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GNUe Traffic #74 For 29 Mar 2003

Editor: Peter Sullivan

By Arturas Kriukovas  and  Peter Sullivan

"'People will believe your argument much better if you tell them that Benjamin Franklin said it'" - "/me wanders if Ben Franklin said that?"

Table Of Contents


This covers the three main mailing lists for the GNU Enterprise project, plus the #gnuenterprise IRC channel. GNUe Traffic is now group-authored: if you'd like to join the team, let us know

1. Support for images in GNUe Forms

23 Mar 2003 Archive Link: "[IRC] 23 Mar 2003"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

Topics: Forms, Document Store

People: James ThompsonDerek NeighborsDaniel BaumannJason Cater

James Thompson (jamest) announced "forms does images now - it's a bit rough - but nothing jcater can't fix" . Derek Neighbors (derek) said "i might write a photo management program with it :)" Daniel Baumann (chillywilly) asked "does <image> have a datasource?" James said "right now it expects the field it's tied to to contain the url to the image" . Jason Cater (jcater) said "we'll need to extend it at some point" to support images stored in a database, but there was a general consenus that most real-world uses (at least initially) would be for images stored outside of a database. However, James said he had "put in type="pil"" to allow future support for database-stored images via the Python Imaging Library (PIL). He had developed this initial level of image support to provide a simple mechanism for indexing and displaying stored fax messages. Derek noted "you realize you just proved a good deal of 'document' management - guess gnue-sb will have little problem supporting something liek that now" .

2. GNUe Small Business and other free financials packages

24 Mar 2003 Archive Link: "[IRC] 24 Mar 2003"

Summary By Arturas Kriukovas

Topics: Small Business, Financials (Accounting)

People: Derek NeighborsJason Cater

Derek Neighbors (Derek) said about gnue-sb for Jason Cater (jcater): "gnue-sb i am hoping to be very informal - code and refactor, code and refactor." Derek expected to code things "and if questions come up we will debate them :)" . He also wanted to comment "that ARIA ( exists, that supposedly cleaned up NOLA. Would it be worth looking at them and revisiting building on NOLA/Aria/AccLite or just starting from scratch" ?

3. Application Server development

24 Mar 2003 Archive Link: "[IRC] 24 Mar 2003"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

Topics: Application Server, Common

People: Reinhard MüllerJan IschebeckJames Thompson

Reinhard Müller (reinhard) thanked Jan Ischebeck (siesel) for his latest commit to the Application Server code, making the "database driver" code for Application Server work again with the CVS HEAD version of GNUe Common - "it fits perfectly as i think this or next week i'll also have time for appserver again" Jan asked if he should back-port it "to the common 0.4.3 branch" as well as the CVS HEAD branch (what would eventually become 0.5.0). Reinhard "would say having the new dbdriver in 0.5.0 should be enough - and our next release of appserver will play nice with 0.5.0 of forms/reports/common" .

Jan asked "is the class repository interface fully defined? Does it work? I would like to have a working introspection part in the db driver" so that the Application Server could be asked which tables and fields (actually, objects and properties) it had "when common 5.0 will be released" . Reinhard said "the interface should be stable - however johannes is working on breaking recursion between class repository and language interface. For the introspection part i'd rather use the business objects - not the class repository" . Jan said "I thought of accessing the class repository through the special style business objects" Reinhard explained "i mean just querying the "gnue_classes" class and the like" . Jan would "have a look at that."

James Thompson (jamest) asked "how goes the battle" with the AppServer code? Jan said "quite well. The new API is working now. I.e. I can concentrate on the real problem in appserver now :) :( - combining trigger, method and class repository - f.e. solve that recursion problem between language interface and class rep. - or do you think that there are more important" "challenges" as of time of writing? Reinhard noted that "johannes_ is working on the recursion problem - the trigger stuff is more of an "unattended" problem currently" .

4. GNUe Small Business

25 Mar 2003 Archive Link: "[IRC] 25 Mar 2003"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

Topics: Small Business, Financials (Accounting)

People: Derek NeighborsMike VincentJames Thompson

Derek Neighbors (derek) said that he was looking to do an inital release of GNUe Small Business soon, and was "hoping to have 0.2.x ready by the time 0.5.x of the tools is out - to give some incentive for people to beat on the tools. There is a lot missing from the roadmaps" he had done for GNUe-SB, "but i suspect to keep feature sets minimal and releases often (hopefully)" .

