Double-entry accounting system with a command-line reporting interface
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Ledger: Command-Line Accounting

Ledger is a powerful, double-entry accounting system that is accessed from the UNIX command-line. This may put off some users, since there is no flashy UI, but for those who want unparalleled reporting access to their data there are few alternatives.

For the Impatient

I know, you just want to build and play. If you have all the dependencies installed (see below), then simply do this:

git clone git://
cd ledger && ./acprep update  # Update to the latest, configure, make

Now try your first ledger command:

./ledger -f test/input/sample.dat reg

To the Rest

If you're reading this file, you have in your hands the Bleeding Edge. This may very well not be what you want, since it's not guaranteed to be in a functionally complete state. It's under active development, and may change in any way at any time.

What you may prefer is the current stable release, or the current beta branch. The BETA is what I prefer people use, since I still have a chance to fix major bugs that you find. Just e-mail me, or post to the mailing list, they'll become a part of my work list.

RELEASEgit checkout v2.6.3
CURRENTgit checkout maint
BETAgit checkout -b master origin/master
ALPHAgit checkout -b next origin/next

There are also several topic branches which contain experimental features, though none of these are guaranteed to compile. Best to chat with me on IRC or via the mailing list before going too much further with those.


If you wish to proceed in this venture, you'll need a few dependencies. The easiest way to get them for your platform is to run:

./acprep dependencies

If that doesn't completely work, here are the dependencies for building the current master branch:

doxygen1.5.7.1optional, for make docs
graphviz2.20.3optional, for make docs
texinfo4.13optional, for make docs
lcov1.6optional, for make report, used with /./acprep gcov
sloccount2.26optional, for make sloc

And for building the current maint branch:



If you build stuff using MacPorts on OS X, as I do, here is what you would run:

sudo port install -f cmake python26
    libiconv +universal zlib +universal gmp +universal
    mpfr +universal ncurses +universal ncursesw +universal
    gettext +universal libedit +universal boost-jam
    boost +st+python26+icu texlive doxygen graphviz
    texinfo lcov sloccount

You can even just install the current Ledger RELEASE directly:

sudo port install ledger


If you're going to build on Ubuntu, sudo apt-get install ... the following packages (current as of Ubuntu Hardy):

sudo apt-get install build-essential cmake zlib1g-dev libbz2-dev
     python-dev bjam cvs gettext libgmp3-dev libmpfr-dev libboost1.35-dev
     libboost-regex1.35-dev libboost-date-time1.35-dev
     libboost-filesystem1.35-dev libboost-python1.35-dev texinfo lcov

Or, for Ubuntu Karmic:

sudo apt-get install build-essential cmake texinfo python-dev zlib1g-dev
     libbz2-dev libgmp3-dev bjam gettext cvs libboost1.40-dev
     libboost-regex1.40-dev libboost-date-time1.40-dev
     libboost-filesystem1.40-dev libmpfr-dev


Debian squeeze (6.0): the version of boost in squeeze is too old for ledger and unfortunately no backport is available at the moment.

Debian wheezy (7.0) contains all components needed to build ledger. You can install all required build dependencies using the following command:

sudo apt-get install build-essential cmake autopoint texinfo python-dev
     zlib1g-dev libbz2-dev libgmp3-dev gettext libmpfr-dev
     libboost-date-time1.49-dev libboost-filesystem1.49-dev
     libboost-graph49-dev libboost-iostreams1.49-dev
     libboost-python1.49-dev libboost-regex1.49-dev libboost-test1.49-dev


The next step is preparing your environment for building. While you can use cmake . and make, I've prepared a script that does a lot more of the footwork for you:

./acprep update
# or, if you want to use the Boost libraries with suffix -mt, install in
# $HOME/local and build with 2 processes in parallel
./acprep update --boost-suffix=-mt -- --prefix=$HOME/local -j2

Please read the contents of config.log if the configure step fails. Also, see the help subcommand to acprep, which explains some of its many options. It's pretty much the only command I run for configuring, building and testing Ledger.

You can run make check to confirm the result, and make install to install.

If you have extra CPU cycles to burn, try ./acprep proof, which provides the most thorough shakedown of a healthy source tree.


Now that you're up and running, here are a few resources to keep in mind:

If you have ideas you'd like to share, the best way is either to e-mail me a patch (I prefer attachments over pasted text), or to get an account on GitHub. Once you do, fork the Ledger project, hack as much as you like, then send me a pull request via GitHub.