob of shareholders, none of which Linux developers have to deal with, yet there are still barely any good desktop apps for Linux that aren't blown away by their commercial rivals.

Cathedral and Bazaar? My ass. If your cathedral is a run down shack full of idiots and money grubbers like Microsoft it's no wonder the bazaar does better.

Re:Let me save you the trouble (5, Informative)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064703)

Areed. I spent 3 months trying to find a good solution. If you've got buckets of money, NxCore ( http://www.nanex.net/NxCore/NxCore.htm [nanex.net] - prices start at $500/month) and any of the brokers that support a FIX API (for which you can expect to pay a hefty fee, too; Interactive Brokers (IB - http://www.interactivebrokers.com/ [interactivebrokers.com] ) for example charge a one time $500 fee, OANDA ( http://www.oanda.com/ [oanda.com] ) charge $600 for the first two months then an ongoing subscription fee if you trade $12mil/month or something).

For those people not wanting to pour money into it, as good as you can get is Interactive Broker's Trader Workstation (TWS), and JBookTrader (http://code.google.com/p/jbooktrader/) or a custom trading platform that talks to their API. TWS is a pain that lacks automated login (for security reasons) and auto-exits every 24 hours (for... err... security reasons?), but it gets the job done. Data feed can be an issue still, though; IB offer up to 100 symbols at a time, and a basic historical data service, but some people dislike the fact they drop price ticks during busy market times (over 10 prices per second) and the historical data service is paced so you can only do a limited of number of requests (about one every ten seconds I believe).

In short though, AC is right; use Windows, it may well be less painful. Really.

EclipseTrader (5, Informative)

TheNarrator (200498) | more than 6 years ago | (#25063881)

EclipseTrader [sourceforge.net] is probably the most advanced open source trading program. It interfaces with some trading platforms and intra-day data feeds. It has several hundred technical indicators. It also is very expandable and easy to write modules for (in Java). I wrote some technical analysis modules for the back-testing system and was fairly impressed with how well it worked as it is based on the very solid OSGI/Eclipse model. I'd say it actually competes fairly well with some of the proprietary trading platforms I have used, especially if you are a Java coder and want to add modules to it to aid in implementing your particular trading style.

Re:EclipseTrader (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25064035)

Last time I tried EcT it consistently crashed on my Gentoo machine without warning, and it consumes unholy amounts of memory. I never trusted it enough to actually use it as a trading platform. For keeping an eye on your accounts and whatnot it's fine, but unless they've made heroic strides in the past five months, it's probably still unstable. And for that particular purpose I can use the excellent only Google interface.

The community around it is also rather thin, and (IMO) actually downright hostile to recommendations and bug reports.

Frankly, I'd rather trust being able to burst a sell order to an application that a company has spent a few millions developing and actively supports than to a "community project". So far I haven't had any problems with the former. Sure, I have to dual boot into Windows (no WINE for the one I use, at least not yet), but this is my livelyhood we're talking about.

Re:EclipseTrader (2, Interesting)

TheNarrator (200498) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064093)

Well if you want to go with a proprietary trading tool that runs well on Linux, the "think or swim" trading platform/brokerage has a Java Client that runs on Linux.

Scottrade (here in my city) is a HUGE Linux DC (1)

zerolock (1186921) | more than 6 years ago | (#25063893)

They have a huge pair of Linux data centers... but that said - I do all my financial analysis with web tools from my bank and Online Brokerage.

FOSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25063899)

I use Firefox [firefox.com]

From what I've seen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25063919)

Financial analysis tools are highly valued commodities. Investment companies spend millions of dollars a year on them. These are probably more high-end than what you are looking for of course, but I would imagine that is a reason why you might have a hard time finding one.

I would imagine someone must have developed something like this in academia somewhere, I suggest asking an economics professor. (I remember using matlab and another bit of software for regression analysis, the name eludes me atm).

An amazing amount of analysis is done in excel ... but again not what you are looking for.

Tons of stuff out there: (4, Informative)

teknopurge (199509) | more than 6 years ago | (#25063953)

I understand that the submitter doesn't know what is out there, but if you ever have a trading account you're likely to have API access to your broker's systems. I recommend Interactive Brokers as their TWS software has a lot of different language bindings.

