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Managing Money With Linux Apps

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the accounting-for-it dept.


lisah writes, "As part of a series of special reports this week, is reviewing several ways to manage your money using Linux apps. First up is a review of GnuCash 2.0, a personal and small business accounting package. Though it has a bit of a learning curve, the reviewer says the application is 'stable and robust' and an upgrade from previous versions is well worth it for the program's new features and improved online banking support." and Slashdot are both part of OSTG.

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Hmmm (1)

drwhite (456200) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764137)

The day Linux has a viable alternative to is the day I no longer have to fix my folk's MS Windows computer.

Re:Hmmm (1)

drwhite (456200) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764215)

Lemme insert "...viable alternative to Quickbooks..." because GnuCash is not going to cut it for the average dope.

GnuCash 2.0 (4, Informative)

TypoNAM (695420) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764173)

It has been working out great from the start for me and I find it far more easier to use than commercial software packages like Quicken, Microsoft Money, and QuickBooks. No annoying or lame navigation, straight to the point which what I like about it best, not to mention the free part which helps too.

I have been using GnuCash 2.0 since it came out quite a few months ago and enjoying it since for all my personal finance book keeping needs. :)

Re:GnuCash 2.0 (3, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764307)

One of those things is not like the others, Quickbooks is a double entry accounting package meant for SMB's to run their books on, not for personal finance (unless your finances are so complex as to rival a midsized company).

Re:GnuCash 2.0 (3, Informative)

Serpent Mage (95312) | more than 7 years ago | (#16766013)

GnuCash has double entry ledger accounting. It is just defaulting to single entry since only accountants and businesses typically need double entry.

Re:GnuCash 2.0 (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16767705)

I guess i'm using an old version of GnuCash, because it defaults to double entry on mine. Maybe it's different between distros. Maybe they changed it for version 2. If it is different for version 2, then why the change? I thought it was nice the old way.

Misunderstanding. (3, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | more than 7 years ago | (#16768097)

Gnucash does NOT default to single entry. That would require a major redesign of the entire package, as well as being a monumentally stupid step to take. It would basically eliminate Gnucash from being taken the least bit seriously in the accounting world.

Double Entry basically means that when an amount is entered in one account, a corresponding amount is entered in another account. In the manual, paper based accounting days, it literally meant that the bookkeeper make two entries in the ledger - one in the source account, and one in the destination account. As you can imagine, this would be a major source of errors. In all computer based double entry accounting systems the bookkeeper will only enter the number once, and will choose the source and destination accounts. The computer would take care of making the actual entries in both accounts - eliminating one source of errors.

So, do not be confused. Gnucash is doing double entry accounting: always has been, always will be.

Perhaps you're thinking of a single line leger (where all the transaction information is on one line) vs. a multi line leger (where the transaction information is spread across multiple lines). That is merely a style choice.

Re:GnuCash 2.0 (2, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764417)

I learned everything I need to know about managing my money in kindergarten:

I go down to the vault and dive into it.


Re:GnuCash 2.0 (2, Interesting)

vga_init (589198) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764459)

I hear you.

For me personally, Gnucash is a killer app. Now, I realize I'm using the term loosely because it's not really going to kill other platforms, but for me it did. =) I do like to tinker with operating systems, and sometimes for one reason or another I run Windows on my machine. Having had experience with Gnucash, I was hoping that, like most popular Linux apps, there would be a Windows port I could use. Was there? No. I would die without this program, though, so I switched (not a problem since I'm a Linux hobbyist, but interesting none the less). I find it amusing that I switched away from Windows because of better software support on another platform because usually it's the other way around. ;p

Now that Gnucash is written in GTK2, however, I expect a Windows port? I remember reading that no port was made because the GTK1 code was too hard to port.

Re:GnuCash 2.0 (1)

say (191220) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764827)

A lot is currently being done on a Windows port through cygwin. Reports are that it compiles and runs now. Don't expect it to be nearly stable for a year, though.

Re:GnuCash 2.0 (1)

5of0 (935391) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764997)

This makes me very glad that I have switched primarily to Ubuntu + Beryl (eye candy - very nice) + QEMU (running WinXP). Yay!

Re:GnuCash 2.0 (2, Informative)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 7 years ago | (#16766049)

Now that Gnucash is written in GTK2, however, I expect a Windows port?

