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GNU Cash (What Went Wrong) !?

I think this is a very interesting case study for both open source and commercial developers.

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=74382&cid=6670722
http://gnucash.org/en/state_of_the_gnucash_project.phtml

Mark B.
Monday, August 11, 2003

I wish there was enough information.  Who is this guy who put the page up, and does he really speak for the other main developers?  The links to the Gnucash mailing lists are down, maybe slashdotted.

Why were they turning away developers and why the rush?  This is like when a company is in trouble, and some insider says what the problems were.  Does he really know?  Why does he expect volunteers to flock to a project that seems really mismanaged? 

Maybe more info will come out in the next days.

G. Lund
Monday, August 11, 2003

"How big is it? GnuCash currently has 287,853,430 physical source lines of code (SLOC)."  People bitch about MS code bloat.  This whale has 287 million lines of code????

That is what happens when you give amatuers computers.  Please, somebody, raise the price of hardware.

Gimmme Mac or Win or even commercial Unix over this Open Cess Pool crap.

Taylor.
Monday, August 11, 2003

Yeah! Except it's 287,853 lines of code.  Stop making stuff up!

Oren Miller
Monday, August 11, 2003

** Warning ignore the slashdot link ** the true story at the gnucash page. Sorry about the mixup I should have read it more carefully. :-)

Mark B
Monday, August 11, 2003

Either way, it's a massive over-reach. The scope needs to be cut by at least 50% if not more. Most of the screen shots seem to be of irelevant features such as searchable documentation and embedded web browser while the supposed "main place", the checkbook register, suffers from mediocrity. Bragging about the lines of code is preposterous and the absolute reason the project is in trouble. Every problem the author lays out is directly attributable to way too much code and way too broad a scope.

pb
Monday, August 11, 2003

Doomed from the start as a we too, we can do OS quicken, let's not innovate, let's just re-invent as OS,  why would anyone pay 20 bucks when we could write that in our spare time...


10 years from now, the yout's won't know what a checkbook is .

fool for python
Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Dear Taylor!

It's already been posted that the slashdot version is somewhat inaccurate(!), but just to show how obvious it is that the number of source code lines is wrong, look at the math:

Age of Linux in years: 12
Age of Linux in days: 12 * 365 = 4380
Codelines produced per day, if the GNU Cash team started the year Linux was born:  287,853,430 / 4,380 = 65,720

Man, if people really want to believe something, there's obvously no way of stopping them...

Martin A. Boegelund
Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Maybe they copy a few hundred SCO Unix files to pump
up the line count. :-)

Amour Tan
Tuesday, August 12, 2003

That would explain the lack of GNUCash success :-D

Martin A. Boegelund
Tuesday, August 12, 2003

If GNU Go wants to live up to its name.  It should
create a button that will send dollar bill printout to
my color printer. :-)

Amour Tan
Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Oops, should be GNU Cash instead of GNU Go.

Amour Tan
Tuesday, August 12, 2003

The SCO source actually delivers a couple of buttons for making cash:
1) Sue own customer
2) Sue customer of competing company
3) Make wild anti-Linux claims to attract MS funding

:)

Martin A. Boegelund
Tuesday, August 12, 2003

"Doomed from the start as a we too, we can do OS quicken, let's not innovate, let's just re-invent as OS, why would anyone pay 20 bucks when we could write that in our spare time..."

I could not disagree more. In fact, virtually all successful OSS projects are not particularly innovative. Apache, SendMail, Linux, PHP, etc.

If GnuCash had simply been a basic Quicken knock-off, it would have a much brighter future. Instead, it's littered with "wouldn't it be cool if" features of no use to users. And now it is apparently buggy, unmaintainable, unimproveable, etc. and heading down

pb
Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Virtaully every project in Sourceforge shares the same attributes. Coder thinks he can build X "in his spare time". Puts up version 0.1 in sourceforge. Spends a week or two getting to version 0.27. Loses interest. Project dies. Sourceforge's horrendous interface doesn't help matters as it makes nearly every project look dead and doesn't invite participation.

pb
Tuesday, August 12, 2003

"If GnuCash had simply been a basic Quicken knock-off, it would have a much brighter future. Instead, it's littered with "wouldn't it be cool if" features of no use to users. And now it is apparently buggy, unmaintainable, unimproveable, etc. and heading down "

...which seems to pretty much describe most OS projects. :-)

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, August 12, 2003

-- I could not disagree more. In fact, virtually all successful OSS projects are not particularly innovative. Apache, SendMail, Linux, PHP, etc. --

Umm, I've always thought Apache was innovative or at least as innovative as all the rest of the web servers that were out there. The other projects might not be super innovative - but at least they are very customizable.

Anyway, I think GNU cash is sort of to Quicken what the Gimp is to Photoshop. Gimp is really nice in that it supports a plug-in language called script-fu (and now many others). To me that was a nice feature that attracted developers who wanted to write cool plug-ins, but also attracted users who wanted to use the cool plug-ins.

What does GNU-cash offer? Custom financial reporting plug-ins? Ok, that doesn't sound as exciting to me.

Also, using gimp is a lot cheaper than Photoshop (especially if you don't use it a lot). Like other people pointed out - GNU-cash doesn't really save you a lot of money compared to Quicken. In my opinion that means it needs to have better features. Unfortunately I don't need another built-in webbrowser and I'm not going to use the "searchable documentation" unless I'm trying to find out about some other cool feature (which isn't there!).