In finance you don't look for "FOSS" tools, you go to your broker, get API access, and write them yourself.

Technical analysis SW for Linux: Qtstalker (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25064049)

There's quite a decent (altough not very polished) charting + technical analysis program for Linux called Qtstalker: http://qtstalker.sourceforge.net/ . You can import stock quotes from Yahoo finance or other sources automatically, or commodity/stock data from .csv files, which most data suppliers offer for download.

What?! (0)

runlevelfour (1329235) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064069)

Am I the only one who sees the contradiction in wanting to use open sourced software to trade stocks of companies that operate for profit? Understandably there are some companies who are open source that turn a profit but your typical for-profit enterprise and their methods are the reason open source came into existence. You just know there is someone out there buying Microsoft stock on their Debian box via Ice Weasel....

Re:What?! (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064125)

Friend, as long as there is capitalism or closed source, the FOSS movement will have to be compatible with it. You wouldn't say that Samba is a crime against humanity, now would you?

Re:What?! (2, Insightful)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064267)

Yes you're the only one. The rest of us don't mistake open source to mean some anti-capitalist campaign but rather a way to make and distribute good software.

Re:What?! (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064617)

Really, it's just you. Me, I like my trading software open source so I can see what the hell is going on inside, and I release my own work from time to time (it's far too rough to link to on /., but there are copies drifting aorund) so people have a platform to work from.

Think Or Swim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25064081)

www.thinkorswim.com

No I don't work for them, but they're great. Discount options/stock/futures broker, with amazing desktop trading software that is Java-based (they support Windows, Linux, and OS X). Weekly seminars on trading topics. Autotrade. Powerful charting and analysis. Etc. I've been with them for two years and I am very happy.

Interactive Brokers (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25064133)

Interactive Brokers has a Java based client which runs nicely in linux. It provides an API for C++ and Java to execute trades and get data. OpenTick provides historical data and realtime data via an API in Java or C++.

It is not open source, but it does run in Linux.

Who allows you to trade by computer? (2, Interesting)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064155)

Is there anywhere a small can find a computerised market in the first place? Are there firms who allow specifies a communications protocol and lets you to trade by computer or does one have to do web scraping to automate things?

There are some free terminals out there (1)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064509)

Specific places do offer terminals at very low prices. As to whether or not they would like it if you were running your own software instead of using their terminal, eh... Probably not.

Here's the problem. It takes a significant amount of net capital, not to mention you have to be a brokerage and a FINRA member, etc.

The market for "do-it-yourselfers" has to be incredibly small. Add in the fact they will be potentially high liability customers (heaven knows what sort of trading these people will do, but experience says they will mostly loose money big time). It doesn't really look like a very sustainable business model, nor even profitable enough for an existing firm to want to go after that market.

Technologically it is easy. I have a system that can easily do it, take in orders over FIX, sanitize them, do risk analysis, and route them either via a clearing firm system or DMA with a giveup in theory.

We have considered that the most likely possibility would be to form a coop and essentially just pool resources of small brokers and possibly individuals to provide the capital requirements and supply everyone with basic services like compliance reporting. Then it might be feasible, but don't hold your breath.

FINRA is TOTALLY corrupt. They're entirely controlled by a few big firms (and just that many fewer and bigger as of the last couple weeks). They're main function right now is to crush anything else. At best it is a real uphill battle.

Interactive Brokers's Java trading platform (TWS) (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25064167)

Interactive Brokers [interactivebrokers.com] has a Java-based
Trader Workstation [interactivebrokers.com] ("TWS") and they explicitly support Linux. They offer almost anything you can get anywhere, including mutual funds, stocks, options, futures (commodity & financial), currency, and foreign stocks. Commissions are 10x lower than Charles Schwab if you trade often (if you don't then a minimum monthly commission kicks in).

TWS is a large, cumbersome Java applet, but it works tolerably well on a fast machine (and there's not much alternative on Linux)

One annoyance is that they only support jdk 1.5.0_x (not the current 1.6.x), I think because of some concurrency bugs in their code (they claim the newer Java is buggy). However TWS generally does work with the latest jdk, but they won't support it.

