gnucash roadahead

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gnucash roadahead

Brian Rose-2
Hi all,
I have used Gnucash exclusively for several years
and it is ok for me. However, recently
Quickbooks Pro came as a bundle as part of a Mac
desktop I purchased and it looks very nice.
Is there some plan to incorporate an improvement
on good ideas from other software?
Also, I went to the Gnucash site recently and the
roadmap, architecture pages are very old.
They mention 1.6 as the stable release! Is there
some plan after Gnome2 port and
converting the backend to a database, to support
MySQL and have a web frontend with
AJAX? I looked at SQLledger and the site feels
very dictator-like. It is GPL'd, but the
manual costs A LOT. Is there a need for web people
to keep the GnuCash site updated?
  I am frustrated that Gnucash updates are so
slow, so I am wondering what I can do to
help in the limited time I can give. What are the
biggest needs/hurdles right now?
How many programmers are really involved in
improving Gnucash? I noticed on a
cvs history page that there weren't a lot of
different people committing changes.

Sincerely,
Brian
--
Contagious Design!
web . design . photo

Brian Rose .  web programmer
(604)-630-2426 . brianATcontagiousdesignDOTnet

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Re: gnucash roadahead

Andrew Sackville-West


Brian Rose wrote:
> Hi all,
> I have used Gnucash exclusively for several years and it is ok for me.
> However, recently
> Quickbooks Pro came as a bundle as part of a Mac desktop I purchased and
> it looks very nice.

FWIW, I used QB for years and loved it. It was easy to use and included
all sorts of things like payroll (including tax payments etc.) Problems
I encountered that pushed me to make the migration to gnucash -- 1.
Forced upgrades which required $. Upgrades were forced by discontinuing
payroll support for older versions -- If I didn't pay, then I couldn't
use the payroll service that I was already paying for. The payroll
service was basically automated downloads of tax table information at a
cost of $250(?) a year or so. Fine, that made life easy. When they tried
to force me to upgrade my PERFECTLY USABLE copy of QB for the second or
third time in 5 years, I declined and canceled the tax service figuring
I'd enter my own tax tables. Its actually fairly easy to do BUT THE MATH
WAS WRONG. IOW, I would enter proper tax information and it would
calculate the taxes INCORRECTLY. I confirmed this over several pay
periods by manually calculating payroll as well. This is what started me
looking at migrating. 2. Locked-up information. MY information is
FOREVER locked up in quickbooks. There is no transaction export anymore.
the information files are encrypted. They have a total lock on it and
now I have to forever keep a windows partition that I ONLY use when I
need past years information from QB. I discovered this during the
migration and it convinced me that I had made the right choice. 3.
Double-entry. QB doesn't really support double-entry accounting. Its
sort of a combinatin of double-entry and the basic check register like
you'd see in quicken. This I learned after the migration as I got more
comfortable with GNC. 4. Accountant. my accountant was frustrated at
having to purchase new versions of QB every year to do corporate taxes
for his customers (see 1 above).

Sorry, I didn't mean to get into a total anti-QB rant, but I left it
about a year ago and have never been happier. And I wanted you to
understand the realities of QB. I have control of my information.
Granted I do more work now (payroll mostly), but this is a fair trade
in my estimation. I've taken some of the money saved in upgrade and tax
table costs and donated it to GNC. QB/Quicken became a mature and decent
product many years ago and the company has had to change its model to
continue making money. They do this by providing annual updates with
lots of cruft, and then forcing those upgrades down your throat if you
use any of the other services they tack on. Not a good plan. and they
lock you in by preventing you from exporting your information into other
formats. </rant>

> Is there some plan to incorporate an improvement on good ideas from
> other software?
> Also, I went to the Gnucash site recently and the roadmap, architecture
> pages are very old.
> They mention 1.6 as the stable release! Is there some plan after Gnome2
> port and
> converting the backend to a database, to support MySQL and have a web
> frontend with
> AJAX? I looked at SQLledger and the site feels very dictator-like. It is
> GPL'd, but the
> manual costs A LOT. Is there a need for web people to keep the GnuCash
> site updated?
>  I am frustrated that Gnucash updates are so slow, so I am wondering
> what I can do to
> help in the limited time I can give. What are the biggest needs/hurdles
> right now?
> How many programmers are really involved in improving Gnucash? I noticed
> on a
> cvs history page that there weren't a lot of different people committing
> changes.
>

