Gentoo ebuild for Lx-Office ERP 2.6.0 beta 1

Finally, I’ve created Gentoo ebuilds for Lx-Office ERP 2.6.0 beta 1 and its dependencies. Lx-Office is a fork of the server-based open source accounting solution SQL-Ledger and customized for the German market (and to some extent, the Swiss and Austrian markets).

A screenshot of Lx-Office ERP 2.6.0 beta 1 showing the XUL menu:

Screenshot of Lx-Office ERP 2.6.0 beta 1 using the XUL menu

And here’s a flash video of Lx-Office ERP 2.6.0 beta 1 showing the XUL menu in action.

Lx-System (the company backing Lx-Office ERP) and LINET Services host a public demo of Lx-Office ERP 2.4.3 (user: demo, password: demo).

To install Lx-Office ERP 2.6.0 beta 1 on Gentoo, follow these steps:

1) Set up a local portage overlay (e.g. at /usr/local/portage), if you haven’t done so already.

# mkdir -p /usr/local/portage

In /etc/make.conf, set

PORTDIR_OVERLAY=/usr/local/portage

2) Download lx-office-erp-2.6.0_beta_p1-r1_plus_dependencies.tgz and extract it to your local portage overlay

# cd /usr/local/portage
# tar xzvf lx-office-erp-2.6.0_beta_p1-r1_plus_dependencies.tgz

3) In /etc/portage/package.keywords, add the line

www-apps/lx-office-erp ~amd64

(or ‘www-apps/lx-office-erp ~x86‘, depending on the architecture of your machine)

4) In /etc/portage/package.use, add the line

www-apps/lx-office-erp vhosts

5) Install Lx-Office ERP on your system by executing

# emerge -av lx-office-erp

Depending on your current portage settings and installed ebuilds, you may need to unmask additional ebuilds.

6) Use webapp-config to link your Lx-Office ERP installation to a specific host, e.g. by executing

# webapp-config -I -h localhost -d lx-erp lx-office-erp 2.6.0_beta_p1-r1

7) Follow the steps displayed on the screen to setup and configure Lx-Office ERP. Some of these steps might be automated in a later release of the ebuild.

8) Have fun using Lx-Office ERP on Gentoo! :)

(These ebuilds are sponsored by my company Printscreen GmbH, dedicated to the developers of Lx-Office ERP and Gentoo and released for free use under the terms and conditions of the GNU GPLv2 license.)

Xero: The ideal online accounting solution for startups/SMBs?

When going through Jakob Nielsen’s list of the 10 Best Application UIs of 2008 [1], I’ve noticed there’s also an online(!) accounting(!) system for SMBs among the winners:

Xero – The world’s easiest accounting system.

This is a big surprise, as I’ve already tested quite many accounting systems for SMBs/SMEs, both standalone and web applications, but none of them was particularly easy to use. The point isn’t that I couldn’t use a complex accounting system [2], the point is that I don’t want to if it isn’t necessary. In other words, every hour I can save on accounting and invoicing, I can spend on business development and software development. Which obviously makes sense.

Considering this, the price of 49 NZD (34 USD) per month for Xero is a fair deal. The only thing that isn’t customer-friendly at all, is that they decided to go with an opt-out free trial model (i.e. if you don’t cancel the trial within 30 days, you’ll be charged). Definitely worth a try, though.

[UPDATE 20080813: Note that Xero is not available for purchase in Switzerland yet (hopefully soon). You can still try the demo though.]

[UPDATE 20080814: I've quickly tested Xero. Conclusion so far: I like it a lot! It delivers, what most startup companies need in regard to accounting and it makes things as easy as possible. In fact, I've never seen a more intuitive accounting system before! It will definitely set the new benchmark in its class. Let's hope there will be a Swiss edition soon. Kudos to the makers of Xero in NZ: You rock!]

[UPDATE 20080815: Xero's plans are to have a global version of Xero ready by early 2009, see my follow-up blog post]

[1] Also noteworthy: CMSBox, a very user-friendly CMS made in Switzerland.

[2] Among others, two of my majors at the University of Zurich were Management Accounting and Managerial Accounting.

[3] Of course, you could also outsource all your accounting duties, but particularly for a new startup with a minimal headcount, the outsourcing efforts generally outweigh the benefits.