IB's telephone support is sometimes rude, the opposite of "hand holding". I guess they have only a few over-worked support people to keep costs down. Also, they only provide on-line statements and never send physical mail except for annual 1099 tax forms. So, be sure your spouse/executor knows you have an IB account, because if you die there will be no monthly statements to clue them!

In summary, IB is good, despite their warts. If you trade a few times a month or more, it's worth the hassles.

Tech people interested in finance = backwards (1, Flamebait)

TechnicolourSquirrel (1092811) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064181)

I don't know *any* techies who are interested in the 'world of finance'. In fact, as a group, they tend to hate it with a passion exceeded only by that of artists. But I hear there are a hell of a lot of *financiers* with an interest in the world of *tech*. The confusion is understandable. Update worldview accordingly.

Re:Tech people interested in finance = backwards (2, Insightful)

X_Bones (93097) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064349)

Just because the people you talk to appear to be inexplicably (and idiotically) uninterested in tracking their 401Ks, or watching the stock and options they got from their employer, or trying to make a buck by picking up cheap stock before we start climbing out of this hole, doesn't mean the rest of us are too. Maybe you should take your own advice and update your own worldview.

Re:Tech people interested in finance = backwards (1)

RpiMatty (834853) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064469)

I've been thinking about getting interested in the financial world lately. In my ignorant view of the economy, we are near/at a bottom point, and there are probably some good investments that can be made right now.
What are some good websites/newspapers to start reading that are informative?

Re:Tech people interested in finance = backwards (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064573)

Fidelity.com
AAII.org
Vanguard.com

are two good places to start.

Re:Tech people interested in finance = backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25064467)

Techies who sell their product and/or their company to another company get interested in the world of finance PDQ since they're suddenly sitting with several million in the bank.

Re:Tech people interested in finance = backwards (1)

Joe Snipe (224958) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064663)

I'm not sure how flamebait gets modded insightful; you basically made the statement that techies find an entire world full of systems analysis and algorythm matching possibility completely uninteresting. Might I suggest that you should change your worldview, perhaps find more mature people to hang out with?

Timely and Topical, ... (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064235)

... however, given the state of the markets right now, wouldn't it just be easier to pick up the phone, call your broker, and have him dump the stock you're looking to bail on?

All my savings since January has been in CDs and/or savings accounts, riding this out. But then, I'm only 24 and I don't have much anyway.

Don't waste your time (3, Insightful)

tacokill (531275) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064241)

Any trading platform is only as good as the data it gets.

Not to sound like an ass but anyone who is that serious about trading needs to invest in a Bloomberg terminal [billpapa.org] . If you are just dinking around - that's one thing. But the summary seems to indicate you are looking for a "serious" trading platform. Don't waste your time with FOSS. FOSS has it's place but a trading platform is not it. Go with a proven solution.

There are plenty of "active trader" platforms out there from a variety of brokers. Most that I have see are Java apps. I run Schwab's web-based active trading on Linux all the time but even it is a simplified version of the real thing.

Also, one more thing to consider: I would hate to find out that my FOSS trading platform had a bug. If it's bad enough, it could be devastating and totally wipe you out. Do you really want to take on that kind of risk? This really isn't the place to be "testing" your trading platform when real dollars are at stake.

Now....analysis is a different beast. FOSS might have a place there. I don't know but I see no reason to reinvent the wheel when there are FAR better solutions already out there. I have yet to see anything from FOSS that is compelling. And no -- MS Money/Quicken imitators are NOT what we are talking about here. Not even close.

Re:Don't waste your time (1)

boredandatwork (1339259) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064329)

As far as being able to use a FOSS platform, Reuters provides data/infrastructure software that is specifically geared toward *nix use, including C++ and Java APIs, however, most of it is enterprise level and typically outside of the scope of the individual user. If you're running a moderate to large scale firm full of day traders, it would be the way to go, if not, I'm sure something like E-Trade (ugh) would work just fine in Firefox.

TD Ameritrade has API (2, Informative)

CyrusOmega (1261328) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064271)

I use TD Ameritrade's API (and really nice Java based real-time market tool) which has everything I need for gathering data. Beyond running some perl scripts on the data to generate some basic statistical plots for gnuplot I don't use many other tools. I found that most success in the markets isn't how well you read the past but rather how well you understand the present and can forecast reasonable risk/reward actions.

