I’m one of those people always on the fence when it comes to open source software. Â Sure, the idea is great, but when it comes to using it… well, I’m often disappointed.
Case in point: I’m trying to install GnuCash on my mac(s). Â There are installations that are easy, but they come relatively limited, particularly in terms of file formats. Â GnuCash can support nice database systems like mysql or postgres rather than just the original XML format. Â I want that capability. Â So, I try to compile the code required to add that support. Â No joy. Â Grrr. Â So, I decided to go with the MacPorts install… Â hours ago… I’m still waiting for all of the compiles of dependencies. Â The process so far has stopped 3 times on failures. Â It’s rather ridiculous. Â I’m sure someone would say “If you just used linux it wouldn’t be a problem”. Â Sure, you’re likely to be successful installing and probably more quickly on linux, but I don’t like linux very much. Â I’ll use it when I have to.
So, when I complain about linux, I’ll have to remember to add the whole issue of dependencies. Â I usually gripe about things like UI, which most people see right away. Â However, the dependencies issue turns me off very quickly. Â Let’s face it, the dependencies issue won’t go away. Â You could argue that’s the linux philosophy, but I suspect it’s really the Gnu OSS licensing making this stuff crazy. Â Let’s face it, open source software really isn’t free. Â Most OSS software Â comes with restrictions. Â I’m often willing to abide by these restrictions as a user because I really don’t have to think about them. Â However, if I understand the licensing (and I freely admit I don’t understand the licensing that well) there is a strong disincentive to compile Â and distribute the software, statically linked to it’s dependencies, as one big app. Â Thus, you’re stuck with installing dependencies that might or might not be compatible with the application you’re really trying to build. Â So, part of the cost of OSS is dealing with these kinds of issues.
Despite this complaining, the cost of OSS (and it’s more than just dependencies) is sometimes worth it. Â Some OSS software I use often are QuantumGIS and Zotero (I probably use far more than that, particularly in terms of libraries). Â I’m hoping that GnuCash fits in this category of being “worth it”.
What I’m hoping with GnuCash is that I have sort of an in-house common financial record system. Â Right now, I use GnuCash for my business accounting, but I’m wanting to shift away from Quicken for our personal work. Â We have a really old version of Quicken and I can’t justify in my mind the cost of upgrading, particularly since it doesn’t do the job the way I need to use it. Â In particular, it seems unsafe to use a Quicken file across a network connection. Â That always scares me with Quicken. Â My hope is that getting GnuCash working with Postgres or Mysql that sort of thing would be safer. Â I understand it’s still not safe for two people to use at the same time, but that’s okay. Â I want a safer and robust approach that my wife might be willing to use.
ah finally, it’s done.
Bah, humbug. Â All that work for nothing. Â Apparently, my installed version of Postgres is incompatible with libdbi. Â Geez!