PLCash is written in Java, so you can transfer both PLCash and your records to virtually any platform.
The free Java runtime engine (required to run PLCash) can be gotten by visiting http://java.sun.com.
Unlike most personal finance programs, PLCash is not a
vehicle for advertising. There are no pop-ups, pleas, provocations
or perversities. No one will know whether or not you own or run
PLCash. It doesn't time out, expire, demand payment, give up the
ghost, or harass you to register it. Put simply, it is as free as I
could make it.
Quicken is rather inexpensive, but (in my opinion) this is only because Intuit Inc. has made a bunch of tie-in deals with its "corporate enterprise partners" (translation: advertising clients) for which Quicken is the advertising delivery vehicle, and your eyeballs are the target of the entire effort. As far as I am concerned, it is only coincidentally a personal finance program.
PLCash costs less than Quicken (in fact, it's free), but not because of any corporate shenanigans. PLCash contains no advertising at all. If you need a different bank, if you want to look into the performance of mutual funds, if you want a new retirement plan, I am sure you will know how to proceed and you don't want or need my advice. PLCash accurately reflects this philosophy and respects your judgment and privacy by not trying to harass you with all those terrific, exclusive, one-time-only, act-now, lucky-winner offers that make modern life so ... interesting.
I don't want to appear to be be directly comparing PLCash and Quicken. Quicken can do a bunch of things that PLCash cannot do. But:
If your financial program requirements are modest,
If you don't need inventory or business features,
If you don't run Windows and therefore cannot run Quicken at all,
If you are tired of the advertisements built into the "other" finance program, or
If you find the new installation and upgrade policies of Intuit, Inc. annoying,
... then PLCash may be for you.
PLCash uses the most transparent, obvious, human-readable
data records imaginable: plain text. This means if you want
to move to another program, or if you want to analyze records in
ways not possible within PLCash, you can simply read your PLCash
records with the program of your choice — virtually all
spreadsheet and word processing programs have no problem reading
PLCash data files.
On that note, because PLCash data files are unencrypted and human readable, you will want to preserve and protect your data files if you are concerned about third parties reading your data. Most operating systems have one or more protection schemes like user password access control, which will afford adequate security for most PLCash users. For a higher level of security, you should consult a trusted computer adviser on how to proceed.
PLCash also can read and write its data files using the industry-standard QIF file format. This means you can import or export all your financial records from/to Quicken or any other program that supports the QIF file format. This opens up many collaborative possibilities with other people and institutions that rely on the QIF format. As just one example, many tax accountants prefer receiving your records in this format.
One final note. Please back up your data. Your
financial records may represent hours or days of work. Unless you
personally accept responsibility for backing up your data, there
may be only one copy of your records, and that data set might be
inadvertently deleted or corrupted because of user or programming
Your PLCash data files are located at (user directory)/.PLCash/data. For the actual location of this directory on your system, press the "About" toolbar button. To preserve your financial records, be sure to set up a regular backup policy to secure these data files against loss.
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