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Updating Quickbooks Forces Online Membership?

Cliff posted more than 11 years ago | from the limiting-the-previous-feature-set dept.

Privacy 462

garyebickford asks: "I've been using Quickbooks 2001 for a long time, sending out invoices via email. A couple of months ago it asked if I wanted to do an online update - these occurred occasionally and I agreed. There was no information regarding what the update would do, although IIRC there was some mention of 'new features' and 'improvements'. Since that time, it is now impossible to either fax or email an invoice without signing up for Quickbook's 'Online Business Member' program since it appears to use their own mail server. Membership is free for now, but the required click-agreement forces me to agree in advance to any future fees! I have no interest in letting Intuit know about my invoices and other financial information. As a result, this software is essentially useless and I must find a new accounting package. I've looked at various OSS packages but haven't found one that has developed far enough to use in this way. But there are many out there and I haven't kept up to date, so maybe someone else out there can suggest something. I'd prefer using it on Linux, of course. I'd also be interested if this loss of functionality would be sufficient to consider a class action suit to recover costs of conversion." The issue at hand is that commercial software has started to force consumers to fall into such schemes to maintain features that they already had. Today it is Quickbooks, but what about tomorrow?

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Easy... (1, Informative)

AmigaAvenger (210519) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839659)

Uninstall, reinstall, patch up to the level that caused the problem, and be happy with it.

Re:Easy... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839675)

Good luck finding the patches. Once they fall to a forced use scenario, it's common practice to only allow previous patches to include the forced use option.

Re:Easy... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839686)

Well, that sounds all well... but Quickbooks itself, also updates all of the Tax Forms, along with all other State / Federal tax filing information.

You have to keep that information updated.

Re:Easy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839863)

And the american government wants the names and descriptions of your first born children. Be sure to keep that updated, or you might e branded a terrorist.

Re:Easy... (1, Redundant)

Alsee (515537) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839870)

Uninstall, reinstall, patch up to the level that caused the problem

The article says the patches are "autoupdate". No option to patch at all except to the latest version.

Assuming the raw unpatched version is completely unacceptable (quite likely) then your only options are to accept everything they want to shove down your throat, or dump the program entirely.

-

In KGB's Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839903)

...Bear or Wulf clusterfucks YOU!. What a coun-try!

In Soviet Russia... (0, Offtopic)

jimius (628132) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839668)

You charge Quickbooks srry, I couldn;t resist, I love the soviet russia jokes :)

Re:In Soviet Russia... (0, Offtopic)

jimius (628132) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839694)

it seems my lay-out and signature are a bit @#$-up srry for any misundersdtandings

Re:In Soviet Russia... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839709)

In Soviet Russia Quickbooks installs you!

Re:In Soviet Russia... (1)

kaxman (466911) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839732)

It's alright for those of us intelligent enough to use "Prefix everyone's signature with "--" to make it blazingly obvious where comment ends and sig begins".

Re:In Soviet Russia... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839704)

In Soviet Russia... Beowulf runs on YOU!

In KGB's Soviet Russia... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839812)

...Bear or Wulf clusterfucks YOU!. What a coun-try!

Common sense (1, Redundant)

are_bee (205832) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839684)

Assuming all updates are optional, why not just reinstall the program and ignore the update requests?

Re:Common sense (4, Insightful)

Tteddo (543485) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839701)

Because when you update the program, it updates your data file to the new version, and you can't go back. I still use QB99 for this reason.

Re:Common sense (1)

are_bee (205832) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839989)

Backups?

Re:Common sense (1)

WickedLittleSlaveBoy (445391) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839723)

if it updated his qb database during the update, it may be that the he can't open it without updating... very nasty little updates. in the multiuser version, if one client updates, all the others have to in order to read the db.

Re:Common sense (1)

Tteddo (543485) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839762)

Yeah, I have had customers be forced to update also, because their accountant had a newer version. It's quite the trap they have there!

Re:Common sense (1)

WickedLittleSlaveBoy (445391) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839885)

well, it was only mildly annoying until this, now if the accountant pays, so will you. should have seen this one coming...

I actually have no problem with the software subscription idea, but I'd like to know that's what I'm getting into upfront.

I use 'FirstEdge' for OS X... (4, Informative)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839690)

.. Largely because it's good enough for what I need, and it runs in OS X. There's annoying bugs (print to PDF, then attach to email, since they haven't kept up with Jaguar's Mail api), but I don't have to go sign up for no dumbass thing to use it.

Also, TimeSlice for OS X is very nice, it itemizes your billing time (if you bill per hr) and exports it into CSV..

There's also AccountEdge for OS X, but it's overkill and overpriced for my simple needs.