There are some free-as-in-RMS alternatives that run fine in Windows.

I started out running GnuCash on Linux, but now that I spend most of my time in Windows I've switched to jGnash [] , a Java-based package that's based on the same principles. It's not as robust or feature-complete as GnuCash, but it does what I need, and it's far less of a pain than fiddling with X11.

Re:GnuCash 2.0 (1)

xeoron (639412) | more than 7 years ago | (#16767617)

You might be able to get GNUCash working on MS Windows via Cygwin. Has anyone tried this?

Re:GnuCash 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16766353)

Yeah, but will it run on Windows?

Online data downloading. (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16766967)

If you need a double-entry general ledger, I can see GNUCash being a good thing, but for most people's personal finances, the fact that it won't integrate and pull data down from their bank or credit card company automatically is a deal-breaker.

If I didn't have the online hookup that Quicken does, where I just hit "download" and it pulls in all the transactional data from all of my credit cards and my checking account, letting me approve it and reconcile it against the account totals, I wouldn't even bother to keep my finances electronically. (Unless I had a small army of servants to type everything in; but then I'd probably be able to afford an accountant, too.) That's the only feature that's worth anything.

I've heard that in Germany, GNUCash will do that, because the government mandates that banks have transactional data available in some sort of standard format. But in the U.S., I think only Quicken and MS Money will do it.

Re:Online data downloading. (2, Informative)

ubuwalker31 (1009137) | more than 7 years ago | (#16767527)

Bank of America allows you to download .qif files for the past 9 months....

Re:Online data downloading. (3, Informative)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 7 years ago | (#16767719)

But in the U.S., I think only Quicken and MS Money will do it.
You've heard wrong. Gnucash and QBankManager support OFX direct connect throgh AqBanking (I'd imagine that MoneyDance and KMyMoney probably support it too by now too, but don't use them). The only trick, as another poster pointed out, was finding the URL for your banking institution. MS Money and Intuit Quicken have large databases of such things (and even have agreements with banks to not disclose the URL to any other third parties or get kickbacks from some banks for referrals). This connection information has been extracted from the commercial software and/or "discovered" for many institutions & you can find it on the web. So direct connect will work, but the setup may take a bit of work.

Re:Online data downloading. (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 7 years ago | (#16768245)

It may not be integrated, however that does not mean that GNUCash is incapable of that function. I download my account data via Firefox, and import it into GNUCash all the time. Works like a charm

Finally (5, Funny)

chowdy (992689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764189)

A way to manage all the money i saved by using open source software

Re:Finally (1)

__NR_kill (1018116) | more than 7 years ago | (#16765657)

Strange, how this article comes just after an article about microsoft giving novell 348M dollars..

GnuCash isn't "Linux" (3, Informative)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764217)

Managing Money With Linux Apps

That should read "Managing money with a free open source application", since Gnucash runs on Linux, and numerous Unixes- including MacOS X (albeit in a very-poorly-integrated fashion.)

One thing that always bugged me about Gnucash- you have to pull OFX (or whatever) files by hand. Quicken could automatically fetch the latest data from my bank with a button click...

Also, are there any LiveCDs that contain up-to-date versions of Gnucash and associated libraries? On an intel mac, it's almost easier to run a virtual machine just for Gnucash, than spend hours upon hours of compiling with Fink...

Re:GnuCash isn't "Linux" (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16764319)

From the Wiki

At present, OFXDirectConnect can be used to download transaction data from credit card and bank accounts. Investment transactions should still be imported from downloaded OFX files (I use via GnuCash's File>Import>Import OFX/QFX... menu option.

Sounds like GnuCash 2 has solved most of the problem.

Re:GnuCash isn't "Linux" (5, Informative)

wuzzeb (216420) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764477)

I have used gnucash for over a year now, and as soon as I upgraded to 2.0 I set up automatic banking. It works great, I can download transactions and check balances for my credit cards (discover, citi bank, capital one), and my bank (charles schwab bank). I force gnucash to ask me for a password, but otherwise it is a button click.

The only issue is none of the banks really advertise the URL you need to use and type into gnucash. For example, discover card uses [] , but good luck finding that on their site anywhere.

