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2. Gnucash

Gnucash is a double entry accounting program originally started as Xacc in 1997 a student project by Robin Clark. Development is now funded by Gnumatic.

2.1 What is a double entry accounting program?

Conceptually it's a spreadsheet with

Documentation with gnucash will get you started, but you have to know something about double entry accounting. You'll need to get this from somewhere, e.g. an accounting text book.

2.2 Gnucash 1.4

I'm running gnucash v1.4.11. Of the programs I've got to run, this was my most difficult install ever. Gnucash doesn't need to be configured, it just runs. (Sendmail on the other hand is easy to compile, but wins the "most difficult to configure" award).

Things to watch for installing gnucash.

With all the fooling around required, I couldn't compile gnucash in two weekends on a dual 100MHz computer. I grabbed a spare dual 200MHz pentium pro and found the route through the compile with that. Then I could reproduce the successful compilation route on the dual 100MHz machine in a relatively short time.

The large number of libraries can only be expected for a large project, where you use other people's code, over which you have little control. Presumably when the Gnumatic people start getting revenue from gnucash, they'll be able to write a configure script that handles the compile of the libraries too.

2.3 Gnucash 1.6

v1.6 is just out (Jun 2001). This is supposed to be a big upgrade from 1.4.x. I'm sure it is. It requires 60 dynamic libraries, according to the people at slashdot, a significant increase over the number required for 1.4.x. I hope the compile is better than for 1.4.x. Since I really don't know which of all the files I compiled up constitute my gnucash-1.4 installation, I'm afraid that a gnucash-1.6 compile will break my working gnucash and I won't be able to recover it easily. I would rather have a working version of gnucash than a non-working latest version. A CD is supposed to be coming out with the gnucash-1.6 binaries. I'll wait for the CD with the 1.6 sources and configure script.

2.4 This wasn't easy. Why did I do it?

With gnucash running, and with the accounts setup for my business, and with advice from my accountant friend, I pulled out my accounting text book from 15yrs ago and it made sense this time.

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