Open Source financial systems

Conrad Canterford conrad at
Sun Feb 2 11:53:00 EST 2003

On Sun, 2003-02-02 at 11:30, Daniel McNamara wrote:
> Hi guys,
> I'm looking to find an open source financial package that could be used 
> to keep track of small business tradings. Basic requirments are that it 
> must run on Linux, be web based (intranet only really) so no X windows 
> apps and the biggest kicker is it must be useable in Australia (GST 
> aware etc). I've found a few web based systems there are simliar to what 
> I'm after by none of them are for the Austrlain market. I thought maybe 
> someone out there might know of at least one before I set myself the 
> task of rolling my own.

I'm not sure how strict your "no X" requirement is. Before you get mad
keen on rolling your own from scratch, have you considered just writing
an HTMLish front-end for gnucash? The port to Gnome 2.0 will start very
soon, and a part of that will be a clarification of the split between
the front-end and the engine (they're a little confused at the moment
because there has only been one front-end for a long time). Gnucash is
an X application and I'm not sure that the engine components are as
divorced from the X environment as they might be. The build system
certainly isn't. However, they're things that can be fixed if someone
wants to put in the effort to do so.

This approach strikes me as being a much better solution, as you get the
stability of the gnucash engine, and all you need to add is the
appropriate user interface stuff to make it work how you'd like.

As for "GST awareness" - you don't need any special stuff to do that
with any half-decent accounting program. All it is is a split
transaction, with one amount (the GST portion) being put into one
account, and the rest into another. I do this all the time with gnucash
now, despite it not "supporting" it officially. Its not automated, but
its so easy to do that it isn't a problem.
Of course, if you wanted to embed the functionality of that into your
user interface, that would be fine (though I'd hope you'd make that a
configuration option!).

Anyway, just a thought for you to consider. If you want to talk to the
developers in almost-real-time, try connecting an IRC client to and join the channel #gnucash. Unfortunately most of
them are Americans, so bear that in mind when hoping to get answers.
Alternatively you can subscribe to gnucash-devel at through the
home page .

Gnucash "developer" (read "tester and bug-finder").
Conrad Canterford  (conrad at
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