Is there anything comparable for Xwindows? Good Q..

How helpful. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839838)

Suggest incompatible software and get modded to +5 for it, since it's Mac related.

Want people to embrace using OSS apps? Then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839953)

...start writing OSS apps that are 1) equal, or 2) better than the commercial version. Anything less will be unacceptable. Don't bitch because people aren't using OSS, bitch because there is no OSS apps for people to use.

Oh, don't expect gratitude. You're the one who clamored for OSS usage.

Workaround (3, Informative)

yesman (72063) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839692)

Use a program like PDFmailer [pdfmailer.com] to send quotes and such.

Re:Workaround -- Uh, why pay to generate a pdf? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839742)

Use a free pdf print driver and print the quote from quickbooks to pdf, then send to client. I agree this quickbooks change sucks, but while you're looking for a replacement this should work fine, it has for me.

I've noticed this myself... (5, Insightful)

kaxman (466911) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839697)

...and I'm not even a "business" customer. I like to hunt up old versions of programs, especially older shareware stuff that I might use a couple times a year, simply because it isn't as 'crippled' as today's version, or because nowadays the company making it requires that you give them a valid email and a reason for being interested in the software. And I'm not talking about finding old programs because they're easier to find cracks for; I actually do pay and have paid for many programs I find useful, and send money along fairly frequently for the free programs that deserve it. But for stuff that just strives to annoy, I'm having none of it.

change in software paradigm? (5, Interesting)

ryochiji (453715) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839826)

I wonder if tying in of software with (potentially non-free) online services is a transition phase in changes in the software paradigm. It seems like M$ (and others) are starting to look at software as services, potentially bringing it all online at some point. By tying in stand alone software with online services, I wonder if vendors are trying to blur the line between stand alone software packages and online services.

Re:change in software paradigm? (2, Insightful)

kaxman (466911) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839849)

If they treat it that way I swear to all that is good I'll write my own. Software should not, with few exceptions perhaps, be a service. That's awful. I can see it now, pay-per-page Word usage. I still use Windows, entirely for games, but every day I get closer to dual-booting.

I pay for the software, just like I pay for...I don't know...a stereo. I can open up the stereo and tinker with it, but it is already illegal for me to do that with software. I don't even own software that I buy nowadays.

Boy, the free-software ideal seems more and more attractive with every day that passes.

IN SOVIET RUSSIA (-1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839707)

IN SoVIET RUSSIA QUICKB00KS PATCHES YOU!

TurboTax for 2002 (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839711)

Has a similar scheme. I find I'm forced to spend a lot of time explaining this all to clients; they sure are pissed. Open Source tax/acctng sware would be very useful. And an AOL client...

No AOL Client Needed. (2)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839822)

And an AOL client...

NO!!! If AOL refuses to follow industry standards, then they should pay the price. If enough AOL users get tired of things not working, perhaps an end can be put to the AOL juggernaut.

scary side effect (5, Insightful)

phr2 (545169) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839716)

Having the invoices from millions of small businesses all go through the same server in the same format makes that server a VERY juicy source for the Office of Total Information Awareness. This kind of centralization has to be resisted.

Long live spreadsheets... (5, Informative)

Eric_Cartman_South_P (594330) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839718)

I own a small business (yeah, me, can you believe it?) doing productivity consulting and stuffs. Although it takes me longer than it would if things were automatic, I use SPREADSHEETS for everything financial. I own it, it's mine, and I can do what I want.

I looked at QuickBooks, MS Money, etc and for complete control, nothing can match using spreadsheets for all the tracking, etc. One master spreadsheet for accounting gets numbers from all the other spreadsheets (sales, expenses, etc). Will I need something stronger a year or two from now? Yeah, and I'll be reading the posts right here for an idea on what I will do then. But for anyone who is a one-h@x0r shop up to a couple of employees, spreadsheets fit the bill just fine. Oh, and of course online banking (Citibank is pretty sweet and reasonable fees for corporate account).

Good luck!

Re:Long live spreadsheets... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839932)

Given Citibank's loathsome record of funding environmentally and socially destructive projects in both third-world and industrialized nations, I urge you all to think again before patronizing Citibank.

Re:Long live spreadsheets... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839975)

Shut the fuck up, you fucking tree-hugging pussy.

Quickbooks disabled? noooooo...... (5, Informative)

Thu Anon Coward (162544) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839719)

We had the same thing happen a few years ago to us. We were using it at the start of the new year wrapping up previous years finance stuff, a message came up saying that since they didn't want us to get in trouble, they were going to disable the tax tables in 30 days time so we couldn't use them. We would have to purchase new tax table info from Intuit, EVEN IF THE DAMN TAX TABLES HADN'T CHANGED!