I know I don't actually mention any FOSS solutions but as a mostly FOSS user this is how I trade.

Re:TD Ameritrade has API (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25064357)

Can you provide a link to the documentation on TD Ameritrade's API?

Umm... Firefox. Perhaps with Flash. (2, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064281)

Being most of this stuff needs a network connection anyways I am sure you will find particular websites that will do the trick. Why do you want to find and download an app, run an update every time the regulations change. Most of the apps for this stuff are so old and usually try to get people to use the web anyways. Don't look for an app when the Web can do the work just as well if not better.

marketcetera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25064301)

http://trac.marketcetera.org/ [marketcetera.org]

Copied verbatim from that page:

Marketcetera Inc is building a new software platform committed to providing fast, flexible and reliable securities trading tools to financial services professionals. Our mission is to make world-class order-management and risk-management software available and affordable to individuals and to institutions of all sizes. Marketcetera focuses on building the key trading functions that are common to all organizations, thus freeing our clients to concentrate on proprietary trading algorithms and other specialized software that provide a competitive advantage.

OSS, designed to be extensible in Ruby (and I think other languages).

Profit opportunity! (1)

cyberwave (695555) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064309)

I personally know a hedge fund manager who does fixed-income arbitrage. They manage billions of dollars and thrive on volatility. Their trading platform is windows-based, however, and to keep such critical systems running smoothly, they have to pay a lot of people to monitor it constantly. The reason more high-end firms don't use FOSS is due to the fact that all the top trading software out there is proprietary, custom, and Windows-based. Here's a profitable area that enjoys both economies of scale/scope and high barriers to entry. The first people to get in this market stand to make a lot of money.

Re:Profit opportunity! (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064583)

Problem appears to be that no-one wants to be the tech guy that rocks the boat, something goes wrong, and the company folds. At least if they use Windows, the logic goes, they're going with the herd, it can't all be blamed on them.

Well, since I develop trading systems on FOSS (5, Informative)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064313)

That is the trading system I've spent several years working on is built entirely using Open Source tools and libraries. The system itself is not currently open, but that is a possibility we here certainly look favorably at.

As far as actual entire free trading systems, there is JavaTraders@googlegroups.com which is a good place to start. Also check out the quickfixj.org site, you will find some things there. There is also an Eclipse plugin which provides some level of GUI.

Frankly we didn't any of the code in any of those projects (although we do use ta-lib). But as I say, you can do a lot with ActiveMQ, any good open source RDBMS (PostgreSQL,MySQL) and your Enterprise Java framework bits of choice.

Basically if I were you I'd pick one of the java based projects that is kicking and does roughly what you want, the way you want to do it. For simple basic trading of one or two instrument classes you can probably put together something pretty workable.

Thomson Reuters (1)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064317)

Thomson Reuters has a version of the BridgeFeed Toolkit (acquired by Thomson via Bridge, and then Reuters) in both C++ and Java APIs that works on Linux. The feed provides live quotes, historical data, and wire news, as well as cross-references and ticker lookup. It's not F/OSS, but it runs there. The product is very expensive.

The Bloomberg system incorporates the Gecko rendering engine from Mozilla. That's only barely topical but I thought I'd mention it anyway. Bloomberg is also extremely expensive.

Re:Thomson Reuters (1)

boredandatwork (1339259) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064389)

Thomson Reuters has a version of the BridgeFeed Toolkit (acquired by Thomson via Bridge, and then Reuters) in both C++ and Java APIs that works on Linux. The feed provides live quotes, historical data, and wire news, as well as cross-references and ticker lookup. It's not F/OSS, but it runs there. The product is very expensive.

And unfortunately is going away within 2 years, along with Reuters Plus. Their replacement product, 3000 Xtra, is Windows-only.

Re:Thomson Reuters (1)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064477)

Was going to, but according to my salesman they reconstituted the development team because so many Bridge users complained about having to switch. He could be talking out of his ass, of course.

Re:Thomson Reuters (1)

boredandatwork (1339259) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064567)

Thats been the long standing theory on why its still around now. With the Thomson merger, I'm sure either Bridge or Thomson's equivalent will get the axe. Maybe both. Everyone I've talked to seems adamant that their IDN service is the future, but I guess only time will tell.

