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Date: Fri, 12 Jan 2001 08:38:58 -0600
To: gnucash-devel <gnucash-devel@gnucash.org>
Subject: Re: roadmap
From: grib@gnumatic.com (Bill Gribble)

On Thu, Jan 11, 2001 at 10:56:59PM -0500, David Merrill wrote:
> Would someone be so kind as to point me in the direction of what the
> release/feature plans are for the next release of gnucash? Can we
> talk about the long range plans for the database? Hey, I'm the
> newcomer here, and I'd like to know what you have all been planning.

I can't speak for every gnucash developer (there are about 300 people
on this mailing list, and I'd guess about that many different opinions
about what gnucash is all about :) but I'll give you a rundown of my
personal vision.

The Gnumatic developers (me, Rob Browning, Dave, Tyson, Jim LewisMoss,
and Robert Graham Merkel) have been working on features of
gnucash-2.0, which we plan to release commercially in late Q1 or early
Q2 2001.  Our stated deadline for a feature freeze was Jan 15.  It's
not a big stretch to say we have missed that deadline already; the new
report system, the price database, and the configurable main window
won't make it in by then; the installer isn't finished; and our
on-line infrastructure for user registration and user services is not
done.  Add to the mix that we are having production-related delays at
Gnumatic and it becomes more realistic to say that we will feature
freeze around Feb 15 for release in early-mid Q2, which means GM in

What that means is that we will be focusing developer effort on adding
the remaining features for 2.0 over the next month or so and bug
fixes, testing, and polishing between then and the GM date.

There are several major personal finance features, including budgeting
and scheduled transactions, that got dropped from the 2.0 release
which we want to have as a gnucash-2.2 update as soon as possible;
that means realistically 4-6 developer-months of additional time.

After that, a lot of this is up in the air.

Those of us at Gnumatic are in broad agreement that we want to fork
gnucash into two products, one focused on personal finance and one
focused on small business accounting.  We want to keep the same code
base for both but add a module infrastructure that will allow us to
ship a different set of modules and a new "personality" for the small
business product.  The small business version will need a lot of new
modules and features for all the traditional Peachtree-ish stuff: A/P,
A/R, invoicing, payroll, etc.

The two major new architectural features that have been bounced around
on the list lately are the SQL back end and a multiuser client-server
refactoring.  It's my opinion that they should be considered
separately; the current codebase is within a slightly
catapult-assisted stone's throw of being ready for SQL, but it is much
farther away from being ready for multiuser.

Obviously I can't speak for anyone except myself, but looking at
Gnumatic's plans I would guess that some of us will start working
seriously on the SQL integration at the beginning of the
small-business product fork.  That will probably be somewhere between
the release of gnucash-2.0 and the 2.2 update, so I'm thinking
mid-summer. I think not everybody will be working on features for the
update.  I don't believe that multiuser support is critical for a
first release of the small-business product... at least not multiuser
simultaneous access; most of the Peachtree/Quickbooks class products
don't do it; but if it falls out in the wash of database integration I
don't have a problem with integrating it.  For sure we want to have
real multiuser support by a second major release of the small business

Remember, I don't speak for anybody except myself and these are just
my opinions.  

Bill Gribble

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