Boston Linux & UNIX was originally founded in 1994 as part of The Boston Computer Society. We meet on the third Wednesday of each month at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Building E51.

BLU Discuss list archive

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[Discuss] Personal finance software on Linux

Daniel Barrett wrote:
> Having tried all the Linux (and several of the Mac)
> options, none of them was as capable as Quicken...

Can you elaborate? List a few specifics?

The places where it fell short for you may be things most people
consider obscure.

One place where I bet the open source tools fall short is in interfacing
with the online bill paying services provided by banks. For a while
Intuit was the only third party the banks would deal with. It's gotten
better, but I think Moneydance still struggles with this. (They work
with some banks, but probably far fewer than Quicken.)

> Money is kind of important so I recommend throwing FOSS allegiences
> aside for this one. :-) Likewise for taxes (I run TurboTax in that
> same VM).

I wouldn't apply the same logic to both. Double entry accounting is not
all that complicated. The sorts of bugs you'll find are far more apt to
be in UI quirks or missing features. Your "important" language implies
FOSS solutions might not be trustworthy.

When it comes to taxes that's a different story. Now you are asking
volunteer programmers to implement a huge pile of complex rules, that
vary by state, and a pile of which changes each year. No single
volunteer programmer would want to or could take on all of that, and a
project is unlikely to attract enough developers to consistently deliver
each year a new version covering most states.

Then there is the question of legal liability if the calculations are
wrong. As a user, you might not want to use a product where you can't
hold the developer accountable (sue for damages) and a volunteer
developer is going to shy away from an area with that sort of liability

Open source tax software could work, but you really need to have several
commercial contributors tied to the project, like a
RedHat/Canonical/etc. type of situation. Then there would be a business
model with revenues to pay a sufficient quantity of developers to
implement the annually changed rules, and fund a liability insurance policy.

It would also help if the various taxing agencies cooperated by unifying
the standard used by the states (such as for e-filing), and releasing
tax rules as machine readable descriptions.


Tom Metro
The Perl Shop, Newton, MA, USA
"Predictable On-demand Perl Consulting."

BLU is a member of BostonUserGroups
BLU is a member of BostonUserGroups
We also thank MIT for the use of their facilities.

Valid HTML 4.01! Valid CSS!

Boston Linux & Unix /