And citi bank you need to use _rt?servicename=ofx_rt&pagename=ofx%22 []

I found those by searching on google.

But in any case, gnucash is a great program, in most cases better than the commercial alternatives.

Re:GnuCash isn't "Linux" (2, Interesting)

Fez (468752) | more than 7 years ago | (#16765759)

One thing that always bugged me about Gnucash- you have to pull OFX (or whatever) files by hand. Quicken could automatically fetch the latest data from my bank with a button click...

This will likely be a non-issue in the future, because even Quicken won't be able to do it. There was a story a couple days ago that banks are dropping the automated connections because of increased security regulations.

Re:GnuCash isn't "Linux" (4, Interesting)

Yggdrasil42 (662251) | more than 7 years ago | (#16766705)

This must me an American thing, because the Dutch banks have never supported automatic downloading into 3rd party apps (as far as i know). Most banks support exporting of account data in Quicken or CSV format, but that's not always very useful, and it's still a manual process. I usually just type data in manually, which is also a good way to force me to check the input.

When using MS Money it always annoyed me (just a little) to see that feature and not be able to use it, but I understand the security aspect of that decision. Allowing an app to pull data of this level of sensitivity with just a password from a bank's website is just not secure enough. In my opinion, that kind of data should be protected by at least Two-factor Authentication [] . My bank demands the combination of a pincode (something you know), a bankcard (something you have) and a hardware token (also something you have), which is considered strong authentication.

Re:GnuCash isn't "Linux" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16765951)

"That should read Managing money with a free open source application"


FTFA:This week we're taking a look at personal and small-business accounting software like GnuCash, SQL-Ledger, Ledger, KMyMoney.

SQL-Ledger in particular is NOT FREE, as you practically have to purchase the manual from it`s developers just to get it running (there is little to no free documentation centrally located online)

Open source, Yes - Free, hell no!

Re:GnuCash isn't "Linux" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16766577)

That should read "Managing money with a free open source application"

When you have places like the Open Software Development Labs with a motto like "To accelerate the deployment of Linux for enterprise" - good luck in getting a simple correction.

Re:GnuCash isn't "Linux" (1)

4105 (819650) | more than 7 years ago | (#16766697)

I was using MS Money, and I stilled pulled my data from the bank manually. On Money if you use the automatic update feature it requires you to store all your passwords on a Microsoft server. Yikes!

Useful information (1, Informative)

Umbral Blot (737704) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764253)

According to the tags teabagging is a trap. That's good to know. (Ok, /. time to put away the tags, we now know for certain that your readers are sophmoric. What did you expect?)

Re:Useful information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16764549)

meta-moderation on tags is coming soon.

Re:Useful information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16764935)

I always like to see the retards who are tagging every story with the category it's already in E.g. a "science" tag on anything on [] Useful!

Managing money? (1)

otie (915090) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764267)

How about a FOSS program that'd help me manage calories?

Ask and ye shall receive. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16764555)

NUT diet software []

ShrinkingMan []

Diet Monger Ass Kicker []

Pydance []
(dance dance revolution for Linux with dance pad support)

No you have no excuse to be a fat Linux looser. Soon you will be a regular Linux looser like everybody else, except of course you'd have very fast feet. :-)

Re:Managing money? (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#16765111)

>How about a FOSS program that'd help me manage calories?
Here's a clue:
Eat less
Excercise more
Unless you have a medical condition such as dodgy thyroid, that's all you need to know. Anything else is people fleecing you as an easy target with fad diets and silly food substitutes.
And the important bit is *eat less* not *eat boring food*. You can have burgers, fries and a shake, just don't do it more than once every couple of weeks or so. Just eat what you normally eat but go for 'European' portions not 'US' ones. I know people who have got full just eating a starter in the US because the portions are so insanely huge.

Re:Managing money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16766245)

I know people who have got full just eating a starter in the US because the portions are so insanely huge.

That's why America is the greatest country on earth! Yee-hah!... oh... my heart... gimme some pepsi...

Re:Managing money? (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#16766593)

I'm always amazed at the size of soft drinks in theaters in the US. Even in Canada (I'd put us between USA and western europe for portions sizes) our drinks are normal sizes, not 48oz monstrocities they have...

I love the large size McD fries. Myself and two friends called a single large fries "lunch" once and weren't hungry afterwards. And that's coming from a big dude!

