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
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.