I suggest you subscribe to the developers list.
[hidden email]. THere is a lot of traffic right now as they
push for a G2 release. There are only a handful of developers working on
it and they are also currently trying to develop a plan to attract more
developers. developmentally that is.? ;)

I know they are getting ready to put out a series of alpha releases that
will need heavy testing, and if you're not a developer type, testers are
more than welcome. If you are a developer type, they'd probably love to
have you, but be warned, its a BIG project with a steep learning curve.
But the guys (you are all guys arent you? i think) are helpful. Realise
that there is probably nothing you could do at this point to speed up
G2, but you could get your self into it and be able to contribute
towards the next feature release 2.2.

I speak as if I know way more than I do, but that's my .02 on it all

Andrew
> Sincerely,
> Brian
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Re: gnucash roadahead

Derek Atkins
In reply to this post by Brian Rose-2
Brian Rose <[hidden email]> writes:

> Hi all,
> I have used Gnucash exclusively for several years
> and it is ok for me. However, recently
> Quickbooks Pro came as a bundle as part of a Mac
> desktop I purchased and it looks very nice.
> Is there some plan to incorporate an improvement
> on good ideas from other software?

Define "plan".  We'd love to add more features
(once the g2 port is finished).  Are you offering
to implement them?

> Also, I went to the Gnucash site recently and the
> roadmap, architecture pages are very old.
> They mention 1.6 as the stable release!

Yea, the web site has a dearth of updaters at the
moment.  The actual code gets much more attention
than the website.

>    Is there
> some plan after Gnome2 port and
> converting the backend to a database, to support
> MySQL and have a web frontend with
> AJAX?

Yes, no, no.  The current plan is to support SQLite
as the main file storage system.  The process of
converting to SQLite /may/ enable MySQL, but that
is not a direct goal.  There are no plans OR intentions
to supply a web frontend.

>     Is there a need for web people
> to keep the GnuCash site updated?

I dont know.

>  I am frustrated that Gnucash updates are so
> slow, so I am wondering what I can do to
> help in the limited time I can give. What are the
> biggest needs/hurdles right now?

Go read the GNOME2_STATUS file in the g2 branch in
CVS for the current status on the g2 port.  I'm
sorry you're frustrated.  I would suggest you read
the -devel archives for ideas on how you can help.

> How many programmers are really involved in
> improving Gnucash? I noticed on a
> cvs history page that there weren't a lot of
> different people committing changes.

Maybe 4-6.

-derek

--
       Derek Atkins, SB '93 MIT EE, SM '95 MIT Media Laboratory
       Member, MIT Student Information Processing Board  (SIPB)
       URL: http://web.mit.edu/warlord/    PP-ASEL-IA     N1NWH
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Re: gnucash roadahead

Brian Rose-2
In reply to this post by Andrew Sackville-West
Hi Andrew,
<rant>...</rant>

Rant, indeed--but much appreciated. It is nice to
hear now and then that the "grass is
greener" that I see in Quickbooks probably is
actually "brown grass painted a lush green!"

>
> I suggest you subscribe to the developers list.

done, thanks.

--
Contagious Design!
web . design . photo

Brian Rose .  web programmer
(604)-630-2426 . brianATcontagiousdesignDOTnet

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Re: gnucash roadahead

Adam Rosi-Kessel
In reply to this post by Derek Atkins
Derek Atkins wrote:
>> How many programmers are really involved in
>> improving Gnucash? I noticed on a
>> cvs history page that there weren't a lot of
>> different people committing changes.
> Maybe 4-6.

I've had similar feelings to Brian--I thought gnucash was a really
impressive achievement five years ago, and assumed that, like other major
OSS packages (OpenOffice, Mozilla), would gradually iron out all of the
rough edges and gain critical mass until it reached a point where it could
beat the proprietary competition on all fronts. Instead, while a lot of
functionality has been added, it still feels almost as awkward to use is it
did five years ago.