Personally I agree with your post, except that for many, healthier foods (e.g. couscous, salad, fat-free turkey, etc) *are* boring because they lack the fat, salt nad sugar they're used to in things like cola, salad dressing, and deep fried foods.

There is an even simpler diet

1. Exercise to raise metabolism
2. Count calories.

If your BMR is $x calories, and you consume $x + $y calories in a day... danger. Just read the portion size and calories/fat/sodium per serving to get an idea of whether you should put that food in your face. If your lunch is more than 500 calories, chances are it's not healthy for you. If that snack is more than 80 calories, it's probably a bad idea, etc, etc...


Re:Managing money? (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#16766709)

All fair points but my main thrust (ooerr) was that a diet doesn't have to = healthy foods only. Just eat 'normal' food, just less of it. If 'normal' for you is McD Monday, Pizza Hut Tuesday, KFC Wednesday etc. then yes, you'll need to tidy that up but if you're eating standard meat & 2 veg type stuff then you'll be fine eating that, just smaller portions.

Re:Managing money? (1)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 7 years ago | (#16766925)

Here's a clue: Eat less Excercise more Unless you have a medical condition such as dodgy thyroid, that's all you need to know. Anything else is people fleecing you as an easy target with fad diets and silly food substitutes.
Counting calories isn't a fad. The only way to lose weight is to eat less calories than you burn, and how do you know you're burning more than you eat if you don't know either number?

Re:Managing money? (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#16767143)

If you need to count them to know your eating too much then frankly there's no hope for you. Counting each and every calorie is obsessive and won't do you any good - it just turns the whole food/eating thing in to a 3 times a day issue. You've been brainwashed in to thinking you need to think 'oh, that was 250 calories, my next meal can be 500'. You just don't need to work at it that hard. Each and every meal just needs to be a sensible size. Don't snack (much) and walk a bit more.

This will help Novell (1)

Filip22012005 (852281) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764269)

This article will be very helpful to Novell!

Re:This will help Novell (1)

aurb (674003) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764497)

But of course! They need some kind of software to manage all the money they're getting from Microsoft!

keyboard shortcut for switching tabs in 2.0? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16764285)

As a longtime user of Gnucash, I'm really enjoying the UI update in version 2.0. I love how it uses tabs instead of windows for different accounts, and it looks much better.

I am frustrated by one problem though -- I can't seem to switch from one tab to another without using the mouse. I have been all through the documentation and the website looking for a list of keyboard shortcuts that includes one for switching tabs, but no dice. Has any one found a way to do this?

Re:keyboard shortcut for switching tabs in 2.0? (2, Informative)

dreamlax (981973) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764759)

Have you tried Ctrl+Tab? I don't use GnuCash but Ctrl+Tab is very common for tab-switching in any application. Ctrl+Shift+Tab goes the other way usually, too.

Re:keyboard shortcut for switching tabs in 2.0? (1)

Amendt (802679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16765671)

Shift+Tab doesn't work here. Instead it brings you to the next hyperlink. [] -We need to help

Re:keyboard shortcut for switching tabs in 2.0? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16765687)

Usually, GTK Aaplications use crtl-pgup and ctrl-pgdn to switch between tabs. Some widgets use this shortcut for something else, though. In Gnucash's case the treeview uses it to scroll without changing the currently selected entry. For that reason, there is a general shortcut that should always work: ctrl-alt-pgup and ctrl-alt-pgdn.

Sweet! (2, Funny)

anaesthetica (596507) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764293)

I can't wait to open source my wallet. I hereby release my finances, including stocks and bonds, under the GPL to the Slashdot community.

Re:Sweet! (1)

James McGuigan (852772) | more than 7 years ago | (#16765439)

How do I contribute to this project. I've just built a $100 note and would like SVN privlidges to check it in.

Tags Fixed (1)

Umbral Blot (737704) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764333)

Looks like the /. crew decided to remove "itsatrap". Hopefully they got rid of fud/notfud too. And it would be nice to get rid of itsnotatrap. But unless an intelligent way to weed out bad tags is implemented (for example, appearing in too many stories in one day) then these problem will simply happen again with different tags. (May I suggest: fixtags, followed by linux, just to be odd). And I know this is offtopic, but where else can we voice our opinions on these issues?