No tax tables makes Quickbooks about as useless as tits on a boar hog. Our CPA switched us over to Netledger at Netledger.com

Re:Quickbooks disabled? noooooo...... (5, Funny)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839755)

"No tax tables makes Quickbooks about as useless as tits on a boar hog."

Clearly, you have never owned a boar hog ;-)

Re:Quickbooks disabled? noooooo...... (1)

MeanMF (631837) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839840)

If they allow you to go on using the old rate tables, they could be found liable for providing incorrect tax advice. You need to have the latest rates.

Re:Quickbooks disabled? noooooo...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839917)

Perhaps you didn't notice the part about forced payment even if there were no changes to the tables.

we need kash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839724)

Why dosent kde release 'kash' or something.

What about tomrrow? (5, Informative)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839733)

Tomorrow all commercial software will pull this sort of stunt. To get to full 'pay per use' models.

They will have to, once the unwashed masses become technically educated enough that they realize what is going on with this constant upgrade cycle and stops buying new products since what they have 'works well enough for me'.

The entire market is based on this deceit. and will suddenly implode..

Caught in the headlights of a major trend ... (3, Informative)

LL (20038) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839740)

... where access to the customer is being treated and fungible (and thus marketable). I can point to a whole string of court cases starting with CompuServe v Cyber Promotions, Ebay v Bidder's Advantage, Intel v Hamadi, etc which have basically ruled that companies who "own" the infrastrcuture for communications effectively are private networks (think cable) and courts are relunctant to impose common-carrier, anti-competition or even anti-competition rules on them. Companies are not stupid, if they can't get lock in one way, they'll try another legit mechanism and in effect, vertically coordinate their services (software, middleware, skinware = GUI/web layout, tangleware = EULA + legal entanglements) to capture business.

Is it legal? ... yes
Is it proper? ... debateable
Is it worthwhile? ... depends on the customer whether they cna get satisfaction for service

Perhaps you should write a little letter to your fair-trading rep or competition commissioner requesting investigation into unfair trading practices based on their market power to exclude future competitors (say ASPs).

LL

Re:Caught in the headlights of a major trend ... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4840004)

Actually, considering that the product he bought did NOT required this online component, considering that he is forced to agree to any and all future fee schedules to receive a patch that may very well be needed for new taxing information as a small business owner...no, it is not legal. This is bait and switch. This is forced obselescence. This is possibly the unfair exertion of monopoly power as Quicken owns the lion's share of this type of software business.

Try GNUcash... (5, Informative)

chupar (632295) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839741)

I used Quickbooks a *long* time ago to help out with my father's small business. For myself, I've been using GNUcash [gnucash.org] for about a year, and I'm fairly pleased. Some of the reporting options could use some work, but it keeps track of all my data, and that's the important part. Quick look at their website indicates a new stable version is on the way, with some things that might help you, although the faxing/emailing features don't seem to be on the radar...

- Small Business Accounting Features:
GnuCash now can be used for Customer and Vendor tracking, Invoicing and Bill Payment,
and using different Tax and Billing Terms in a small business.
- OFX Import:
GnuCash is the first free software application to support the Open Financial Exchange
protocol that many banks and financial services are moving to use. The development of
OFX and HBCI support has also resulted in an improved transaction matching system that
more accurately picks duplicate transactions.

Re:Try GNUcash... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839872)

GNUcash is foul. It reeks. It would be a bad piece of software even in the windows world.

No sound card ? Expect to have trouble, as gnucash needs libaudio. Why does an accounting program link against an audio library ? Who knows ? Dig up Joe Barr's old article on "dependancy hell" and the associated slashdot article for more bad news.

sql-ledger and gnu-ledger are your only hope.

Re:Try GNUcash... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839969)

What do you expect? The people who write GNUcash don't have any money to begin with, so what the hell would they know about this? They might as well put a tetris game or something of the like because that's about all it's good for.

Re:Try GNUcash... (1)

lobsterGun (415085) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839878)

Notice to potential adopters: before you look into GNUCash you should know that it is Linux only.

Forcing updates (5, Informative)

RuXc (144331) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839746)

I am switching Quickbooks after I send out W2's this year for very similar reasons. Quickbooks will stop allowing you to do payroll if the TaxTables get too out of date. This normally wouldn't bother me, but they offer absolutely no way (that I know of) to manually enter the tax data, the payroll functionality get killed.

To get the new TaxTables, they have really upped their subscription price to more than I think is reasonable. Also, they periodically force an update to the Quickbooks software to be able to use the new TaxTables format. So, for me to keep using Quickbooks, I would have to pay for a new (higher) TaxTable subscription and also update to a new version, which I can't justify.