One question I've been pondering for a while whether a significant cash
infusion could kick development up a notch. I understand that managing a
large project like this with 4-6 developers (all volunteer?) is a huge task,
especially given the difficulty of participating at a low level (i.e., I
can't spend an hour or two--or even a couple of days--looking at the code
and contribute some helpful patch in that time.)  Not that I have a large
amount of cash that I could contribute, but I imagine there are thousands or
tens of thousands of gnucash users out there who would certainly love to see
some major improvements... would a coordinated fundraising campaign that
might pay for a full-time developer be something worth pursuing?  Right now,
it looks like there's only $500 in the donations account.

Sorry if this has already been discussed ad nauseum--if so, please point me
in the right direction.

Adam


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Re: gnucash roadahead

Andrew Sackville-West
In reply to this post by Brian Rose-2


Brian Rose wrote:
> Hi Andrew,
> <rant>...</rant>
>
> Rant, indeed--but much appreciated. It is nice to hear now and then that
> the "grass is
> greener" that I see in Quickbooks probably is actually "brown grass
> painted a lush green!"

Well, I am only one user and I have very definite opinions, so I
encourage you to ask around more and even try the software for a little
while. And, it really depends a lot on your needs and desires. The most
important thing is that YOU be satisfied with what you use. Personally,
I was really offended at the locking of my information. For others, this
may not be a big deal. ITs one of those things that snuck up on me too.
For years you could export transactions from quickbooks. suddenly its
gone.... Some people like a program that does a lot of thinking for them
and provides lots of widgets (at a cost) that make life easier.
Personally, I prefer nuts-and-bolts level work. YMMV.

A


>
>>
>> I suggest you subscribe to the developers list.
>
>
> done, thanks.
>
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Re: gnucash roadahead

Joseph Mack NA3T
In reply to this post by Adam Rosi-Kessel
On Wed, 19 Oct 2005, Adam Rosi-Kessel wrote:

> it looks like there's only $500 in the donations account.

I think I know why.

Having used used gnucash for about 5 years and being very
pleased with it, I decided to make a donation and went to
the sourceforge donation site. My paypal account has the
credit card of my last transaction (off ebay) and I wanted
to use another. I filled in the "add card" page, but on
submit was told that the card is already registered (having
used it on a previous paypal transaction). So I had to
cancel out of that page. Returning to the option to select
from my registered credit cards, I find only one and it's
the same (wrong) one.

There's a page to submit a bug report about your payments,
but I have to setup a sourceforge account to do that.

Do you have an address I can send a check?

Joe
--
Joseph Mack NA3T EME(B,D), FM05lw North Carolina
jmack (at) wm7d (dot) net - azimuthal equidistant map
generator at http://www.wm7d.net/azproj.shtml 
Homepage http://www.austintek.com/ It's GNU/Linux!
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Re: gnucash roadahead

Robert Heller
In reply to this post by Brian Rose-2
  Andrew Sackville-West <[hidden email]>,
  In a message on Wed, 19 Oct 2005 10:45:36 -0700, wrote :

AS> table costs and donated it to GNC. QB/Quicken became a mature and decent
AS> product many years ago and the company has had to change its model to
AS> continue making money. They do this by providing annual updates with
AS> lots of cruft, and then forcing those upgrades down your throat if you
AS> use any of the other services they tack on. Not a good plan. and they
AS> lock you in by preventing you from exporting your information into other
AS> formats. </rant>

