Open Labs / hackerspace accounting software

Hi all,

On Friday I had some discussions with Anisa about the effort involving
in tracking finances for the hackerspace.

I’ve been using various software projects for this purpose for my
personal finances and for companies and other organizations. I wrote a
blog comparing the free software options:

Has anybody already looked at any of these options for the hackerspace?

The solution I’ve been using myself is Postbooks. I’ve made
contributions to this project on Github, prepared the packages in Debian
and met the developers in person. I can’t say whether it is the best
solution for the hackerspace, but if people have questions about it or
want to see a demonstration please feel free to ask me.



Hi Daniel,

Thanks for bringing this up. I have failed to set up Postbooks or Tryton and it’s not really making my life easier. Unfortunately the UX seems to be lacking quite a bit (which is not a dealbreaker, it’s accounting afterall).

Maybe GNUCash could be a better option.

What went wrong when you tried to set up Postbooks? I would welcome any feedback. If you used the Debian packages please feel free to file a bug report there.

The big issue you may have with a lightweight solution like GNUCash is that it is not a multi-user system, so all users have equivalent access and there is no audit trail. The end result is that one person may end up having to do all the data entry whereas you might be better off with a system that allows you to share responsibilities.

I was unable to create and access a local database. Same with Tryton. I didn’t dig deep into it, but I was curious if there would be something which would work out out of the box. And it seems it didn’t. I might need to look more into it.

Makes sense.

With an accounting system, your data is really valuable, especially when you have many years of transactions in there.

Therefore, it is really a good idea to spend a little time learning the basic DBA concepts at the beginning and having at least two or three people involved who understand the basic DBA stuff.

That said, I can provide you with the commands I use to create the database, add the admin user, load the Quickstart data, run the backup and also do a restore from backup.

To run the latest Postbooks, version 4.10.1, you need Debian stretch (the next release, currently in freeze) or Fedora 26 on the machine running the GUI. Do you have a preference for one or the other?

On the server, you only need the PostgreSQL package, so the server could be running Debian jessie, CentOS or a slightly older Fedora version

Here is the README.Debian file with PostgreSQL setup instructions:

It is very similar for Fedora and CentOS

There are online demos of Tryton, here is one of them:

I was able to log in with these credentials:

Username: demo
Password: demo

Once you are in, try clicking “Party”, there you can add a supplier or customer name

Then go to “Financial” and “Invoices” to see how bills are entered.