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See also: last week's Development page.
Another look at gnucash. Last December we ran a review of gnucash that concluded that the program - a free personal and small business finance package - was not quite ready for prime time. Inspired by meeting the developers at the Linux Business Expo, LWN took another look at gnucash. Conclusion: it has come a long way. Your editor is pleased to announce a complete transition to gnucash, thus getting rid of the last Windows application on his system. Time to reclaim that partition.
Gnucash 1.3.6 has all of the basics that one needs to track finances under Linux. It handles several types of accounts, including stocks and credit cards. The double-entry system it uses will look a little strange to users of other packages, but if you think of "expense accounts" and "income accounts" as being "categories" it all comes together just fine. The account reconciliation mechanism works well, and there is a separate little program which will keep stock prices up to date. The QIF import capability has seen a great deal of work. There is also a check printing capability that your editor has not tried out.
That said, those who are contemplating moving over from Quicken or some other such package need to be prepared for a rougher existence. Gnucash is not yet at the level of those applications in either features or ease of use. Those without a bit of an "early adopter" mindset may want to wait until the 1.4 stable release comes out.
Speaking of stability, your editor was able to make it crash only once. As it turns out, the problem had been fixed even before the report got sent in.
There's no end of missing features. It remembers names of payees, but none of the other information (amounts, accounts) that goes along with them. As a result, more typing is needed than one would like - especially for recurring, split transactions. There is no support for scheduled transactions (i.e. the mortgage payment) yet. It doesn't really understand loans. Some cleverness is needed to enter things like reinvested long-term capital gains distributions on mutual funds. The reports are still rudimentary. And so on.
Gnucash could benefit from some concentrated user interface work as well. You can get auto-incrementing check numbers, but you have to ask for it each time. Most checkbook registers put the check number first, but the gnucash register starts with the date. If you mistakenly type the check number into the date field, you get a date like "May 4, 20003843", which gnucash happily accepts. Creating accounts - something one has to do a lot of - could be easier. There are two "open" icons on the main window with different functions. And so on.
In other words, it's a work in progress. There is every reason to believe that gnucash will continue to progress quickly. Meanwhile, it is ready for those who are slightly adventurous, or who place a premium on working with free software. Gnucash past that critical point of development a little while back - it is clearly going to be successful.
Probotics releases robotics code. The folks at Probotics have announced the release of their robotics code under the GPL. This code is mostly useful, of course, for programming the robots that they sell, but there's likely to be good stuff that can be used beyond that context as well. (Thanks to Alexandre Dulaunoy).
Application of the Week: gkrellm. The Linuxcare application of the week this week is gkrellm. Having found this application, Brett Neely is apparently never going to live without it again. "Apparently influenced by the sci-fi movie 'Forbidden Planet,' gkrellm essentially gives you the headlines of your system's health... gkrellm gives me the kind of information that would normally require a barrage of commands. It gives me the time and date; graphs for CPU activity, process load, disk I/O activity, and eth0 traffic; available resource meters for memory, swap, and disk partitions; the number of new emails in my inbox; and my system's uptime."
Two new Mozilla chat channels. #mozui (for Mozilla UI discussion) and #mozl10n (for Mozilla localization) are two new channels that have been added to irc.mozilla.org, according to MozillaZine.
Mozilla mini-track at O'Reilly conference. A Mozilla mini-track is being planned for this summer's O'Reilly Open Source Software Convention . Speakers will include Mike Shaver, Frank Hecker, Ben Goodger, Alec Flett, Mitchell Baker, Mike Ang, Rob Ginda and Paul Everitt.
SEUL/edu Linux in Education Report. The eighteenth SEUL/edu Linux in Education report talks about Linux in Latin American schools. The SEUL/edu folks will also be present at Linux Canada in Toronto.
The Chopping Block (Worldforge). This month's issue of The Chopping Block is now available. The Chopping Block is a newsletter/magazine covering the Worldforge project, which is developing a complete system for massively multiplayer online roleplaying games. This month's edition contains a 3D tutorial on light and reflections, a developer chat and three short stories. In addition, Aloril reviews the arguments for moving the license for Worldforge from the OPL to the GFDL+GPL.
Kernel Cousin Samba. The April 27th edition of the Kernel Cousin Samba covers temperamental NT logins, problems with the pam_ntdom module, exchanging exchange, continuing problems (though fewer) with Windows 2000 support in Samba 2.0.7pre4 and a patch to support symlinks with smbfs.
Wine Weekly News. This week's Wine Weekly News reports a new Wine snapshot, 20000430, the first snapshot to be released under the X11 license. Unicode support and the wine resource compiler were also topics for discussion this week.