This is an (unfortunate) 'feature' of vendors of commodity software that
have locked themselves into a business model that is just not
appropriate for software.  Software is not like typical manufactured
goods.  Software never wears out or gets used up, so once the product
hits a certain maturity level, there is no need to 'buy it again'.
Also since most of the time computer programmers spend their time fixing
existing code and not writing code from scratch, the software industry
is better thought of as a *service* industry, not a *manufacturing*
industry.  This is a problem for vendors that have a manufacturing
oriented business model for producing and 'selling' software. Companies
that 'produce' software with the intent of selling lots of (mostly
empty) boxes at places like Staples or Media Play or Best Buy sooner or
later find themselves in a 'strange' situation: their product has
matured and their customer base has become saturated (virtually every
potential customer has a copy of the mature product and has no need to
buy 'upgrades').  When this point happens the software vendor is faced
with a problem: how do they pay their programmers to work on only bug
fixes and security patches?  Eg, now that all of their customers have
the big box with the CD-ROM stuck in the middle, how do you collect for
on-going minor updates?  Can you entice them buy the software with a
pile of bug fixes and some cosmetic changes?  Or do you have to somehow
'strong arm' (eg extort) a license fee out of your customer base?  It
sounds like this has happened with QB...


                                     \/
Robert Heller                        ||InterNet:   [hidden email]
http://vis-www.cs.umass.edu/~heller  ||            [hidden email]
http://www.deepsoft.com              /\FidoNet:    1:321/153






                       
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Robert Heller                      -- 978-544-6933
Deepwoods Software        -- Download the Model Railroad System
http://www.deepsoft.com/  -- Binaries for Linux and MS-Windows
heller@deepsoft.com        -- http://www.deepsoft.com/ModelRailroadSystem/
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RE: gnucash roadahead

ted creedon
Try running a 1970 era business on a 32KB Data General Nova with a 2Meg
removable disk. It was done.

At least we're not wire wrapping boards to get the job done.

tedc

-----Original Message-----
From: [hidden email]
[mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Robert Heller
Sent: Wednesday, October 19, 2005 3:59 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: gnucash roadahead

  Andrew Sackville-West <[hidden email]>,
  In a message on Wed, 19 Oct 2005 10:45:36 -0700, wrote :

AS> table costs and donated it to GNC. QB/Quicken became a mature and
AS> decent product many years ago and the company has had to change its
AS> model to continue making money. They do this by providing annual
AS> updates with lots of cruft, and then forcing those upgrades down
AS> your throat if you use any of the other services they tack on. Not a
AS> good plan. and they lock you in by preventing you from exporting
AS> your information into other formats. </rant>

This is an (unfortunate) 'feature' of vendors of commodity software that
have locked themselves into a business model that is just not appropriate
for software.  Software is not like typical manufactured goods.  Software
never wears out or gets used up, so once the product hits a certain maturity
level, there is no need to 'buy it again'.
Also since most of the time computer programmers spend their time fixing
existing code and not writing code from scratch, the software industry is
better thought of as a *service* industry, not a *manufacturing* industry.
This is a problem for vendors that have a manufacturing oriented business
model for producing and 'selling' software. Companies that 'produce'
software with the intent of selling lots of (mostly
empty) boxes at places like Staples or Media Play or Best Buy sooner or
later find themselves in a 'strange' situation: their product has matured
and their customer base has become saturated (virtually every potential
customer has a copy of the mature product and has no need to buy
'upgrades').  When this point happens the software vendor is faced with a
problem: how do they pay their programmers to work on only bug fixes and
security patches?  Eg, now that all of their customers have the big box with
the CD-ROM stuck in the middle, how do you collect for on-going minor
updates?  Can you entice them buy the software with a pile of bug fixes and
some cosmetic changes?  Or do you have to somehow 'strong arm' (eg extort) a
license fee out of your customer base?  It sounds like this has happened
with QB...


                                     \/
Robert Heller                        ||InterNet:   [hidden email]
http://vis-www.cs.umass.edu/~heller  ||            [hidden email]
http://www.deepsoft.com              /\FidoNet:    1:321/153






                       
_______________________________________________
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[hidden email]
https://lists.gnucash.org/mailman/listinfo/gnucash-user


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Re: gnucash roadahead

Brian Rose-2
In reply to this post by Derek Atkins

>>Is there some plan to incorporate an improvement
>>on good ideas from other software?
>
>
> Define "plan".  

Ok, I presume we can't just "steal ideas from
competing products and implement exactly".
So, how are improvements approved as good ideas?
Should I add my requests to
Gnucash bug zilla or to the Gnucash wiki wishlist?

We'd love to add more features
> (once the g2 port is finished).  Are you offering
> to implement them?