I have looked at PeachTree, and it seems very usable. It's Tax Table like subscription is about the same as Intuits (around $150), but they do allow you to manually enter details if you need to.

I hate to see Inuit stoop to this, I really like their product. I used Quickbooks at version 5, and liked it. (I don't need any features now that version 5 didn't have). I just can't justify them doing these kind of things to customers, though.

Try Compiere (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839749)

Read lots of good stuff about this, but as yet haven't had time to try it out. Looks like it could do what you need it to:

http://www.compiere.org

Bad (0, Redundant)

notlameness (632398) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839756)

Bad intuit, bad No market share for you oh wait, a reletively useful app that most people will usebecause it is a useful service that may or may not cost money later

AppGen MyBooks (5, Informative)

goldid (310307) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839760)

I haven't had time to fully use this yet, but I am considering purchasing: AppGen MyBooks (www.appgen.com [appgen.com] ) which has a Windows/OS X/Linux accounting program. Looks nice to me.

Here's an idea... (5, Insightful)

tmark (230091) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839764)

it is now impossible to either fax or email an invoice ...since it appears to use their own mail server.

Couldn't you just do something like print the invoices to a PDF then email that through the mailer of your choice ? Sure beats having to move your operation and data to a new system, and with the convenient plus that if you want, as some do, you can always have a copy of the invoice exactly as it was printed.

Re:Here's an idea... (2)

vondo (303621) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839807)

Good idea. In fact, combine GNUCash as mentioned above with kprinter (the KDE printing panel) and you can directly mail PDF files as a "printer" device.

Re:Here's an idea... (2, Interesting)

dossen (306388) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839905)

How about adding an entry to your host file, pointing the intuit mailserver to some other mailserver? That is if you are sure you want to stay with Quicken, rather than follow the advice (and good advice it is) of my fellow /.'ers and change to an oss solution.

fix your hosts file (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839976)

adjust your hosts file accordingly and use your own mail server. Or if the address/IP is hardcoded in you may have a big hex editing job.

It's true (5, Interesting)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839766)

The issue at hand is that commercial software has started to force consumers to fall into such schemes to maintain features that they already had. Today it is Quickbooks, but what about tomorrow?

It's true actually... when I started my job back in September I was using Windows XP, and as there didn't seem to be any chance to switch to Linux coming soon I settled back into life as a Windows user, at work at least. Despite not really needing much software, I found I needed a truckload of commercial utilities to get anything done. We have a slightly dodgy connection, so a download manager that supported resuming (as neither mozilla nor IE appear to support this) was a must. On goes Download Accelerator. We need WinZip of course. Hmm, WindowBlinds FX looks nice (and it is nice). The BBC only streams in RealAudio so to save myself going insane I put on RealPlayer so I can listen to the radio while working.

After a month or so, I realised if I could get the Adobe SVG plugin in IE working under Linux I could switch over to it, and so I got CrossOver (patched Wine to fix some bugs [sigh]) and was very happy.

A week or so ago I rebooted into Windows, and was assaulted by raw commercialism. WindowBlinds had come to the end of its trial and popped up a window on every boot asking me to buy it. RealOne insisted on popping up adverts for its new features and offers, while cleverly not appearing to be running. WinZip of course has a nag screen whenever you run it. Download Accelerator inserts a blinking lightbulb into the system tray. It was almost physically unpleasant battering my way through all this garbage to get to what I wanted. I had become desensitised to it as I started using Windows again, then going back to it after so long was a real shock.

After a while, you realise that seemingly every Windows app comes with some extra code whos only purpose is to try and make you spend money, or sell your eyeballs for a bit. It has nothing to do with enhancing the app, and this is true even for basic must have utilities like decompression programs and audio decoders. I wish I could suggest an alternative to Quickbooks but I don't really use programs like that. Except I know support was recently added to Wine for it.

Re:It's true (1, Troll)

MeanMF (631837) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839799)

Try either paying for the software or uninstalling it. Either way, it'll clear up those pesky registration screens.

Re:It's true (2, Informative)

Repugnant_Shit (263651) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839894)

You can use LeechFTP for FTP resuming. I think it supports HTTP downloads too.

There are *lots* of free zip utilities. (Personally I think WinRAR is much better and worth the money).

For an alternative to RealPlayer...hmmm. You got me there :)

WindowBlinds makes it clear that it is a demo, so complaints about it expiring are just lame. The LiteStep devs are working on skinning, and I think I saw a WindowBlinds FX clone recently (try Shell Extension city).