Further to Issue #72, Section #3  (10 Mar 2003: Pricing mechanisms in GNUe Small Business) , he suggested "item has 'base price' - then as you state some sort of tiered pricing table - likely by volume discount - then there is 'customer' price discounts - and the derivation of price is the lowest of the two. /me suspects we can make it even more complicated than that - but i suppose thats suitably complex to start with" . Mike Vincent(Vee2d2) said "that fits my needs, but actuall my needs arent even that complex - as the 'customer' price will be one of the tiered prices, I would just like to be able to specify that DerekCo(tm) gets tier 2 or better regardless of volume ordered.. etc." Derek felt that might be simpler to implement - previously he had seen systems where the discount was only "negotiated at customer level up front - so didnt matter if you bought 1 or 100 of something" . However, different products might have different discounts per customer as well - "so say you are a big customer of mine - and you buy lots of product A - but not much product B - and A and B are manufacturered by two different people - i might give you deep discount on A but not B" . Mike agreed - "similar issues can arise if I have to source through a different vendor for one reason or another. freight can be a big factor too - but I see these issues as concerns when setting my base prices" . Derek noted that, in some cases, there might need to be a minimum order quantity for a product.

Later on, Derek was reviewing an accounting proposal he had been sent, and was comparing it to the schemas in acclite (GNUe's fork of NOLA) and aria (another fork of NOLA, as discussed in Issue #74, Section #2  (24 Mar 2003: GNUe Small Business and other free financials packages) ), as well as the original proposal for GNUe Financials on the website. James Thompson (jamest) asked "what all is in gnue-sb now? more than contact mgmnt?" Derek said "product management and contact management mostly" . The product management was "pre inventory control - basically defining what products you have, setting pricing etc" . There was more information on the GNUe SB website. He "suspects we need a link on gnue site to gnue-sb - as many people are amazed we have information available" . He would also try to put a redirect from the GNUe SB website that dated back to when it had been considered a non-GNU project.

Derek noted that the accounting proposal he had been sent did not mention Accounts Receivable (AR) - the invoices mentioned appeared to be Accounts Payable (AP), which he though of as linked to Purchase Orders. This was confirmed, but AR would be needed at some point. AP and purchase order would be linked, but not every AP invoice would have a PO (exceptions would include items like utility bills and rents). Derek asked about "invoice classes - i see its way to group invoices - probably for reporting" . It was explained that these were needed as a way of segregating invoices imported from external feeder systems. Derek wondered "is this really an 'invoice' thing or should it be part of the chart of accounts" ? However, this was not the case - although it might be a field on the vendor table rather than stored against each invoice.

Derek said that he was planning to avoid some of the packaging issues with GNUe SB by "saying its not 'modules' you get the whole damn shooting match" . This would be OK, as long as each module was not required in order to use the others.

Derek noted that previous discussion had established that items being purchased might need to record both "manufacturers and vendors" as goods would often be bought from wholesalers rather than directly from the manufacturer - where items were bought direct, the manufacturer would also be set up as a vendor. He also talked about the difference between fical and calendar years - many companies might have Period 01 start in June or July. He also asked about "closing" a period in General Ledger, to prevent any more transactions being posted to the period or the year. It was noted that some versions of Microsoft Great Plains would not let you work on the new year until the old year was closed - as this could take several weeks at some companies, they had to do manual cheques and then enter them retrospectively later.

Derek compared the accounting proposal he had been sent to acclite - acclite seemed to "encompass about everything you had only have additional information" He was "curious to see what arias has done (best i can tell they didnt 'add stuff') just fixed bugs" . Mike asked whether Derek was "looking at these other projects for a frame of reference, or with intent of maintaining some sort of interoperability" ? Derek said "possibly either ;)" - "originally the idea was to use NOLA's structures - submit the changes back to them and let people use the php interface if they so desired. nola was a MESS layout wise in cvs - so jcater refactored it so it was logical and converted it to postgres - that is acclite. arias seems to have done same thing only made a project out of it - so i would be willing to see how much" they had changed the NOLA code, and whether it was worth trying to make GNUe SB compatible with it - "i suspect ap/ar/gl wise we could" . Having downloaded the arias CVS, he noted that "they kept that horrible nola structure" with "virutally hunderds of php files all in same directory" , and had the same problems as NOLA with including some (presumably) non-redistributable font files.

In terms of moving forward on GNUe SB, he wanted to "finish what is necessary for 0.1.x gnue-sb release" first, then "enhance roadmap" to include some of the material from the accounting proposal he had been sent, and also "compare schemas on arias" and other free software financials packages to firm up his ideas.

