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Linux accounting

The goal is to find GPL software that can replace QuickBooks™ (QB) or Peachtree™, supporting invoicing, inventory, general accounting, reconciliation, etc. There are many packages that are false starts; if no one is using it, or it seems to be abandoned, there is no reason to consider it.

We consider GPL to be important, so we can modify, and share security updates etc. At this time (10/2007) it is ripe for a GPL package to emerge that will become mainstream. A LAMP technology (Linux, Apache, Mysql, PHP) would be preferred, PHP may not be the ultimate language, but it is battle hardened and works. Mysql or postgresql for a database seems fine.

  1. There are lots of them that are fake GPL - they offer a teaser package with know bugs under GPL - once you switch and get invested, you get sucked into the proprietary version!
  1. Most small businesses don't need multi-location, work-orders, event triggers etc etc.

Most of the packages below lack good order entry. The user should be able to go to the order entry page and create an order with a _NEW_ customer!

The way invoicing should work is if you enter a new name - it should bring up a new customer dialog. What I see instead is program after program where they expect the customer to already be in the system - (this is almost never the case for most businesses).

The invoice should be a one page form - there is no reason to have a separate page for each line item (as lots of other programs have). The idea, is the form the user is filling out LOOKS like the invoice - instead of the invoice getting pulled together from many different pages. This is what makes QB an intuitive program to use - greatly reduces the learning curve.

GPL OSS Accounting Packages

Top listed in order of usability.


Currently phreebooks is the best GPL package and I expect will become very popular - I expect it to be similar to OSC(Open Source Commerce) in the level of adoption. Looks extremely good! At his time Jan-2008 it is late Beta and usable, but still getting better. The author has promised me that the program will always be GPL - he hopes to sell support at some time.

http://www.phreesoft.com GPL java php mysql (LAMP+javascript)

OpenERP (was Tiny ERP)

Tries to do too much Postgresql-python both web and gtk client

Too many pages just to enter an order.


Fork of openERP

Sept 2013 - The Tryton project has moved ahead in the last few years and adopted a Foundation structure (not unlike Dolibarr). The 'client side' software (unusually for this sort of ERP there is client-side software sitting on your desktop PC and then the server side software incl. the database) is included in a number of OpenSource OS projects e.g. Fedora. http://www.tryton.org/


WebERP is GPL and LAMP - the problem is it needs more polish. The base local is England and many of the terms and phrases are poorly chosen. It is set up to use .po files for localization which is problematic to keep updated. It looks like the system works, but it has a very high learning curve and poor usability as of 10/2007.


weberp fork via openaccounting LAMP GPL - Same kind of usability problems - If you go to enter a sales order, and you happen to have a new customer, there isn't even a navigation button to take the detour. Source forge rank = 356

ADempiere Bazaar


Sadly written in perl, uses Postgresql. The author wanted to take back the GPL license, deleted posts about security issues etc- better look at the fork LedgerSMB


Actually quite good and could be a Quickbooks replacement if it had 'inventory items' that could be used on invoices. Good polish. Excellent choice for personal accounting - could be expanded to small business with a small amount of code.



LAMP gpl - Demo didn't seem to really have invoicing that worked..


Sept. 2013 - A MySQL & PHP French ERP. Translation into English isn't great. It doesn't have true double entry accounting and it's treatment and reporting of European VAT is weak. However, technically advanced and has an admirable Foundation structure - Core programme (totally functional) is free and approved commercial 'modules' are sold through the 'Dolistore' with a %age going to the Foundation. One to watch.


GPL delphi firebird (Linux version runs under wine <groan>) - a OSC companion -written for Dutch - no English translations . Fork of Turbocash


Looks good LAMP GPL - not quite ready - http://pbooks.org/ User interface is clean, well thought out. mysql


Demo link failed Looks abandoned? written in perl/tk which means not likely to be maintainable.


GPL version of NolaPro - last news on site 2003. LAMP Looks abandoned... Last news Dec. 2nd 2003


OAJ (OpenAccountingJ)

java - mysql Pre alpha - no invoicing as of 10/2007 Last SF update 2009-07-17

NOT currently GPL or crippleware !!!

Realize there is a great potential for lock-in if non-GPL. Best to avoid non GPL packages


Not GPL instead CPAL (Badge-ware not in the FOSS spirit - prevents it from entering the main distributions ) Written in C++ -QT - uses sql - They want to sell their commercial version. The badge-ware effectively prevents a fork due to the fact it won't be packaged. If this was GPL, it would be the leading Opensource accounting software. This is too complex to be a good replacement for quick-books.


Not for small business - way too heavy
Sorceforge rank = 5
This is yet another GPL-tease with the real program closed.


Quasar pretends to be GPL, but there are no distributions with it in it and the only GPL tar ball is out of date and unsupported. Rather a bait and switch. The company that came out with it managed to get the worst of both worlds, no numbers using the software, yet some people cut into their POS business. Sad to say that they don't see that other GPL software will fill the boots.


Source forge rank = 35 Very heavy bloat - does too much for a small business. High learning curve. Java, JavaScript, PL/SQL - crippleware


Freeware but not GPL, yet contains a modified version of OSC that is GPL! (possible violation of GPL?) Looks like a good start. LAMP based. Better order entry, payroll and inventory than some. Phreebooks is a GPL alternative.


GPL?? smells? not native linux Crippleware? Must pay for multiuser

Quickbooks under wine


Only works on some versions of quickbooks - 2002 2003 and 2004

To create a Samba share:

chmod -R 775 /directory
chown username.accounting -R /directory 
comment = /home/accounting Quick books share directory
path = /home/accounting
writable = yes

public = no
oplocks = no
level2oplocks = no
#strict locking = yes
create mask = 765
force create mode = 765
directory mask = 775
force directory mode=775
#force group = accounting
#force user = accounting
#admin users = user1,user2
valid users = user1,user2
printable = no
#public = yes
#writable = yes
#guest ok = yes
#available = yes
#inherit permissions = yes
#create mask = 0775
#directory mask = 0775

See also

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