Windows users have long had the very well known apps MS Money and Quicken to enable them to manage their finances. Both have been around for a number of years and are mature products in software terms. Those of us running Linux, however, have our own options. If you really need either of the 2 Windows applications, Crossover Office by CodeWeavers can be of great help.
But we don’t want to do that now, do we? As Linux users, we much prefer to use native apps because of their stability, the fact that we can be sure that we can use all the features and because we like to support free and open source projects. There are several options available to us, GnuCash and KMyMoney are the more popular ones (MoneyDance is also available, but you have to buy it to use it beyond a free trial). Because I’m a KDE user, I will be going with KMyMoney and because I’m a Slacker I’ll be installing it from source.
As usual, I will be talking us through installing any dependencies and using copious screenshots where applicable. And, as usual, we will see that installing from source is not scary and is quite easy. This will all start after the jump.
Step 1, obviously, is to download KMyMoney itself. There is a download link on the site’s homepage which takes us to the download files. You can follow the link I have provided, but I would strongly recommend going via the site itself – at this time of writing, the current version is 0.8.8, but by the time you come to do this, it could well be at a different version or different location.
Step 2 is to check the mandatory requirements for installation. For versions above 0.7 you need KDE 3.2 or above. I have KDE 3.5.7 so I’m covered. Qt is also a requirement, it is required for KDE so KDE users are fully covered. If you do not run KDE on your system, you will need to install the kde-libs file and other base files. And of course, qt. If you already run other KDE programs you should be nicely covered.
Open a terminal and
cd to the location you downloaded the installation files to. If you prefer to work in the GUI for these things, open your file browser and extract the files as you would normally. Since I am working in a terminal, I type
tar jxvf kmymoney2-0.8.8.tar.bz2. There is good reason for this – the archive is in
bzip2 format rather than the usual
tar.gz format. The slower extraction route is to use
bunzip2 to reduce the file to a
tar file and then
untar it, but the method I listed does it all in one. You should now have a folder called
x.x.x is the version number). Now
cd into the new folder.
As ever, the two most important files to read are the
README files as they will tell us whether we need to pass any arguments to the install process or if we need any extra dependencies. The
INSTALL file is the generic one, which suggests to me that we can just run the standard
make install process but I will be reading the
README file to confirm this.
README is very detailed and gives us a table to look at for when we are planning our installation. Unfortunately, the
README file seems to have been frozen at or about Slackware 9.0 and so is incorrect. Prior to Slackware 12.0, the KDE files were stored in
/opt/kde, but are now stored in
/usr. No big deal, if you are using Slackware 9.0 – 11.0 use the instructions in the
README file, if you are on 12.0 follow mine (for this step).
Type in, as your normal user account NOT as root:
./configure --prefix=/usr (using the prefix tells the installer where KDE can be found. It may not be necessary as the installer will probably look there anyway, but do it). Let it run and then check the bottom of the output for any errors – as ever, this will also tell you if there were unfound dependencies.
At the end of all that, I received the following message:
Memory leak check support: no
KBanking support: no
You are missing the KBanking headers and libraries
The HBCI support won't be compiled.
OFX plugin: no
You are missing the libofx headers and libraries
The OFX plugin won't be compiled.
OFX direct connect: disabled
CPPUNIT support: no
You are missing the CPPUNIT headers and libraries
The unit test framework support won't be compiled.
This is not relevant for the usage of the application.
Unit tests are only required by the developers.
Good - your configure finished. Start make now
So I know it went well. The support sections that I am missing are unimportant to me as I neither need them or will want to use them – read the site to find out more.
Next step, still in my normal user account, is to run
make. This will take a little longer, so feel free to make a drink, walk the dog, go relieve yourself or whatever. Once that is complete, switch to the root account and run
<enter root password>
su -c "make install"
<enter root password> – it’s entirely up to you.
Once this is all done successfully, you will now have KMyMoney installed and available in your menu – for me it’s under Office. Open it and you will see this (click all thumbnails to see full size):
Additionally, the KDE Handbook now has a section for KMyMoney which can talk you through the sections. If you use internet banking, download statements in .qif (Quicken) format and you can then import the files to your template and use them. You can also export KMyMoney files to Quicken format.
Enjoy but remember, this program can only show you your current financial status, keeping your head above water is entirely up to you!