Re:Tags Fixed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16765015)

notinsightful shutup itsatrap ilikemytags fud linux

Re:Tags Fixed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16765281)

Cool. I don't see how GNU finance applications are related to I.T. satraps anyhow, unless they're talking about Novell too. ;)

Gnomoney? (3, Funny)

dotpavan (829804) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764345)

is it called gNOmoney for gnome? just curious :)

/poor grad student couldnt think of anything else

Re:Gnomoney? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16764767)



From one grad student to another, I hope your research doesn't involve comedy in any way.

GNUcash? GNOsupport. (2, Insightful)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764401)

GNUcash is undoubtedly a fine application, and one I wish more people would consider using. Though it does most everything quite well, very few banks and accountants support it fully. Some (many) of us are stuck using Quickbooks because it has become so standard. To its credit, Quickbooks works well for most of us, but it would be nice to have a viable free (or even more reasonably-priced) alternative.

Re:GNUcash? GNOsupport. (1)

skiflyer (716312) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764727)

Not to mention the the last two or three years worth of QuickBooks packages won't even attempt to run under Wine... for that matter they won't even run under anything older than Windows 2000.

When I first started managing my accounts I started with GNUCash, and I really like it... when I got an accountant, I switched to Quickbooks, and I think it's ok... but I'd be in GNUCash if I had my druthers.

How about moneydance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16764473)

This week we're taking a look at personal and small-business accounting software like GnuCash, SQL-Ledger, Ledger, KMyMoney.

I'd love to see a review of moneydance [] -- which is actually cross-platform being java, including linux.

Re:How about moneydance? (3, Interesting)

say (191220) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764839)

I've used Moneydance, and it's far too simplistic. When you attempt to do anything more than balancing a check book (like doing a mortgage or keeping track of taxes) the GUI gets really obscure. GnuCash does also perform better on large data.

Re:How about moneydance? (1)

scotch (102596) | more than 7 years ago | (#16766165)

Nit: Java is cross-platform, Moneydance only runs on one platform (Java).

Germans/HBCI: Use Hibiscus (1)

Matz L.E. (597914) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764527)

Written in Java, this onlinebanking-app is just the best to handle your transactions, check balances etc.: []

Re:Germans/HBCI: Use Hibiscus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16765549)

any english version of this?

Re:Germans/HBCI: Use Hibiscus (1)

Matz L.E. (597914) | more than 7 years ago | (#16766315)

No, as it's only useful in Germany because of the (AFAIK) Germany-only homebanking protocol HBCI.

Moneydance rocks my stocks (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16764561)

I had kept a win98 virtual environment amount for years all due to one program -- Quicken. I grew to hate Intuit with a passion and finally left them for moneydance. It's a great program without any of the annoying issues that have plagued Intuit products lately. It runs on Mac, Win, and Linux. It handles multiple currencies (one of my main requirements), supposedly does online banking and cheque printing (we don't do either of those where I live), does the usual stocks, etc. Nice clean interface. One of the main things I like (that Quicken used to do back in the DOS days when it was an okay program) is show you a nice overview on your main page -- balance on every account, plus NET WORTH. That's the best motivation in the world to have fiscal good health -- having your net worth hit you every single time you open the program. It's all customizable of course.

Give it a whirl, it's worth the modest price. Platform independance for the win.

Re:Moneydance rocks my stocks (1)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 7 years ago | (#16767817)

I don't understand the appeal of MoneyDance any more.

Gnucash runs well and Mac and Linux and can be subverted to run under windows. It also handles multiple currencies (including treating stocks/bonds/funds and other commodities as a different currency & allowing user-defined currencies), does online banking, and check printing. The front page can show you the balance on every main account and any sub-accounts you choose to expand. It can also list all of these in you "native" currency. The main window also shows net assets/profits (and I believe can be customized to show other information (I know the gtk+-1.0 versions could)).

Finally, it is free/open source software that has proven itself for longer than MoneyDance has been around.

Does it support budgetting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16764579)

Last time I checked it was a nice product, but it was missing budgetting/forcasting capabilities.
What I mean is the possibility to insert expected expenses upfront (divided per month) and then verify the actual ones against them.

Does it have this feature now?