Its possible to find lots of freeware for Windows, you just have to look harder. Look at GNUWin II [gnuwin.epfl.ch] for some open source apps.

And make sure to download Ad-Aware [lavasoftusa.com] to hunt down those evil spy programs.

Re:It's true (4, Funny)

yasth (203461) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839926)

RealOne Enterprise Desktop is a nice alternative to RealPlayer.

Lie to them (3, Insightful)

Qrlx (258924) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839770)

Why don't you call Intuit support and come up with some reason as to why their new software won't work for you. Like your small office has only one phone line and there's no ISP in your area, or your ISP went out of business or something.

Or maybe that you live on a boat, and you can easily send mail via USPS but to use the Internet requires a trip to the local cybercafe, since you can't get internet access on your cell phone?

Re:Lie to them (2)

ameoba (173803) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839868)

Not to mention that many ISPs don't allow you to connect to SMTP servers other than their own, as a method of trimming back on spam. MSN, for example, is one of the major ISPs that block SMTP.

Re:Lie to them (2)

penguinboy (35085) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839943)

It would be fairly trivial for QB to get around port 25 blocking, by using an alternate port and/or encapsulating the data between QB and the Intuit server.

My bad experience with Inuit products (5, Informative)

systemapex (118750) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839792)

I purchased Quicken Deluxe about this time last year. It came with a free downloadable version of QuickTax. I decided to download and install QuickTax around January so I could get a headstart on my taxes. Around this time, I upgraded my computer and had to re-install Windows. I re-installed Quicken Deluxe no problem but when it came time to re-install QuickTax I was notified that I could not do it. A version of the software had already been installed on a different computer! I was told to call their tech support line if this was not the case. So I did. I called their non-toll-free number long distance and was notified that their office was closed and would be until Monday (this was late Friday afternoon). So, I could not do my taxes that weekend. I waited until Monday and phoned their tech support line. I had to answer some questions to verify my identity and was told that if there ever was a next time, I would have to fax them with appropriate documentation verifying my identity! So, 3 days and 2 long-distance charges later I was left with a program that would only last until my next reformat. No thanks. I will never buy another Intuit product because of stories like my own and this one. Moreover, experiences like this helped push me to going 100% Linux/OSS - I've been doing so since late August with much less problems than I expected I would have.

Re:My bad experience with Inuit products (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839823)

What linux accounting programs have you looked into ?

Re:My bad experience with Inuit products (2)

systemapex (118750) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839839)

GNUcash so far. It took me a few tries to get my Quicken data imported but once it was, I found GNUcash far more intuitive from an accounting perspective - I have some high school-level accounting experience under my belt.

Re:My bad experience with Inuit products (2)

lpret (570480) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839853)

Dude, I had the same problem with OfficeXP. Microsoft's just as bad if not worse.

Re:My bad experience with Inuit products (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839995)

You do realize that any version of QuickTax is good for only the year in which it is rectified with the tax code, right? Tax prep software is made obsolete by the yearly changes to the tax code.

What good would a 13 month old tax program do you, regardless of whether or not you could install it?

Appgen (5, Informative)

protek (96543) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839795)

I'd suggest checking out Appgen's MyBooks,

http://www.appgen.com/products/mybooks.html

It works on Windows, Linux, and Mac, will import your Quickbooks data, and you can try it free for 30 days. I've downloaded it, but haven't played with it much. Maybe other Slashdoters can attest to its usefulness.

Regards,

Chris

k thx bye bye! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839811)

A class action suit would lead you and your fellows to be known as class action laughingstocks.

They have clear precedents; ICQ is 'free', but may suddenly start charging at any point in the future. Microsoft has already changed the rules of EULA's. If you agree to them, tough luck.

As for open source replacements, I doubt you'll find one. Business is terribly ignored by the open source movement - thus the lack of pretty much any financial software.

A Linux Accounting Solution (1)

coryrauch (632434) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839813)

This accounting program [sysbotz.com] might be of interest to users needing a solution for Linux.

Accpac for both Linux and Windows (4, Informative)

Kent_Franken (92437) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839820)

Accpac [accpac.com] has a great accounting package that has been around in commercial distribution for many years. It was recently released for Linux [accpac.com] .

SQL Ledger (4, Informative)

umrguy76 (114837) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839830)

SQL Ledger [sql-ledger.org] is what I use for my small business. Granted, it's a little rough around the edges, but it's free, open-source and does everything I need it to do. I've got it on a Linux server, although it is also said to work on Windows and OS X.

...it works though, doesn't it? (0, Redundant)

westcourt_monk (516239) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839831)

This conversation has been covered to death (esp with .mac). A few paying customers with the latest versions are more profitable than a lot of free loading customers that buy it once and still look for support.

