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Turbocash looks to Linux for expansion

By   |  December 7, 2005

Software developer, Philip Copeman, is looking for programmers to build a Linux version of the popular windows-based open source accounting software, Turbocash.

Copeman is well known for his forthright views on open source and the Windows environment. In October, he told delegates at the African Computing and Telecommunications Summit that open source on Windows had an undeniable future and that he would stick to the Windows platform as long as it worked for him and the end user.

Now Copeman wants to re-engineer Turbocash for the Linux environment in a joint venture.

“I have spoken to a number of companies. The complication that I have is that we are looking for a group that is prepared to go the whole way with us. This is not an afternoon\’s work,” says Copeman. “If it was simple it would have been done already.”

Copeman says one of the main problems is that good cross-compilers are not available.

“Programs that run on Linux look absolutely terrible on Windows. Windows users like myself very quickly get used to Windows-specific ways. When I look at cross compiled programs with their ugly grids and strange hard icons they look to me like old DOS apps or at best Windows 98 apps.”

The result is that the Delphi-based accounting software is developed and optimised for Windows. The Linux version of Turbocash will have to be re-developed from the ground up. “We are looking for Python or Lazarus programmers. We have not yet decided on the final environment. The database will most likely be Firebird or MySQL,” says Copeman. He adds that the decision will be made in collaboration with the partners who come on board.

“To write a decent fat client accounting system, it is going to have to be built from first principles in Linux, taking full advantage of all the Linux features. Only then are we going to get a world beater.”

Copeman says there are no real Linux competitors in the SME (small to medium-sized enterprise) end of the market.

“There is a whole crew of PHP/MySQL thin client products, mostly forks of Nola. I don\’t have a great deal of confidence in the thin client model. Accountants want Fat clients with rapid data entry. We are really interested in PHP as a glue for add-ons, but right now as a core development tool, it doesn\’t cut the mustard.

“I have to say that the stark truth is there are no serious players in the Linux market,” he says.

Copeman says 98% of accountants in the SME market use Windows. “We do however recognise that Linux is growing and will be an important player. Right now the Linux accounting space is fallow – it is inviting someone to put down R5 million and take the position. If we can find a Linux partner we will do it. If we are able to dominate this space and Linux gets say 10% of the accounting market, we can end up with double our market share.

“We estimate that a million users would change to a Linux system if they had the choice.”


9 Responses to “Turbocash looks to Linux for expansion”

  1. FredMT
    December 7th, 2005 @ 12:00 am

    I would buy a good Linux financial package!

  2. Anonymous
    December 8th, 2005 @ 12:00 am

    \” I don\’t have a great deal of confidence in the thin client model. Accountants want Fat clients with rapid data entry. We are really interested in PHP as a glue for add-ons, but right now as a core development tool, it doesn\’t cut the mustard.\”

    Not sure what you mean – Google Maps, Google, bbPHP etc are all \”thin client\” based and I dont see anyone complain about the speed – how much data can an accountant generate with two hands? Look at AJAX not the traditional \”HTML reload\” model.

  3. great_snoopy
    December 8th, 2005 @ 12:00 am

    If you have to rebuild the thing from the ground up, why not use java ? It\’s true, it is not as fast as delphi, but modern apps build on modern jdk\’s are pretty fast and responsive. (Look at jbuilder for example).The advantage of java is that you will win not just the linux platform but virtually any other platform that has a java runtime environment.Also keep in mind that there are a lot of good java programmers out there and you wouldn\’t even have to get a good LINUX programmer, you will only need a good JAVA programmer and still use windows as your development platform.

  4. helios
    December 8th, 2005 @ 12:00 am

    Why not use Java?

    already been done.

    MyBooks Pro

    imports quicken/quickbooks data files and all

  5. majones
    December 8th, 2005 @ 12:00 am

    Perhaps check out and the Linux-based MyBooks Professional system. In South Africa, check out and see Automotive Dealership Management software built with Appgen. Who says there are no good accounting alternatives for Linux?

  6. M. Maurer
    December 10th, 2005 @ 12:00 am

    I am looking forward to see this software running under linux – because than – bye, bye windows, and our whole system will work under linux!!

  7. Sudhir Gandotra
    December 16th, 2005 @ 12:00 am

    Kalculate ( is the First exclusively Linux based acounting and inventory management software package, already available. The basic version was launched in 2002 by IBM and the full Lan version in 2004.
    With 3000+ users, and certification on IBM and Intel platforms, Kalculate is going ahead, with its \”First Mover advantage\”.
    We would not mind discussing an alliance to work on the global market with you.
    You can get in touch with us for further discussions.

  8. Michael Schlösser
    December 27th, 2005 @ 12:00 am

    If there are problems with kylix – why don\’t you write the program in Java and Swing? It would run on various platforms – also on Linux.

  9. Geoff
    January 6th, 2006 @ 12:00 am

    Having used Delphi, Python and Interbase/Firebird extensively I have experienced Python and Firebird to be a great combination. There is some tough competition
    out there. See TinyERP
    written in Python and using PostGreSQL

Comments are closed