Re:Does it support budgetting? (3, Informative)

cortana (588495) | more than 7 years ago | (#16765181)

Budgetting [] was added in 2.0. Since it's a new feature it probably isn't quite as advanced as some would like... yet. But, as always, development is ongoing!

Linux users don't have money (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16764589)

Linux users don't have money. And /.ers in particular. Why do you think they're so obssessed about getting everything free? These people live in their mommas basements.

Troll? Hardly. Its all true. Mod me to hell but you all know its true.

OO Calc or Excel (1)

Kuciwalker (891651) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764645)

I've never used Quicken or any other money-managing software; what advantage is there over a basic Excel or Calc spreadsheet?

Re:OO Calc or Excel (2, Insightful)

Xrikcus (207545) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764983)

Someone else has already setup the spreadsheet and shortcuts for you :)

Really it's just a spreadsheet dedicated to a particular task that it does well. You're paying someone a little to do that setup for you.

Re:OO Calc or Excel (1)

bastion_xx (233612) | more than 7 years ago | (#16766033)

What most of the MS Money and Quickens do is hide double entry accounting. For general tracking of *an* account, a spreadsheet is functional.

I like the OFX integration of Quicken/Money/GNUcash. Well except for the recent MBNA purchase by Bank of America.

Rant: So I can no longer download transactions for my MBNA Visa bugged card because I don't have any other accounts with BoA? And, the transition isn't going so well either. I can manually download transactions, but historical only (sayeth the CSR).

MBNA has a crapload of branded MasterCard/Visa products, and the only one that I know of that has no foreign transaction fee (AAA Visa).

Alas, the ability to offload the import of transactions into my money management software is more important that a 1% FX fee. Simmons Trust, here I come.

Re:OO Calc or Excel (1)

rbochan (827946) | more than 7 years ago | (#16767057)

...You're paying someone a little to do that setup for you.

A little [] ??
$300+ per doesn't seem like 'a little', especially for a small business.

Re:OO Calc or Excel (1)

Yggdrasil42 (662251) | more than 7 years ago | (#16767059)

I'm only familiar with MS Money, but what I like most about it is the 'intelligence' it adds over a simple spreadsheet. It automatically tries to find patterns in your income and expenses, for example:

* It notices that you receive a large amount of money around a certain day of the month and asks you if that could be your paycheck. It then extrapolates it into the future so it can better forecast your cashflow. Not only that, it also posts reminders so you won't forget regular expenses or receipts (f.e. somebody owes you rent).
* It tells you that you've spent 35% more on food this month than in previous months, and that you may need to update your budgeting or you won't be able to afford that goal you've set (i.e. buy sharks with freaking laserbeams attached to their heads).

These are just two examples, but that kind of analytic reporting is the real value for me. The forecasting and guessing allow you to look toward your financial future and not just how you spent your money in the past.

Do any other apps have something similar?

Re:OO Calc or Excel (3, Informative)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 7 years ago | (#16767215)

Money-management software differs from spreadsheets in many respects:
  • No row/column limits (meant to be a database that has been customized for finance)
  • Automatic management of currency and commodities (GnuCash even lets you download conversions as a cronjob)
  • All accounts are already "linked" (updating one updates others)
  • Auto or manual import of standard financial data
  • Customized reporting/graphing
  • More intelligent auto-completion of transactions
  • Check printing
  • Wizards/Druids for budgeting, mortgages, etc.
While you can get some of this in spreadsheets (with varying amounts of work), some of these are so impractical as to be infeasible in spreadsheets.

Another good alternative ... (3, Informative)

BlackPignouf (1017012) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764657)

would be Grisbi:
It's easy to learn, use & configure.
More info there: [] (en) [] (es) [] (fr)

And already included in Debian/Ubuntu repos.

Nice front but what about the backend? (1)

SlOrbA (957553) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764711)

I'll been using GnuCash for a year and a half and so far I have been really satisfied with the GUI. Although I'm using it for my own personal accounting I'd really like to use MySQL as a backend storage and be able to access and manipulate my accounting data from various GnuCash installations.

Re:Nice front but what about the backend? (2, Interesting)

bobintetley (643462) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764991)

I'd really like to use MySQL as a backend storage...