Now eventually this will probably come back to haunt software companies AND hardware companies because people will make due with what they have right across the board. Thus potentially hurting the consumer based economy.

It's just like the bandwidth caps. One part profits others lose money.... Bell Canada releases this online gaming scheme where you can download games for rent and stuff all the while they put in place bandwidth caps. Ummm now that is insentive to try new games, chew up that cap in a day! So people use their computers less... ISP's make more money cause they loose less money to bandwidth costs and web companies get screwed cause people are online less.

Of course in a capitalist system it will swing back as market forces push, but who will survive?

Welcome to business in the 'naughties' (2, Insightful)

wackybrit (321117) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839834)

In the 90s, it was all about getting stuff out there for free so you could develop your brand and sell services off of the back of it.

Now we're in the 'naughties' and the free stuff is drying up fast. Companies are realizing that to get sales and results, they need to try and lock you into their systems.

Once upon a time, banner ads worked. Now everyone's using e-mail newsletters and Flash interstitals. The connection? These forms of advertising are more intrusive, more targeted on the individual.

It's no wonder Quicken wants people to sign up. They know people like their package, and if a few people get lost in the process.. big deal. At least they'll have several hundred thousand small business owners locked into their contract.. which ensures a tidy income for Quicken a few years down the road.

A couple programs offhand (5, Informative)

swv3752 (187722) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839843)

There is Kapital [thekompany.com] , but that is really more of a quicken replacement.

Then there is Gnucash [gnucash.org] , that is more a cross between quicken and quickbooks. It now has invoicing in the newest release.

For a List of other packages... I really don't know much about those.

Free as in Beer Software to replace Quickbooks (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839855)

I have several customers I work with and even I use Quickbooks. I am about to move one of them to Compiere. www.compiere.org It is free but one catch, you have to run Oracle to use it. The project is working on moving from Oracle to something open source, but i think they have been working on it for about a year.

GNUEnterprise is very promising also. www.gnue.org
Its a project that is in the works.

Both of these projects do more then quickbooks does and are aimed more at running everything from the software. My customers were looking for an all round solution that would track everything from the cash register on back to the employees salaries. So both of these have the possibility to meet the needs of what they want. Inventory tracking, Point-Of-Sale, financial reports, tax tracking, advertising (be it paper or email), and etc.

As for just a simple replacement for Quickbooks I would check out GNUCash and search freshmeat. Several projects are out there though.

Oh and unless you are using the tax tables in Quickbooks you have no need to use it at all.

Any questions?

Email me
bullweivel hotmail.com

This is nothing new from Intuit (2, Informative)

Jason1729 (561790) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839856)

I submitted a related article in March that never got posted about QuickTax using winXP style product activation.

I got the refund on my copy of QuickTax under their satisfaction guarantee and yelled at their poor rep on the phone for half and hour. It was convenient that they had a record of my registered copies going back to 1992 and I made it clear I'd never buy another product from them.

I still use Quicken 5 and I never upgraded that because I didn't want to run financial software that was aware of the internet.

Jason

Have you considered... (3, Interesting)

endquotedotcom (557632) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839858)

...sending your rant to them, instead of /.? I'm sure a quick search would come up with OSS alternatives, but I'm sure you'd prefer to stick with what you're used to. If you emailed them, and then followed up with a phone call to voice your concerns, I'm sure you wouldn't be the only one. If they become aware that some users actually do read their click-throughs, changing their ways would set a precedent for other companies.

Re:Have you considered... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839912)

Hehe ya like Intuit gives a shit. It's been like this in the Canadian verison for a year now and they don't care. There were even peopel looking into class action suits.

Re:Have you considered... (2)

MacAndrew (463832) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839921)

Yep, i was wondering that, too. Except I wouldn't start off with a rant. :) Maybe give them a link here...

I agree this sort of game is offensive and damaging. They should try to make good for your reasonable understanding that you weren't sacrificing functionality in exchange for the upgraded features.

But customer service does occasionally ... serve. Good luck, and next time take your dollers elsewhere to a more ethical company ... that is, until they pull the same stunt ... but you won't be suckered twice, will you?

I avoid upgrades for as long as possible on the Luddite theory "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Re:Have you considered... (1)

Cerberus9 (466562) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839952)

changing their ways would set a precedent for other companies.

A precedent such as going out of business. Measures like these are signs that the company is getting desperate for sources of recurring revenue, without which the business cannot survive. I don't support the practice, but I recognise it for what it is: the beginning of a financial death wail.