Statistical Modeling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25064371)

I miss the advanced statistical modeling tools that you can find as addons for Excel.

For something as serious as trading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25064407)

Why not spend 100 dollars or whatever to get Windows? You can even run it in a VM inside Linux. If you're too cheap to spend this money to get good software and choose to gimp yourself by hacking together scripts instead, you are seriously underestimating the value of your time.

What's your scale? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25064447)

In terms of commercial entities, many of the big banks have some Linux, and the biggest Wall Street firms have huge footprints (tens of thousands of Linux servers). At that scale, it's mostly Linux or mainframe, with some older non-Linux Unix gear hanging around.

Wall Street was one of the first sections of the corporate world to really dive into Linux (to get x86 with a Unix-like feel) and helped push the industry maturity along.

In terms of prosumer-grade stuff, any of the raw math libraries you'd want are going to be available on Linux, as will most higher-level analytics, but probably not at the price point you want. GUI stuff? Probably not.

Investment banks are powered by perl and python (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25064449)

Morgan Stanley is a very big user of open source software. Much of their infrastructure is managed by thousands of perl scripts, from daemons to customized distribution systems, sox compliant, infrastructure management tools, and many other things.

Bloomberg is an open-source python powerhouse.

i use a little java app (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064489)

http://jgnash.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

get the jar file and run java -jar jgnash.jar (use the file name)...

ThinkOrSwim Seems tech savvy (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064549)

I don't know if this is what you're looking for. [thinkorswim.com]

Think or swim was awarded "best software-based broker by Barrons" and hasd desktop, net and mobile clients.

But I am looking for a automated trading API for charlesschwab. But if I had to liquidate my holdings and move to another brokerage, I'd do it. I'd prefer an interface in python, php or even (gasp) perl.

Wine, anyone? (1)

corychristison (951993) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064559)

There appears to be absolutely no mention of WINE [winehq.org] .

I'm sure you've tried it, but just sayin'.

If there is no support, perhaps go do some hacking around yourself? Or use all of those earnings and put a bounty on a Win program to be ported?

E*TRADE runs Gentoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25064601)

I have it on very good authority that E*TRADE at least used to run a customized Hardened Gentoo (circa OSCON006). I don't know if it's still the case.

FOSS 'trading shim' (1)

owlorc (247321) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064615)

We have an actively maintained link farm responsive with a full set of FOSS trading and analytic tools at: link farm [trading-shim.org]

It is maintained as part of our 'trading-shim' project (GPLv3) which connects to markets and history data farms via the Interactive Brokers TWS socket interface (which has been mentioned by others in this thread). It is a ground up new implementation, socket interface, written in C++, with a MySQL backing store. It compiles and runs on any POSIX capable platform -- Linux, Unix, OS/X; once Cygwin 1.7 releases from beta, we will pick up Windows as well.

It has been functional for the last couple years (ticker stream and ad hoc price history retrieval; full trading capabilities; symbol lookup; account details; and so forth) -- FOSS designed for commercial application; commercial and community support models.

trading shim [trading-shim.org]

Resources of Linux/Java trading software... (2, Informative)

wintermute42 (710554) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064651)

I have not seen any open source projects that you can use as a platform for building a trading system.

I have built an intraday (within one day) trading system in Java. I'm afraid that this system is not open source either. This system runs one or more models that look for intraday trading signals. The Java software submits buy and sell orders. It is multi-threaded and runs one thread per stock. I have been very happy with the software performance. A long running "server" like this seems to benefit from Sun's HotSpot compiler. The system is web services based (e.g., it runs on Tomcat).

I used Interactive Brokers [interactivebrokers.com] for my market data and order infrastructure. I was concerned about the quality of the Interactive Brokers tick data (the trade by trade data). Interactive Brokers consolidates their tick data feed so you get a consolidated tick about ever 250 msec. For my system this has been adequate. If you want to run on Linux or use Java there are few inexpensive options for real time data feeds. Information may way to be free, but market data is expensive.

