James Bowes

Purveyor of Pre-eminent Programmes

Linux user tax software rant #3472

with one comment

Well, it’s not so much of a rant, really. More of a suggestion. I
did my taxes today on the parents’ winderz box, no problem. But the
thing doesn’t even use System.Windows.Forms or MFC or whatever they
call their widget toolkit; it seems like the quiken people are drawing
custom widgets on a canvas.

So, why is their software only available for windows? Why not use
Java or Mono/.Net and draw your pretty custom widgets using the
canvases in these technologies, or SWT or winforms, or, heaven forbid,
seperate the logic from the presentation, and make GUIs for each
platform using that platform’s widget set, and following that
platform’s interface guidlines.

Tax software makers don’t make money off the code, they make it off
the number of returns you do, the correctness of their forms, and any
extra features (retirement planning, etc). Already you have to
activate the software online before you can use it, so as long as they
have a scheme to prevent rampant piracy (moderate piracy is OK :P) of
their product, things should be fine. Then, the MacOS, bsd, Linux, and,
uhm, SkyOS users out there can be happy too, without having to leave
their cutesy little candy-shaped button worlds.

All you undergrads out there, looking for a software engineering
project, or directed studies, or business opportunity or something,
feel free to implement this, hire yourself some accountants, and get
Netfile certification. Bonus points if you manage to release the code
under a DFSG
license (so I can apt-get it), and just charge people per Netfile.

Already, I could probably get away with using an online filing app
instead. With some google-like javascript magic, they would probably
be as good as any of the desktop stuff, too. Most people, I would
guess, just don’t like sending their tax infos over the etherweb.

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Written by jbowes

March 2, 2005 at 11:58 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. I am a registered Netfile developer. The Netfile people will not allow an
    open source tax package. I tried. A linux version would be just peachy
    though.

    Once the compiled software passes testing/certification, if the source is
    available anyone can modify it (to give themselves a bonus tax credit
    frex) and that defeats the purpose of the testing certification.

    Implementing Netfile-capable software requires buying a copy of a
    several thousand dollar spec and implementing that. Not impossible,
    but currently beyond my means.

    Re: The etherweb: Most if not all current tax software offers an online
    version, which runs in the web browser and **stores your info at their
    servers**. I don’t know why people do that. I buy a copy of the home
    version, store the info myself, and submit it once via a secure transaction
    from my machine to Netfile’s server.

    …Stu

    Stuart MacDonald

    April 3, 2007 at 5:01 pm


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