Does this remind anyone of .mac ? (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839865)

I am also very skeptical of Microsoft's rental scheme and the "one big application" motto which the Win32 world is heading where each application is an additional component with a monthly access fee.

These schemes sound like the rent-to-own scams that were popular a decade ago where customers paid 4x times the worth of various products through rental schemes. If you rented a couch for example through rent=to-own and refused to pay anymore, you would lose the couch and pay a fine for breaking the contract and all the money you invested already in it is gone. Most customers just paid through the roof so they would not lose there invested money and still retain good credit. However with proprietary file formats you lose all your data if you decide to not use the application anymore. In other words your screwed.

No free Mail for quickbooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839874)

I am in the same boat.. I have been using fineprint PDF factory to create the invoice and mailing it right from ther same PDF creation screen.. it works but I would rather just be able to specify MY own SMTP server from within quickbooks. also I just found a product called invoy for quikbooks... It is a invoice mailer http://www.invoy.com/default.htm for quickbooks... but looks like it would be usefull for a high volume invoice mailer... I don't bill out that often to use it... and it seems to have an issue using exchange as an SMTP server..

Re:No free Mail for quickbooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839916)

Hrmm...sniff the traffic.

Setup your own DNS server and then kindly resolve the quickbooks smtp server to be your own :)

Easy way to hack it

(I dont give a crap if you think it violates the DMCA either! It originated from my network I will do with it as i please Thank you! BOFH)

Whoa, here... (2, Redundant)

NineNine (235196) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839881)

You're talking about using their servers for a service. If course you're gonna have to pay. Just because you didn't pay in the past doesn't mean that you won't have to later. You're not entitled to use their servers for free. I use Quickbooks daily, and I can press print and drop a PO or an invoice on a fax machine just fine. I can also export and email 'em if I really, really want to. You're paying for the convenience of using their service. Nobody said you *had* to use their service at all.

Re:Whoa, here... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839935)

Hehe sure. Wait until you get nailed with your payroll feature locked down unless you pay for tax tables from them. THey did this in the Canadian version - no pay, then no payroll feature, it becomes disabled and no way to manually use it or manually update your tax rates.

Intuit is no longer a Good company. (4, Informative)

bluephone (200451) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839892)

I helped a customer migrate from an ancient version of ACCPAC for DOS (Computer Associates product) to Quickbooks 99, and the upgrade to 2000. During the upgrade to 2000, we notices a much stricter set of rules for use, registration (which has always been over the top), and even simple networking of multiple systems. And the updates process was a nightmare, with more hoops to jump through than a Sigfreid and Roy show. When the customer bought 2001, and brought me back in to upgrade, the noose tightened further. Despite having several hundred dollars invested in QB over the years, I recommended heavily that they find another product to move to, because I could see how harshly Intuit was trying to keep it's small business accounting marketshare. Despite the cost and commplexity of Peachtree, I did recommend that over QB again, or moving off of a Windows based platform altogether. I still recomend this to all small businesses. Intuit is no longer the good Quicken company they were...

Watch out for Quickbooks advocates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839909)

There are heaps of folks on the NGs that defend this practice - notably Mike Block of http://www.blocktax.com/

Intuit installing spyware? (5, Informative)

Hollins (83264) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839913)

This message was recently posted to alt.comp.financial.quicken. It appears Turbotax 2002 may be installing and starting a spyware service without any notice. I just checked my machine, where I installed Turbotax last week, and indeed, this service is running:

--
Recently I found a running Service named C-DillaCdaC11BA on my Windows XP Pro system. Being an individual interested with Internet Security (viruses, etc), I naturally became concerned that my system may have become compromised. Starting my investigation revealed the associated file (called "CDAC11BA.EXE") located in the Windows\System32\Drivers directory. In addition, I found a hidden directories under the C drive. This first directory was named C_DILLA" and below it was a directory named "SafeCast Product Licenses". Contained within this directory was a single file called "BD6FD000.DAT".

I traced the dates/times the files and directories were created to the same date/time I had installed this years version of Intuit's TurboTax. This is interesting because last year's version of TurboTax did not install this application and nowhere in this year's installation did it make mention of installing it, a third-party application that attempts to hide itself and runs as an additional service! A search of Google for C-DILLA revealed the following article, entitled "C-Dilla! "Copy Protection or Spyware?". It's located at http://www.tswn.com/modules/news/article.php?item_ id=45 [tswn.com]

Nowhere on Intuit's website does it offer a description of this service or appropriate removal instructions. Is it really copyright protection or is Intuit utilizing spyware with their latest version of TurboTax?

Re:Intuit installing spyware? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839971)

Well.. cdilla is the licensing system used by AutoCAD, so yeah, it's a real system.

