(repost) Quickbooks on linux (well, sort of)

There’s ONE piece of the puzzle that’s keeping lots of small-to-medium businesses tied to Windows Operating Systems. Ironically, it’s also a market leader that Microsoft themselves have been unable to counter at all.


It’s well-known by now that some older versions of Quickbooks will run under some versions of wine and CrossoverOffice…sometimes. Not supported. Nor stable.

There are several promising linux-based accounting packages out there, like Appgen’s MyBooks, xTuples’ PostBooks, and the SMB-Ledger project. I’m not going to go into the pro’s and con’s of these solutions, but suffice to say that none of these have the stability, versatility, and universal acceptance of Quickbooks. A small business owner can talk to any bookkeeping services, accountant, bank, etc, and be assured that they “speak” Quickbooks.

So….we can either wait for Intuit to realize that they could easily own the linux SMB accounting market if they released something, even if it was only supported on FC or Ubuntu… or wait for one of the linux-native solutions to mature…

…or we can start doing something now.

Here’s the plan:

-Keep a Windows machine to run Quickbooks.

-Install seamlessrdpshell on the Windows machine. Look here for the files:http://www.cendio.com/files/thinlinc/seamlessrdp/seamlessrdp.zip
Install these files on the Windows machine to a simple location like C:\seamlessrdp\

-Install rdesktop 1.5 or later on your linux machine

-Add an icon to the desktop of your linux machine to execute

rdesktop -A -s "c:\seamlessrdp\seamlessrdpshell.exe C:\Program Files\Quickbooks\QBW.exe"

You CAN use options like -u gregc -p K00lDood$ but I’m not comfortable running it that way myself.

Look here for more info about SeamlessRDP! http://www.cendio.com/seamlessrdp/

Legalities, licensing, etc.

It would be really nifty to run ONE Windows XP machine as an RDP terminal server to connect all of your company’s linux boxes for Quickbooks. There’s a registry hack that is supposed to allow up to three simultaneous connections, and there are several commercial products (XP Unlimited, Terminal Server Pro, to name a few) that do this very nicely. Given my non-lawyer read of the Windows XP EULA found herehttp://download.microsoft.com/documents/useterms/Windows%20XP_Professional_English_9e8a2f82-c320-4301-869f-839a853868a1.pdf
I see contradictory language regarding remote desktop or remote execution usage. The “safe way” appears to be pretty simple, though. Buy a retail copy of Windows XP for each concurrent terminal connection. That way, even IF Microsoft audits you and finds out you’re running Windows XP, you have at least made a show of good faith that you’re trying to comply with the licensing requirements.

This advice is based only on interpretations of Windows EULAs from Microsoft licensing “experts,” and the common sense that says…if you own the correct number of licenses then you can use them in ways that Microsoft doesn’t explicitly grant or deny. I’m not a lawyer and if you’re really concerned about this beyond my “do the right thing and but the right # of Windows” thinking then please contact a lawyer to discuss this.

I’d be interested in hearing how this concept works out for people. Please register and post a comment if you find this useful, or if there’s something I need to explain further.

-Greg C

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