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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 doc/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.

CURRENT git checkout master
BETA git checkout -b maint origin/maint
RELEASE git checkout v2.6.1

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, read on.

For building the current master branch

Library Min.Ver. When needed
Boost 1.35
GMP 4.2.2
MPFR 2.4.0
gettext 0.17 optional
libedit 20090111-3.0 optional
Python 2.4 optional
cppunit 1.12.1 optional, for make check
doxygen optional, for make docs
graphviz 2.20.3 optional, for make docs
texinfo 4.13 optional, for make docs
lcov 1.6 optional, for make report, used with ./acprep gcov
sloccount 2.26 optional, for make sloc

For building the current maint branch

Library Min.Ver. When needed
GMP 4.2.2
pcre 7.7
libofx 0.8.3 optional
expat 2.0.1 optional
libxml2 2.7.2 optional


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

sudo port install -f automake autoconf libtool python26
    libiconv +universal zlib +universal gmp +universal
    mpfr +universal ncurses +universal ncursesw +universal
    gettext +universal libedit +universal boost-jam
    boost +st+python26+icu cppunit 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 be build on Ubuntu, sudo apt-get install ... the
following packages (current as of Ubuntu Hardy):

sudo apt-get install build-essential libtool autoconf automake     \
     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 sloccount

Or, for Ubuntu Karmic:

sudo apt-get install build-essential libtool autoconf automake   \
     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      \


The next step is preparing your environment for building. While you can use, ./configure 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
# $HOME/local and build with 2 processes in parallel
./acprep update --boost=-mt -- --prefix=$HOME/local -j2

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

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:

Home page
IRC channel #ledger on
Mailing List / Forum
GitHub project page
Buildbot status
Ohloh code analysis

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.