(AutoDesk are seemingly much more upfront about its presence though - it's documented in the help and what not - and there are various ways of using AutoCAD that may or may not use cdilla.)

Re:Intuit installing spyware? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4840016)

C-Dilla is a software-lock copy protection scheme. It's like a software based dongle. 3ds max has been using C-Dilla since version 4.

It isn't spyware and no spyware finding software (that I am aware of) will report it as installed spyware.

Without the C-Dilla service running any program that authenticates through it will fail to start.

Business plan... (3, Funny)

LucidityZero (602202) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839915)

1. Create popular software program
2. Sell popular software program
3. Force fees on users after the fact
4. ????
5. Profit!!!

Actually, I guess in this cause you can skip number 4 entirely. :)

quickbooks sucks... yes sucks (2)

jmd! (111669) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839918)

We use quickbooks at work, at I was excited when they went to an online version... great, I don't need Windows to run the client anymore. Wrong.

The new web version requires Windows. Yes, Windows. Not even Mac users can use it. It uses ActiveX for no apperent reason. All of the functionality could have easily been done in HTML with a tiny bit of JS. But they made ActiveX a requirement.

If it's so obviously unnecessary, why would they limit their available customers and produce a seperate Mac version? Here's why.

Quickbooks want's to be an ASP. It's in fashion. They start to design a web version. Microsoft threatens them (because it's in fashion), as there are millions of computers that payed $300 for Windows just so they can run Quickbooks on top of it. Quickbooks ensures Windows will still be required, by an ActiveX dependency.

Microsoft maintains monopoly. User gets screwed.

From the company bringing you product activation.. (2)

emarkp (67813) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839933)

In other Intuit news, I've been a TurboTax user for about 4-5 years (both federal and state). Since they're putting in 'Product Activation' this year, now I have to figure out which competitor to use.

You'd think they'd learn that this crap is losing customers.

Dear slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839934)

I am wondering if some OSS package exists. Please do my research for me as I am either too busy or, more likely, too lazy.

Thank you,
Some Fat-Ass Loser

Quickbooks try Peachtree (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839940)

I don't know of a single professional CPA who recommends Quickbooks...

When I took accounting at college they recommeded Peachtree Accounting, and this seems to be what most accountants prefer. In fact, the university I went to now requires that you use Peachtree.

I been foolin wit these jokers for a while now... (2)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839951)

I have had my taste of intuit for a while now. I use plain old Quicken. They mislead you with 'extreme prejudice' into thinking you need the online junk. Its part of the install. You never click cancel during the install right? But you gotta know when the install is over and the garbage begins...

In any event, you can usually get the updates from their website if you are 'Sherlock' enough. Thus, you don't have to use the auto- weputyourfinancialinfointoourbagoftricks update junk.

Of course this is with Quicken and YMMV.

I just can't believe you have to do _anything_ online to use your non-online software.

Perhaps they subverted you into using an online version? I think intuit has online versions of all their money packages and sometimes the offline versions turn themselves into web-forwarders to the online versions if you are not careful.

Why in the living HELL would I wan't to _PUT_ my money online????? I mean my whole portfolio? I simply can't imagine why.

This is nothing... (5, Informative)

Locky (608008) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839956)

After losing information crucial to QuickBooks operation (ex-wife) I reinstalled QB99 on a new machine and called Intuit for my serial keys only to find out they don't support calls related to any product over 2 years old. They refused to give me my keys (which they had on file) and essentially forced me to fork out $400 for a new version of QuickBooks. Somwhere along the line they also threathened to take me to court after I demanded they give me what I legally own. Needless to say I will never buy an Intuit product again and encourage others to do the same.

If you had read Ed Foster's column in InfoWorld... (5, Informative)

mbstone (457308) | more than 11 years ago | (#4839974)

...you'd have known all about Intuit's anti-consumer practices months ago:

Twist in Intuit's crippleware techniques doubles the cost of its tax-table service (4/27/01) [infoworld.com]

Intuit is up to its old tricks: Adding taxing burdens on its QuickBooks clients (3/17/00) [infoworld.com]

There is another column by Foster -- the #1 and only consumer IT columnist of whom I am aware -- on the practice of making QuickBooks users transmit invoices using Intuit's servers but you'll have to find it yourself.

*** YOU LIE!! *** (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4839990)

THE ONLY REASON you don't like the new "feature" (albiet it kinda sucks) is that YOU DIDN'T LEGALLY PAY FOR THE SOFTWARE IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!

Seeing as you are a regular reader of Slashdot, it is safe to assume that you never pay for software.

Boo Hoo!
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