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There's No Telling Where the Money Went

The necessary is common. The common is boring. Accounting is boring. It is also common and necessary. Everybody needs to keep track of the money. There are quite a few Free Software tools to do the job.

  • GnuCash (http://www.gnucash.org/)

    GnuCash is aimed at personal financial management, but as a true double-entry bookkeeping system, it can easily handle the general ledger needs of a small business.

  • NOLA (http://nola.noguska.com/)

    NOLA is a web-fronted accounting system. It is Free Software, and it appears to support order entry, customer management, inventory, payroll, billing, purchasing, payables, and general ledger. It is a PHP application and is licensed under the GPL. There is a demo site on the Web (http://demo.nola.noguska.com/). Take a look and see if it might meet your needs.

  • Compiere (http://www.compiere.com/)

    Compiere is a mature and widely used ERP and CRM package. It uses the Jboss J2EE platform (for those of you not up on your buzzwords, this is a Java-based system).

    NOTE

    Is Java free? If you've spent any time around Free/Open Source software, you've seen the holy wars over licenses, and "Free as in speech, not free as in beer" has been said to you so many times you want to throttle the next person who says it. Java is free as in beer. That is, you can get it for free. It isn't free as in speech. You can't modify it and give your modifications away, so the Sun and IBM JDKs are not Free Software in this sense. (Actually, because the Java specification is available, there are Free Software Java implementations—such as Kaffe and gcj—but they are in varying states of maturity and object library completeness, so they often cannot be used to compile a given program, although anything you write that works on these should work when compiled under the Sun JDK.)

    A program written in Java, however, can be Free Software provided it gives you the rights to use, modify, and distribute the source code. The Compiere package is Free Software, although your more staunch Free Software advocates would certainly caution you against using Free Software that requires using non-Free Software.

So although this system does indeed do accounting, it has extended support for vendor and supply management on the vendor side, and for customer contact management on the customer side. Note that NOLA has support for these areas as well.

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