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Yakshaving Chronicles: Ledger

Seeing the amount of enjoyment and tracktaculous fun Sacha‘s been having with ledger, I’ve been wanting to give it a go for a while now. Unfortunately, it has proven more than a little challenging to get set up.

The Epic Tale:

Sacha uses ledger in emacs, so I figured it would be about as complicated to install as the planner package she used to maintain. I started by downloading the ledger source code, and read some of the installation instructions on how to compile it. As is typical of me, I did not read the README prior to beginning this process. This would prove to be a great folly.

Some of the steps in this yakshaving are actually also tied in with another yakshaving project of mine, which was to install yet another piece of accounting software native to Linux, gnuCash. When attempting to install that, I tried to obtain both the Mac Ports and fink Mac OS X package managers unsuccessfully. For installing ledger, I finally got both package managers working on my system OK, then tried to attempt to install the dependent libraries that were giving me trouble – specifically, libgmp and libprce. I learn to set the flags to the location of these libraries, as recommended in the error message and at the forum. Sacha even sent me a list of all the dependent libraries, hoping that directing me to install all of them at once would do the trick.

But no compilation love was to be had, alas.

At the last session, I finally realized what the fink package page for ledger had been trying to tell me all along: ledger is in fink, in the unstable tree. Well, then getting fink to install ledger for me should be as easy as going to the unstable tree then, right? So, following instructions in the fink FAQ, I go unstable, hoping for minimal damage. Finally, the fink index and fink scanpackages are done, so I eagarly type apt-get install ledger. And then my face falls.

E: Couldn't find package ledger

*sigh*

The fink FAQ continues to provide sage advice:

If you want to install a package that is not available via dselect / apt-get, you have to compile it from source using fink install packagename .

So, fink install ledger it is! And away it goes, with a big long list of dependent packages! Success is mine, victory is in sight! I leave my computer happily downloading and installing dependent packages, to finally make my ledger days a reality. I come back a few hours later….

Failed: phase compiling: libtiff-3.8.2-1002 failed
Failed: phase compiling: apt-0.5.4-1054 failed

And here I leave it. On my way to installing ledger, I was finally able to get gnuCash going as I hadn’t been able to before. So I will settle for the lesser victory for now. At least gnuCash files are the same as ledger files, so one day – yes, one day, when I get ledger installed, I’ll be able to just plop my gnuCash files in and not start over from zero.

Until then, ledger continues to elude me, and evade installation.

3 Comments

  1. You got GnuCash working? I so envy you. I wish I could get it to run.

    As part of becoming more GTD this year, I had resolved that I needed some sort of productive way to organize all my monetary transactions. I’ve been searching for the longest time for a decent bookkeeping / ledger (GUI) app for the longest time and all the ones I’ve come across so far were either too simple, too confusing, or too ugly. Liquid Ledger was almost there, but it couldn’t do double-entry accounting with it (I searched thoroughly though the help files and in their support forums, and couldn’t find anything about it), which was the real deal-breaker for me.

    I finally came across gnucash, and the feature list seemed in line with everything I was looking for (the big one being double-entry accounting), so I thought I’d give it a go.

    I found this article on how to get it set up on OS X with Fink, so I tried it out.

    After several hours of compiling, it was finally ready. I typed /sw/bin/gnucash into Terminal, and X11 launched. A GUI window appeared; I was shaking in anticipation, thinking I had finally found what I had spent the better part of a week searching for. And then I got this alert:

    “Application “GuppiPlugInSpec” (process 8523) has crashed due to a fatal error. (Bus error)
    <Please visit the GNOME Application Crash page for more information>
    [ Close ]

    And then it quit. I was so annoyed that I just gave up. I have still to find my perfect personal finance app. It might’ve been GnuCash, but now I’ll never know… I’d gladly give it a second chance, if I could get it to work, that is. I just wish they had precompiled binaries for OS X; it’d really make my life a lot easier.

    Now it’s been a few weeks later and after reading your post, I’ve got some new-found hope knowing someone else was able to install it successfully, so I tried launching it again today, and it doesn’t even open X11; I get Gtk-WARNING **: cannot open display: . What the heck does that mean!?!?!!!

    I’ve practically given up. I just want it to work. Is that too much to ask?

    Posted February 3, 2008 at 9:00 pm | Permalink
  2. Well, I think I might’ve finally figured out why GnuCash wasn’t cooperating with me. From the GnuCash wiki:

    As of June, 2006, GnuCash-1.8 does not work on Intel-based Macs.

    Well, there’s my problem right there. Originally, I just went and used the package that showed up in FinkCommander (v 1.8) without thinking about it.

    There’s a nifty guide here that outlines how to go about doing so (Unfortunately, the gnucash2 package still isn’t showing up in FinkCommander, despite the fact that gnucash2-docs is). Only thing about it is some of the dependencies listed are out of date, so I’ve got to check each one manually to see if / what version I’ve got installed. Other than that, it’s not so bad; it actually feels like I’m making progress! But damn, compiling all these dependencies sure does take a while… I’ll let you know how it goes once it’s done! :)

    Posted February 4, 2008 at 3:03 am | Permalink
  3. Gabriel,

    I think there was more than one time that I felt lucky that I’ve been using a PowerPC Mac (Powerbook G4) and not a MacBook…that does sound like quite the headache. I’ve often wondered what the value is of being on a *nix-based system when all the best tools are inaccessible! But the work of porting is thankless and I’m sure the folkel at Fink giving it their all.

    The yakshaving for ledger’s actually ended for me just this past weekend – I followed the FAQ instructions on going to CVS for unstable packages. My hard drive crashed the week before last, and my hard drive service peeps gave me a fresh install of Mac OS X 10.4, so I’ve since been able to get fink, gnuCash, ledger, ledger-el (for emacs) and bbdb all going. It took a bit of tinkering and waiting for the CVS to update…which was some of how I kept busy during Web Directions North sessions ^_^

    …now comes the other fun part: learning how to use ledger! That’s what Toronto’s for (I’m looking at you, Sacha! ;) )

    Posted February 4, 2008 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

One Trackback

  1. By Yakshaving Chronicles: Our Community Bikes on May 22, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    […] I hadn’t burst into tears. I don’t have an issue with spending hours on end trying to install ledger using MacPorts on my Powerbook, so I don’t think it’s an issue of me across the board not being able to tinker with […]

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