Hehe. We-l-l, this is where the rubber meets the
road isn't it? I would be open to taking on
small implementation tasks at first. Is there some
way to know how big of a project a
specific task is--like on a scale of 1 to 10?
Alternatively, where would I start? Suppose, I
implemented the request--hypothetically, to
provide an option to configure reports before
generating. How would I go about that? Where would
I look in the source and docs? I
guess a developer could answer these questions
when I expressed a desire to implement
the feature?

>
> Yes, no, no.  The current plan is to support SQLite
> as the main file storage system.  The process of
> converting to SQLite /may/ enable MySQL, but that
> is not a direct goal.  There are no plans OR intentions
> to supply a web frontend.

Yes, I would suggest to have the backend support
generic SQL so that it was
customizable in the future for a web frontend or
an enterprise setting with MySQL
or PostGres.

>
>>    Is there a need for web people
>>to keep the GnuCash site updated?
>
>
> I dont know.

Well, when I see the architecture and roadmap
hasn't really changed for years, I don't know
about the direction of the Gnucash team now.

  I would suggest you read
> the -devel archives for ideas on how you can help.

Ok.

>
>>How many programmers are really involved in
>>improving Gnucash? I noticed on a
>>cvs history page that there weren't a lot of
>>different people committing changes.
>
>
> Maybe 4-6.

This explains A LOT! What about merchandising and
branding Gnucash with  cool version
names and putting funny quotes, or whatever on
t-shirts? T-shirts can be cheap to make
and fun to wear! Mozilla does this--no idea how
successful it is.

Lets make it fun and cool to use and easy to "get
in"--relatively. I mean
I realize accounting/bookkeeping is not equivalent
in "ease" to browsing.

Sincerely,
Brian
--
Contagious Design!
web . design . photo

Brian Rose .  web programmer
(604)-630-2426 . brianATcontagiousdesignDOTnet

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Re: gnucash roadahead

adrinux
Brian Rose wrote:
> Lets make it fun and cool to use and easy to "get in"--relatively.
Oh, I think you'd have to start with a better logo and website design, the
current offering's are passable but not exactly 'sexy'. The logo in particular.

Though I suppose that's just as likely to attract more users - requiring tech
support and tuition and sucking time away from development - as it is to attract
more developers.

As for the main thrust of this thread it really has been done before,
repeatedly. I think the gist of things can be summarized thus:

Many things will improve greatly once the G2 version is out.
More programmers are needed to push that forward faster.
Money alone won't help (but always has it's uses).
If you want to help out subscribe to the developers list. Ask.

I suspect a functioning G2 will also help to attract more programmers, after all
, who wants to work on software they can't currently use?

I've just subscribed to the developers list, though I'm only a web geek.

--
adrinux (aka Adrian Simmons) <http://adrinux.perlucida.com>
e-mail <mailto:[hidden email]>
AOL/Yahoo IM: perlucida, Microsoft: [hidden email]
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Re: gnucash roadahead

Derek Atkins
In reply to this post by Adam Rosi-Kessel
Adam Rosi-Kessel <[hidden email]> writes:

> it looks like there's only $500 in the donations account.

Actually, there is more than this..  The website hasn't been
updated to reflect reality.  There is no automated process
to update the website when a donation is received.

-derek
--
       Derek Atkins, SB '93 MIT EE, SM '95 MIT Media Laboratory
       Member, MIT Student Information Processing Board  (SIPB)
       URL: http://web.mit.edu/warlord/    PP-ASEL-IA     N1NWH
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Re: gnucash roadahead

Adam Rosi-Kessel
Derek Atkins wrote:
>> it looks like there's only $500 in the donations account.
> Actually, there is more than this..  The website hasn't been
> updated to reflect reality.  There is no automated process
> to update the website when a donation is received.

So how much is in the account? What have donations been used for in the
past? Is it correct that all of the developers are volunteer?

Adam


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Re: gnucash roadahead

Mark Johnson-2
In reply to this post by Robert Heller
Robert Heller wrote:

>Software is not like typical manufactured
>goods.  Software never wears out or gets used up, so once the product
>hits a certain maturity level, there is no need to 'buy it again'.
>  
>
Strictly speaking, this is true.  However, software does experience
"aging", rather than mechanical wear and tear.  One example of this is
the QB tax tables, which have to be purchased every year.  Regulations
change and new ones are made.  Without updates, the software becomes
useless.