AbiWord 0.7.9.A new version of AbiWord, version 0.7.9, has been released. It contains some new features and both major and minor bugfixes. Overwrite mode, for example, is now available, and page margin support is now included.
For more information and development news, check out this week's AbiWord Weekly News.
Siag Office 3.3.4. Siag Office 3.3.4 has been released. Changes include updates to the German and Spanish translations, faster scrolling and more efficient screen updates.
Tradeclient 0.2.0 released under the GPL. The Personal Information Manager (PIM) tradeclient has now been released under the GPL, as of their latest 0.2.0 release, reports Gnotices. Comments to the announcement seemed generally favorable and indicate that it is a good start, even without IMAP support.
On the Desktop
KDevelop 1.2 released. Gnome support has been added to KDevelop 1.2, released today, along with many other features. We've heard a lot of good things about KDevelop, so it is great to hear that it will now support both the Qt and Gtk libraries, preventing the need for reinvention of the wheel.
German Gnome home page. A German Gnome home page has been created by Gnome hacker Martin Baulig. It currently contains a list of Gnome events in Germany.
Konqueror website. The KDE team proudly announced the unveiling of the Konqueror website, the definite place to find information about Konqueror, KDE's new replacement for kfm. Konqueror is a web browser, file manager, universal file viewer and even a customizable application. Screenshots for the various capabilities are available.
New KWin Style - Modern System (mosfet.org). Mosfet has committed his new C++ KWin style engine, dubbed "Modern System". Screenshots are provided.
Response to O'Reilly 'Motif is not Dead' article. On April 6th, O'Reilly published an interview with Antony Fountain, co-author of Volume 6B: Motif Reference Manual, 2nd Edition, which talked about his opinion of both Gnome and KDE. KDE Core Developer Richard Moore published a response to what he felt were inaccuracies or errors in that article on April 28th, entitling his response "Motif Is Dead, but the body is still twitching". It does a good job of refuting some of the claims of the original author, at least from the KDE perspective.
Data-Driven Sites with Midgard (WebTechniques). Web Techniques walks through setting up a web site with Midgard. "Content is separated into style (layout management), structure (host management), and raw material (content management). This clear demarcation offers many opportunities to delegate responsibilities for each part of the site. In addition, full integration of the PHP3 scripting language makes it easy to extend Midgard in powerful ways." (Thanks to Henri Bergius).
Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh
May 4, 2000
OpenGL Class Library 0.0.1. The initial release of the OpenGL Class Library has been announced. It is available under the GPL. "The OpenGL Class Library is intented to be a set of C++ classes, available through static and dynamic libraries, that will allow the developer to create OpenGL applications using C++ quickly. This includes the ability to create multiple windows and assign individual events to them. In addition, other useful functionality will be included that will allow images (.bmp, .raw, .tga, etc.) and 3d object format files (.3ds, .asc, .dxf, etc.) to be loaded in a platform-independant way. "
IBM Linux JDK 1.3.0. IBM Developer Works has put out an early release of the IBM Developer Kit for Linux, Java 2 Technology Edition. "Version 1.3.0 Early Release (Early Release Developer Kit) is a software development kit that can be used to build Java applications on Linux. The Early Release Developer Kit includes development tools, the IBM Java Runtime Environment for Linux, sample code and Java source files."
The Real-Time Specification for Java. A real time extension to the Java Language Specification and the Java Virtual Machine Specification has been issued by the Real Time Specification for Java Experts Group (RTJEG), chartered under the Java Community Process and JSR-000001. The specification is currently available in PDF format for download.
Why Java seems doomed to fail (osOpinion). Here's an osOpinion piece on why Java doesn't seem to be going anywhere. "In all honesty I'd like to consider Java, but the fact that my development team would be unable to deploy on Linux - our primary server platform - makes it a no go."
Yet Another Perl Conference (yapc). Registration for this year's yapc conference is now open. It will be held June 21-23 at the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. The yapc conference is distinguished by being "driven from the bottom up, organized by and for perl users -- a grassroots conference".
perl5-porters for April 25th through April 20th. The perl5-porters report on Perl development activity is back up and running. Activity is gearing up, with one major bug in perl 5.6 reported and patch provided. Perl 5.6.1 may not be too far out.
Double Tcl-URL. This week, two editions of Tcl-URL came out back to back. Here are the Tcl-URL for May 1st and May 2nd. An administrative note indicates that they plan to return to a more predictable schedule.
Section Editor: Liz Coolbaugh
IBM Java Zone