[linux-elitists] Ledger: org mode for double-entry bookkeeping

Don Marti dmarti at zgp.org
Fri Dec 7 07:17:39 PST 2012

begin Phil Mayers quotation of Fri, Dec 07, 2012 at 09:59:21AM +0000:
> On 12/07/2012 06:38 AM, Don Marti wrote:

> I've don't understand why something similar to git wasn't invented
> years before, as a container for office documents. Imagine if
> instead of worrying about the XML encoding for italics, the "office
> document standard wars" had given us a git-in-zipfile container for
> the document data. Sharing and version control - solved. Recovery to
> an old version - solved.

The hard part is designing the Application of the
Future's file format so that a git merge makes sense.
Even if you say that the web user never has to merge,
and the offline shell user is responsible for doing
it when reconnecting, somebody has to do a merge
some time.

"free verse" Markdown looks ideal for text...

but for PIM you'd need immutable text blocks plus a
logfile that can be union merged, or something.

> It strikes me that it would work well for electronic patient records
> too (modulo access control). For the £12b my government flushed down
> the drain on the last aborted effort, it doesn't seem so hard to
> write a simple forms-based viewer that does git clone/git push as
> it's record "open"/"close" operation, then have a central daemon
> that does merges between geographically dispersed copies,
> particularly if you mandate append-only editing (which you would
> want).

Append-only editing for journals is a rule of
double-entry bookkeeping from way back, which is one
reason that ledger+git is such a good idea.

(By the way, I'm now at Perforce, working on related
problems among other things.  Although I prefer to use
applications of the future, a lot of people are still
using current mass-market desktop applications that
failed to understand git-merge-friendly principles
when designing their on-disk formats, which is
understandable considering how much longer than git
they've been around.)

Don Marti                      +1-510-332-1587 (mobile)
http://zgp.org/~dmarti/        Alameda, California, USA
dmarti at zgp.org

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