I have some web pages on the alternatives that I explored as platforms for a Java/Linux based trading system. These notes can be found on my web page Software for Constructing a Market Trading System [bearcave.com]

Kmymoney2 ?? (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064657)

I'm a "buy and hold on fundamentals" kind of investor, so kymoney2 works great for me. The project could use some work in the reporting section, but it keeps track of our small portfolio just fine.

http://kmymoney2.sourceforge.net/index-home.html [sourceforge.net]

Getting more complicated than that is generally out of range for the average individual investor. Sourceforge lists a bunch. Maybe you can find what you are looking for there? http://sourceforge.net/search/?type_of_search=soft&words=finance [sourceforge.net]

DIY (1)

Ocean Consulting (584094) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064659)

I'm pretty much got sucked in the same way. My solution was to write all of my own analysis tools. I've thought many times about open sourcing the goods. I've got 10 years of development into a data warehouse analysis system that pushes the limits of what PostgreSQL will do on modern hardware. The only way to ensure privacy of your analysis and back testing is to run your own data warehouse. I can only imagine the kinds of customer data that is skimmed from stock analysis/filtering "services". In my opinion, it's only worth doing if you can get a view of the whole market. Feeds of just a few stocks is incomplete when you're trying to marry trends of market to sector to individual stock. Finding a good data source can be quite a challenge if you don't have thousands a month to spend. But, it can be done with some compromises. Since I started developing analysis tools, probably the best alternative I've found out there is called quantlib and is C++ centric. If you know of a portfolio manager looking for a risk analysis computer geek then let me know. ;D Or if anyone is serious about getting more serious about financial FOSS and/or SaaS, let me know.

some thoughts (1)

Anonu (233018) | more than 6 years ago | (#25064665)

i work on a quantitative trading desk at one of the big investment banks and i get quite a unique opportunity to straddle both the tech world and the finance world. most trading and risk mgmt systems are built using Java or C++ in linux environments...

in my world I rely heavily on perl and python. R or Matlab are good tools for doing regressions. R is FOSS. Matlab is not so we end up paying for a few licenses. In return you get good customer service, regular updates and a nice set of toolboxes for doing things like GARCH, etc..

Now you gotta ask yourself what sort of trading are you going to be doing? Are you looking at day-trading? This entails looking at market order books - bid/ask quotes and trades and working with large datasets. At this pt you may want to start thinking about optimizing your calculations and managing memory. A full days worth of quotes in today's market can be up to 60GB uncompressed (obviously this depends heavily on the formatting, etc... - but thats sorta what you have to deal with). You're better off writing optimized routines in something fast like C++. Pushing that much data through R or Matlab will grind those tools down to a halt.

Getting your hands on "tick" data is not too cheap if you're an individual. You can look up TAQ data on the NYSE website. They charge about $1000/month for access to their tick data.

If you're looking at investing (rather than just trading) on a longer time-horizon. Then you're going to need fundamental data. There are plenty of companies that charge hedge funds, etc millions of dollars a year for this type of data - companies like Bloomberg, Factset, Barra, etc... The thing is most fundamental data is freely available in regularly filed reports with the SEC - like 10Ks and !0Qs. What you are paying for is getting this data in 1 place and ensuring its quality which is crucial.

technical analysis FOSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25064685)

If you don't want to daytrade, realtime data subscription isn't that important. For short term trading (in a week span) and, of course, longer term trading, free data from Yahoo is enough (about 15 minutes of delay. Google provides NYSE in real time, but not in csv like Yahoo, so it isn't as useful as Yahoo data). There are several FOSS options for technical analysis based on free data. My choice is Qtstalker. It has tons of indicators, a simple script language for rule testing and stock search and a very simple portfolio manager. Some people prefer something fancier, but one of the best advices I've heard about technical analysis is to keep it simple and work with a reduced number of indicators in order to avoid conflicting results (cf. Alexander Elder about that). Another nice technical analysis FOSS is AIOtrade. Looks pretier than Qtstalker and has an interface for "real time" data possibly customizable for receiving paid input. But it seems to me less flexible than the last versions of Qtstalker.
Another interesting software is Merchant of Venice. It is ugly, has fewer indicator than Qtstalker, but, on the other hand, it has interesting features as genetic algorithms for refining trade rules, neural networks etc. I wouldn't use it as my main analysis platform, but these features may give good advices.

Good luck!

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