Bit of a plug, but I have a project called Fruity Banking [] . It's python/cgi and has a web interface that looks and works like GNUcash. It can use sqlite, postgresql or mysql for the backend and it's endlessly scriptable (samples are included for scripting direct debits, etc.). I wrote it for the same reasons as you stated; because I wanted to access my accounts from anywhere and have the backend scriptable and generally muckable about with.

On the downside, it only really does account management (because that was all I needed) and simple account reports. It doesn't integrate with banking services (because I don't need it), but it would be very easy to script and extend to add these facilities.

Re:Nice front but what about the backend? (1)

cortana (588495) | more than 7 years ago | (#16765195)

You really don't want to trust MySQL with such a task! ;)

Seriously though, there used to be a PostgreSQL backend, but it has falled into disuse. Perhaps some day it will be revived.

Postgres Backend (1)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 7 years ago | (#16767365)

The backend worked in the 1.8 series. If it is vital to have, you can probably still run an older version (though you won't have gtk+-2). The developers are currently working on a SQL backend, but it might take awhile.

MoneyDance is better (2, Interesting)

BigRedFed (635728) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764807)

Pure java application. Stable. Runs on Linux, Windows, OSX, UNIX, etc. [] Built to replace Quicken. Integrates with your bank, payment service like paytrust and credit cards. Not as refined as Quicken and a couple of things I like better about quicken, but it's only $30.00. And if you continuously upgrade to the beta versions, you don't have to pay an upgrade fee from what I've seen. If you run Lin/Freespire it's available in CNR.

Re:MoneyDance is better (3, Insightful)

Copperhead (187748) | more than 7 years ago | (#16765059)

I second the MoneyDance recommendation. I used GnuCash for a while (pre 2.0), and it was really too complicated for what I needed. MoneyDance does what I need it to do, plus I can have a client on my linux box at home and my windows laptop on the road.

Yes, but does it... (1)

patio11 (857072) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764843)

... run on Windows? I've been using JMoney, which has much of the functionality which I need but, and I know this is shocking for an open source app, some usability and interface issues. Guess I should just remember to buy MS Money with my next Dell...

Re:Yes, but does it... (1)

Xrikcus (207545) | more than 7 years ago | (#16765031)

You could have a look at personal accounts ( which is more streamlined than MS Money, and the new version (which I haven't used, admittedly) is cross platform (linux, windows, OS X). They do sell to the US, but I don't know what support if any there is for online banking (though, like me, you may not feel that's a useful feature). The reviews at for the previous version might be of interest.

Windows (1)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 7 years ago | (#16767063)

Yes, but does it...... run on Windows?
Yes it does. [] There aren't official packages yet, though.

Tell me (-1, Troll)

WisC (963341) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764861)

How do linux users have any money to begin with? I mean they were obviously tight arsed enough to use a free operating system, but I guess its the only way they can be a tight arse after all that anal streching. But seriously, between scrounging new hardware from bins, straining to cough up a few pennies for parentsBasementRent(); and feeding a crack and burrito habit, how due these pennywaste losers have any money to manage? Or do they jsut play with the pretend millions they will get from open source one day/ When kdawson finally pays them for his blowjobs.

Google's spreadsheets (1)

dp_wiz (954921) | more than 7 years ago | (#16764863)

Cross-platform, worldwide accessible and familiar. Works for me.

Syncing with Palm (2, Interesting)

The MESMERIC (766636) | more than 7 years ago | (#16765075)

Would be nice if it was possible to sync the Palm's Expense directly into GnuCash (or similar).
Better still, would be nice if it was possible to sync instead some better app like Mobile Money.

Web App? (1)

whoop (194) | more than 7 years ago | (#16765205)

I've been looking for a web type app for this for a while now. Are there any decent ones people use? I use different computers, OSes, etc and can't be tied to one desktop. Any ideas here?

Re:Web App? (1)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 7 years ago | (#16767499)

I solve that by using GnuCash. The datafile is synced on the *nix machines I use. I have used it over VNC and X in Windows (but now you can build it on your windows machine).

If you're looking for someone else's server to run this on, Yodlee is your best bet.

If you're looking to run a webapp on your own server, try SQL-Ledger [] .

Spreadsheet (3, Informative)

AVryhof (142320) | more than 7 years ago | (#16765297)

I use a spreadsheet sort of laid out like a check register with a few extra columns to reconcile with.

