Category: Open Source

Lessig V Helprin (Lessig FTW!)

Over on the Huffington Post Lawrence Lessig wrote a (rather long) review/rebuttal of Mark Helfrin’s Digital BarbarismThe Solipsist and the Internet (a review of Helprin’s Digital Barbarism)–where he, basically tears Helprin’s aruments a new asshole.
This quote is worth everythingelse rolled together in the article.

One might as well say the world of non-copyright gave us Mozart, Bach and Beethoven, while the world of copyright gave us Britney Spears. That too would be a bad argument, but just sort of argument that is at home in this book.

Basically, it seems, Helprin’s book is remarkably un-researched, and not worth anyone’s time who is actually interested in copyright law, and the mess it is in today.

Categories: books, copyright, Open Source

Financial Software for the home user and Linux

The state of financial software for everyday people on Linux is abysmal.
I’ve been using Monyedance for my finances, since I moved over to linux/Ubuntu completely 3 years ago, and am very happy with it, except for one niggling problem with dialogs lately.
The problem with Moneydance is that it is not free, either money wise, or open-source wise. (At least some people consider that a problem.) I don’t mind that I had to pay for it, or that it’s closed source, but the problems with the dialogs (which is due to it’s use of java, and will, I hope, be fixed soon).
Anyways, since I was irritated by this, I decided to look into open-source alternatives, and give them a go.
I decided against Gnucash, because it’s such a monster, and really more than any non-business individual needs.
Homebank doesn’t have the ability to do investments, at least from my reading on their website.
Grisbi doesn’t seem to be in active development, so I passed on it, although it does look nice.
So I tried KMyMoney2.
Yep I tried it, for 1 week.
First problem was importing the QIF file that I generated with Moneydance, I had to try 3 QIF profiles in KMymoney until I finally got the date format right, and it actually imported stuff. This is after making the correct accounts so that it would import the the accounts in the file, which I had to do every time, because KMM didn’t save the accounts that I made during this. (I finally smartened up, and made the accounts first–making sure they were written exactly like I had them in MD.)
OK so I imported them, and the balances didn’t match (I’m sure it’s because I used $0 as the stating balance when I made the accounts, so blame it on me, but it didn’t seem this hard when I moved from MS Money to MD, three years ago.)
So I did some adjustments, to fix things, great, everything is fine, until I look and see double transactions in several of the accounts, so I take out the duplicates, and readjust my adjustments.
OK, this is fine, now everything looks good, I’m ready to go.
So I’m going along fine for a couple of days, and things are looking good, it’s a nice looking program, and seems to be taking care of business.
Then I see that my scheduled direct transfer for my mortgage is on the wrong day. I figure no problem, I’ll just go into the schedule, and change the date we’re good, I get on with my life. A would that it were that easy. this is a loan, a mortgage, and there is no way in hell that I can change that date using the GUI. I can change everything else on that mortgage, if I want, but not that date, no way, no how. So my next step is to see if I can edit the .kmy file, which is quite easy to do actually, since it’s xml. I find where the schedules are, find the date change it to the right one, and voila, everything is fine–at least with my scheduled bills.
Then I notice that my checking account numbers are off, by about $50, and I had made no changes to my checking account. So I figure messing with the xml file messed up my account somehow. Being the smart man that I am (having learned this through the many beat downs I’ve gotten from various programs in the past.) I had made a copy, and saved the old file, so I got rid of the new one, and reinstated the old, and I was back where I started, except the checking account was still messed up.
OK, well one thing at a time. I deleted the Mortgage schedule, and then made a new one from scratch (schedule that is, I kept the mortgage account), so now that’s fine.
Next step, go through the checking account, and see if I can find out why is says there’s 50 odd dollars more in it than I really have (this is after reconciling ti by the way), and I can’t find anything. Nothing. Nada.
I open up Moneydance and plug in everything that I’d entered into KMM in the last week, and reconcile it, and everything is correct. And that is what I want.
I want accurate, easy, finances. No dicking around in a text editor changing dates for scheduling bill payments, etc. No unexplained variances in my totals. Just accurate, easy to use software.
So I’ll continue to use my proprietary, java based software, with the one minor problem of unreadable dialogs every now and then, and hope that sometime in the near future Open Source developers get their act together, and build an as good, or better product. Other OS projects can do it (GnuCash is good, it’s just way too much for what I, or any individual really needs.), I don’t get why KDevelopers can’t

Categories: Finances, Open Source, Software