NathanJ
Tuesday, August 12, 2003

I'm not sure if it's fair to describe open source projects as being especially prone to failure.  You would be amazed at how many software projects are started in companies, only to never see the light of day.  By nature, all aspects of open source development are visible, so you are seeing both the failures and successes.

M H
Tuesday, August 12, 2003

GNU cash is NOT Quicken knock-off, it is a Quickbooks one.  because of thta it's not easy to use because you really have to understand accounting.  This also limits the the number of developers interested in it.  Plus it is written in C - thus the code bloat.

99.9% ot the software is not very innovative at best some is evolutionary.  Look at Microsoft - Dos, Windows, Excel, Word, Money, Interent Explorer - hardly much originality.

tekumse
Tuesday, August 12, 2003

How do techies in Stallman's code-for-free-and-give-it-away world, ie, those capable of installing these Open Source projects, ever earn enough cash to make a system like this worhwhile? Is it just me who laughs at the irony? Software for capitalists written by tenured commies and disaffected capitalists. It's a gno go.

Anon
Tuesday, August 12, 2003

"Is it just me who laughs at the irony?"

yes, I suspect you are the only person stupid enough to believe what you wrote.

although I may be wrong....anyone else out there have an IQ < 20?

FullNameRequired
Wednesday, August 13, 2003

FullName, that was a really intelligent reply.  Way to accurately and knowledgably respond to each of the points with which you disagreed.

Bravo.


Wednesday, August 13, 2003

"Software for capitalists written by tenured commies and disaffected capitalists. It's a gno go. "

Please explain why you think that writing Open Source software makes one a communist.

Martin A. Boegelund
Wednesday, August 13, 2003

"FullName, that was a really intelligent reply. "

thanks :)

"Way to accurately and knowledgably respond to each of the points with which you disagreed."

I agree, I think I specifically covered each point he made in sufficient depth.

If you believe he made a good, intelligent point which I missed I would be very interested in knowing what it was?

FullNameRequired
Wednesday, August 13, 2003

>Please explain why you think that writing Open Source
>software makes one a communist.
    Have you ever read Richard Stallman's "GNU Manifesto" http://www.gnu.org/gnu/manifesto.html and compared it with Karl Marx's "Communist Manifesto" http://www.anu.edu.au/polsci/marx/classics/manifesto.html ? There are several paragraphs that are copied virtually verbatim!
  Open source contributors have many different reasons, and it's certainly unfair to say everyone who writes Open Source software supports the ideals of the Soviet Union. But if "community ownership of property" isn't the definition of both communism and free software, then what is?

Manifesto
Wednesday, August 13, 2003

And you'll notice that "Free Software" is not spelled "Open Source".

Free software is about user freedoms, open source is about a useful way of development/distribution/marketing/learning in the software field.

Now, how you relate either of these concepts to communism, (except via individuals' personal beliefs), is beyond me.  The idea of "free software" is that users of software shouldn't be restricted in what they can do with it.  That's a consumer rights issue, not a workers' rights issue.  So how the devil do you get to communism from there?

Phillip J. Eby
Wednesday, August 13, 2003

"But if "community ownership of property" isn't the definition of both communism and free software, then what is"

its _really_ not.
with most Free Software _and_ open source software ownership is held by the original author.  They are merely allowing individuals to use the code as they see fit.

There is _no_ community ownership in 99.99% of the cases.

FullNameRequired
Wednesday, August 13, 2003

> There are several paragraphs that are copied virtually verbatim!

That may be. But spreading the communist revolution is a key point in communism - As I recall it the GNU Manifesto does not mention the importance of taking the fortunes of rich and give it to the community, nor does it provide instructions how to establish a communist state.

The key point in the GNU Manifesto is simply "I consider that the golden rule requires that if I like a program I must share it with other people who like it."
So if you ever shared anything you like with anyone who also likes it, you must be a communist!
With your reasoning, you have created more communists than Marx ever has :)

>  Open source contributors have many different reasons, and it's certainly unfair to say everyone who writes Open Source software supports the ideals of the Soviet Union. But if "community ownership of property" isn't the definition of both communism and free software, then what is?

In communism, it's community ownership of the _means of production_ that matters. It's not that "my pants are your pants" but "it's not your factory, it's our factory". This idea was forged before the digital age - it was meant to cover steel mills and coal mines, not IM clients and screensavers!

Besides, the whole idea that the workers must own the means of production, is created so that the "capitalist" does not sponge on the worker.
Now tell me, has it ever occurred to you that a "capitalist" can download Open Source without ever paying a dime to the poor worker who has created the software?
Way to stop "capitalistic parasites" with Open Source, dude!

Martin A. Boegelund
Thursday, August 14, 2003

I suspect that most open source software would be easier to install and configure if the developers were not planning on earning their money supporting it.

Gustavo W.
Thursday, August 14, 2003

I suspect that most closed source software would be more useful, secure and stable if the developers were not planning on earning their money on selling related software and services.

By the way, how much money did Linus Torvalds make last year on support?

Martin A. Boegelund
Friday, August 15, 2003

Children, time to go to bed now. Put away your little open sources.

IQ > 150
Friday, August 15, 2003

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