5. Sample apps for Application Server

25 Mar 2003 Archive Link: "[IRC] 25 Mar 2003"

Summary By Arturas Kriukovas

Topics: Application Server

People: Christian SeligReinhard Müller

Christian Selig (Lupo) mentioned he "was at chemnitzer linuxtage, couple of weeks ago. For an event with 1700 visitors, and perhaps 50 booth talks, i was asked about gnue and people hung on my lips when i only told a little bit about gnue. One even spontaneously decided to donate 120Eur to FSFE :)" . Reinhard Müller (Reinhard) thought this sounded great - "i think businesses are desperate for gnue because they are sick of selling their souls to navision or whoever" .

Christian asked if there was "some doc on how to work with appserver?" Reinhard informed that "there is no doc yet on how to write applications with appserver. There are some low-level docs and some samples. As i said yesterday appserver was like paused for a month or two but we will give it a boost now" . Christian was interested "are the samples conclusive enough how to work with appserver?" Reinhard was not sure about this - "not sure. This is really something we have to do urgently - make it possible to write some primitive apps using appserver so that we can "show off" something" .

6. Documenting how to write python triggers in Designer

25 Mar 2003 Archive Link: "[IRC] 25 Mar 2003"

Summary By Arturas Kriukovas

Topics: Designer

People: Jason CaterChristian SeligMike VincentDerek NeighborsJames Thompson

It was asked whether wouldn't it be better just to rip off the Python Intro and forward the reader to the online tutorials. James Thompson (jamest) was not sure that there existed any python tutorial in GNUe docs, so it was explained that there was some Intro in the Forms Developers-probably at the designer manual. Jason Cater (jcater) explained that he had "wanted a basic introduction to python so ppl could quickly write some sample triggers. It was never meant to replace better tutorials such as those at" . Someone noticed that python tutorial did not seem to have a copyright at all and Jason said that "in the US, then, it has an implicit copyright unless if explicitly states we can use it, then it's under a restricted copyright" . Christian Selig (Lupo) thought that "under international multilateral contracts, a restrictive copyright is default" . Mike Vincent (Vee2d2) said he liked "the idea of having a minitoot on python in the dev guide, as for one (/me raises hand) not already familiar with python it lessens the distraction of having to follow links to reference material/sites then come back to the dev guide, and go back, then come back.. etc.. allows for a single point of reference while digging into GNUe goodies, real convenient." Jason added he "had intended on the tutorial to be from the point of view of writing triggers, so it wouldn't necessarily cover all aspects of python, just enough to write useful triggers" . Derek Neighbors (Derek) agreed with that - "i definitely agree. A trigger tutorial that covers the 'basics' of python is great. As the guy that tries to sell this thing to people one of the things i like to tout is that you can write data driven applicatiosn with little or no code, being able to show very quickly how to do basic things is a huge plus, for example, launching another form or other things" .

7. Freedom issues with Compiere

25 Mar 2003 Archive Link: "[IRC] 25 Mar 2003"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

Topics: Financials

People: Jason CaterDerek NeighborsDaniel Baumann

Jason Cater (jcater) said "I was looking at compiere" (the 'open source' financials package previously discussed in Issue #32, Section #1  (27 May 2002: Freedom issues with using Compiere as an alternative to GNUe) and other threads) "today" as he now had the version of the Oracle database needed to view it. He was not impressed with the licensing model for something that was meant to be free software - "to get Print to PDF support requires a $50/user license - to get a data migration tool (to upgrade from older version) requires a support contract" . Also, "they've canceled postgresql migration "due to lack of embedded transactions"" - something which, as a long-time Oracle user, he had "never heard of" - "but they did say if the users want to raise the money to pay a professional to implement a java-level transaction engine - they would support it after it's written" . His opinion was that ""open source" is a PR angle for them" .

With access to the source code, this still "would give me more options than many of the proprietary" finance systems "i.e., I could insert data directly into their tables from our production system" . However, he would almost prefer to use an avowedly proprietary finance system "than something misleadingly parading as free" . Derek Neighbors (derek) agreed - "what is worse - getting somethign with source that 'pretends' to be free and thus helping them enslave the unsuspecting - or - getting something totally proprietary" . Daniel Baumann (chillywilly) felt "at least the prop. vendor is being honest with you" . Jason said "what I really want is gnue though :)" , which would be a fully free software financial system.







Sharon And Joy

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