A second example is the environment in which software runs.  Operating
systems get updated, sometimes breaking older software.  Then
updates/bug fixes are required to continue running.  Hardware changes
can require software updates as well.

While not exactly wearing out, these changes are similar.

I agree that the business model does not favour customers.  This is a
problem in commercial software.

Locking up the customer's data is a rather despicable tactic.  I
consider it a sign of poor value in the software.  Perhaps the vendor
does not have sufficient confidence in the superiority of their product
to believe that customers would continue to choose it without the lockup.

Mark

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Re: gnucash roadahead

Andrew Sackville-West
In reply to this post by adrinux


Adrian Simmons wrote:

>
> Though I suppose that's just as likely to attract more users - requiring
> tech support and tuition and sucking time away from development - as it
> is to attract more developers.

I think there is a pretty good, knowledgeable, user base in gnucash on
this list and although we are all grateful to Derek for being the
"developer on call" over here, there are lots of others who can handle a
lot of what he beats us to. In other words, I think this list could
handle a pretty sizable influx of new users fairly well. In order to
deal with the devel-time-suck, the competent users would have to make a
concerted effort to deal with issues quickly so that the developers
didn't feel the need to step in right away. Then they could monitor the
list for cases when people are headed in the wrong direction or giving
bad advice. In a lot of respects an active USER supported list ould do
more to help development than $ in the kitty. my .02.

>
> As for the main thrust of this thread it really has been done before,
> repeatedly. I think the gist of things can be summarized thus:
>
> Many things will improve greatly once the G2 version is out.
> More programmers are needed to push that forward faster.
> Money alone won't help (but always has it's uses).
> If you want to help out subscribe to the developers list. Ask.
>
> I suspect a functioning G2 will also help to attract more programmers,
> after all , who wants to work on software they can't currently use?
>
> I've just subscribed to the developers list, though I'm only a web geek.

its a good list, frankly, and though a lot of the threads are very
technical, there is also lots of discussion that is of value to users. I
try to mostly lurk there, but I hope that the occaisional user
suggestion added to their discussions are helpful.

A
>
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Re: gnucash roadahead

Derek Atkins
In reply to this post by Adam Rosi-Kessel
Adam Rosi-Kessel <[hidden email]> writes:

> Derek Atkins wrote:
>>> it looks like there's only $500 in the donations account.
>> Actually, there is more than this..  The website hasn't been
>> updated to reflect reality.  There is no automated process
>> to update the website when a donation is received.
>
> So how much is in the account?

I don't know offhand, sorry.  I'll try to get that
information when I have some time and I'm not trying
to escape a Hurricane.

> What have donations been used for in the past?

Nothing, yet.  I was going to use the donations to
purchase the machine that is the current CVS/email
server, but I decided to have my consulting company buy it
instead.

>  Is it correct that all of the developers are volunteer?

Yes.  There are no paid staff on GnuCash.  AFAIK nobody
is paid to work on GnuCash.  All the devs are volunteers
and have real day-jobs that they have to do.

> Adam

-derek

--
       Derek Atkins, SB '93 MIT EE, SM '95 MIT Media Laboratory
       Member, MIT Student Information Processing Board  (SIPB)
       URL: http://web.mit.edu/warlord/    PP-ASEL-IA     N1NWH
       [hidden email]                        PGP key available
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Re: gnucash roadahead

Andrew Sackville-West


Derek Atkins wrote:

>
> I don't know offhand, sorry.  I'll try to get that
> information when I have some time and I'm not trying
> to escape a Hurricane.

where are you? and GOOD LUCK!
>

>
> Yes.  There are no paid staff on GnuCash.  AFAIK nobody
> is paid to work on GnuCash.  All the devs are volunteers
> and have real day-jobs that they have to do.

making the work you all do on this project that much more appreciated.

A
>
>
>>Adam
>
>
> -derek
>
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