I use it on Excel under Crossover, but I assume it can be done with KSpread, OO.o, Gnumeric, Google spreadsheet, or even VisiCalc... as long as it supports some simple formulas.

  |     A       |   B   |    C   |        D        |  E   |     F           |   G
0 | Description | Debit | Credit | Running Balance | Bank | Outstanding     | Paid Out
1 | Deposit     |       |   300  |       =(C1)     |      |                 |
2 | GAS         |    30 |        | =(D1 - B2 + C2) |      | =if(E2="X",0,B2)| =if(E2="X",B2,0)

So now you just paste your formulas down the columns .. then all you have to do is fill in your transactions.

When they show up on your bank statement, or in your electronic banking, put an X in column E, and the Outstanding value moves to Column G.

Who needs specialty accounting software when one of the oldest apps around can do it just fine?


dwayner79 (880742) | more than 7 years ago | (#16765735)

I would like to budget, reconcile each month, many months, or yearly against the budget. I want to track spending, forecast spending. I would also like to track interest payments, automatically get yearly tax return values, and plan out my retirement.

I guess someone COULD do that with an excel sheet, but it would be a crapload of work, and foolish considering other software packages exist that do it already.

Intuit has an online version (I do not remember it as IE only). So that may be another option for the linux users who don't wear tin hats.

Re:Spreadsheet (0, Flamebait)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 7 years ago | (#16766221)

Your example is a joke, of course.

TurboCash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16765365) [] []

lots of countries supported and open source (inc windows)
plus lots of support

Re:TurboCash (1)

crimperman (225941) | more than 7 years ago | (#16766713)

open source (inc windows)

I think that should read _only_ windows. It's not available under any other platform (yet).

Living in the basement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16765377)

I don't have any money, I live in my moms basement! :D

Securing Networks With Windows Apps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16765385)

If you liked this article, you may also be interested in "Securing Networks With Windows Firewalls" and "Unleashing Mac's Gaming Potential"

pretty screens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16765423)

hehe, "not trying to hide behind pretty screens". Is that same as edlin didn't try to hide your autoexec.bat or config.sys behind pretty screens?

note: i am posting from my phone so cannot see gnucash gui and having never used it dont know anything about it but the sentence sounded like a great excuse for hacker-ish gui.

Another alternative - Buddi (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16766885)

Buddi ( [] ) is another free GPL budgeting program which I made to help budgeting. It is very simple and does not include a bunch of unused features; however, what it does it does well. It is written in Java 1.5. As of this past week, it is expandable via a plugin architecture, and there are a number of people currently working on plugins for it. If you want a simple budgeting program which does not require an accounting degree to use, this is for you.

There was recently a review of it at Ars Technica ( /5/5866 [] ).


FAQ on F/OSS Finace (2, Informative)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 7 years ago | (#16767291)

The FW Finance faq: Free and Open Source Finance Applications [] at fatwallet lists other F/OSS applications, as well as a lot of useful links. The favorite of the FAQ is GnuCash & there are links on how to run it in Windows and OS X.

Learning curve? (2, Informative)

siwelwerd (869956) | more than 7 years ago | (#16767423)

How do they argue that Gnucash has a "bit of a learning curve"? I picked it up a couple months ago, and in maybe 15 minutes had figured it out. It truly is a wonderful app for personal finances.

frist st04 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16767451)

I quit using GnuCash (0, Offtopic)

gosand (234100) | more than 7 years ago | (#16767677)

I used to use GnuCash a couple of years ago, but I just quit using it. It was a PITA. It couldn't import my online bank statements, and the hassle just became too great. My wife took over handling the finances when we had our first child because she stayed home, and she bought Quicken. According to her, it has been hassle-free, apart from the forced upgrade. So why would I switch? That is the key here - we have something that works, that did cost money but gave good value for the money, and continues to work. So why change that? GnuCash couldn't meet our needs when we decided to use software to manage our finances, so we went with something that could. THAT is one of the reasons that OSS will have a hard time cracking into the mainstream, it takes a long time to properly fill a niche. Note the word "properly". With commercial software, they take the time to design and make a product usable BEFORE launching it to customers. I fully understand and can appreciate the way OSS works, but I am also practical enough to go with what works.
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