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"Murphy was an optimist!"

There is a cure for Windows dependency December 4, 2009 7:24 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Software, Technology
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My computer experience looks a little like this: Atari 2600 -> Atari 400 -> Timex Sinclair -> Commodore 64 -> DOS boxes -> Apple ][ -> Apple ][e -> Apple //c -> Macintosh Classic -> Solaris workstations, AS 400, Next Box, CM5, VAX, ramdom flavors of Unix machines -> Mac Performas (etc), PCs (Windows 3.1, 3.11, 97, 98, 98se, Windows 2000 server, XP, Vista, 2003 (blah blah name it) -> Linux (Ubuntu primarily). In the end I find myself surrounded with PCs with loads of Microsoft software. So everything I write is dependent upon the Microsoft Office suite, software I install requires Windows and so on. Granted, I have Linux development servers because much of my work is in a LAMP environment. That is until my primary machine died horribly and while I was recovering it, I was forced to spend most of my time on my Ubuntu workstation.

After working for a couple of weeks on Ubuntu and relying heavily upon Google Docs, I learned that I love cloud computing. Cloud computing is using applications that are primarily accessed over the Internet. Twenty years or more ago, Bill Gates said this is how all our computing would be and that PCs would revert to being dummy terminals. The nice thing about cloud computing is your data is accessible anytime, anywhere, from any machine, as long as you have an Internet connection; this is also the bad thing. Your data is exposed to 3rd party companies that may go out of business or change ownership or malicious people may find ways to expose your data to the world. You must weight the risk versus the benefits.

osalt_logoAnother option is open source software. Many alternative software directories are ready to help you find a free alternative to the commercial software you love. My favorite is osalt.com. For example, search Photoshop, osalt points to GIMP. I’ve been using Quickbooks Pro since 1999 (actually earlier but 1999 was my most current version). So for 10 years, I have used financial software that was out of date. I cannot find the discs and desperately need a new solution. Many exist! including buying the current version of Quickbooks. A search of osalt found PostBooks which is free although some people are confused by their commercial offerings. Don’t be quick to discount open source software just because of the price. Free does not mean bad. For instance, I now favor GIMP over Photoshop in some instances. Soon I may wonder why I ever used Quickbooks.

Do you have any experience with Postbooks? Your thoughts?

See also GNU Cash h/t Jonathan Hickman of traveling at godspeed.

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1. Jose A. Rodriguez - December 5, 2009

Hey Doug. Nice link. I was not aware of osalt.com

With respect to PostBooks, wihout sounding like a salesman, it is a viable alternative to something like QuickBooks. Excellent for SMB businesses, it covers the whole business cycle and some more.

The software is open source and there is no fee for using it. I would recommend if implementing in a small business to get some aid from a local partner, but there is no reason why you can’t try it alone.

The beuty of PostBooks is it’s openness and that it is backed by a real company. I am currently a partner and have personally met the group of folks responsible for the application and the company. The focus on the product and new releases is excellent, more so than the competing open source products in the same genre.

If interested, I welcome anyone to review the web site http://www.xtuple.com. There is a wealth of information available (documentation, videos) and if you have trouble setting it up, go ahead and use the forums. The partners, the community as well as xTuple personnel are pretty much always ready to respond to any question.

By the way, a side benefit is that PostBooks is very platform independent and does not require the windows environment, although it runs very well under it. Cloud type implementations (hosting PostBooks on the net/cloud) is also very viable and very responsive.


jose a.

2. BeBob Esq - December 10, 2009

I personally tend to favour SSuite Office’s free office suites. Their software also don’t need to run on Java or .NET, like so many open source office suites, so it makes their applications very small and efficient.


3. Doug McCaughan - December 10, 2009

Thanks! I’ll have to check out SSuite. I’ve also been very pleased with Zoho. I’ve never considered whether or not the application relies upon Java or .NET or not.

4. Doug McCaughan - December 10, 2009

Jose, there certainly is a learning curve to Postbooks but the application absolutely fits my needs and is far better than GNUcash. I need to work with it a little more but my first impression is that Xtuple’s Postbooks is definitely software a small business should consider.

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