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Linux On a Used Cash Register 214

Posted by timothy
from the paper-plastic-or-canvas dept.
codewolf writes: "Looking at this site, it seems that if someone has enough time on their hands, they can get Linux to run on just about anything. Looks like this guy got Red Hat Linux running on an Ultimate Techonologies Corporation cash register. This is a great hack if you ask me."
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Linux On a Used Cash Register

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  • Great! (Score:2, Funny)

    Now we can get all our stuff free from the Linux counter :)
  • I'd hate to see a port of WinCE on a cash register, Imagine the small print on the back of the receipt.

    "...you agree by paying this amount, to never divulge what you paid, or purchased, in any form, written, recorded, or electronicly transcribed in any way, to anybody. By having this receipt, you are violating the EUCEA (End User Cash Exchange Agreement) and must distroy this document, or face an audit of all digital processing and storage devices you own."
    • by Anonymous Coward
      A friend are using delphi to code for cash registers at his complany, so I guess they are running winblows on thoose machines.
    • by Glorat (414139) on Friday April 26, 2002 @06:47AM (#3414932)
      I'Id hate to see a port of WinCE on a cash register

      Heh, well at Wimbledon station in the UK, they run Windows NT to sell train tickets in one of those electronic hole in the wall ticket dispensers. (Choose ticket, insert money, out pops ticket).

      While waiting for my pickup, I amused my self as the machine spontaneously rebooted, saw the NT4 loader in it's comforting blue screen, see Windows launch, autologin, connect to some network shares and start up the ticket selling interface. And then watch it spontaneously reboot again =P
      • Are you sure it spontaneously rebooted, or was it being remotely controlled perhaps? Remember to change anything deeper than the wallpaper, you have to reboot... :)

      • A little like photo #1 [us-lot.org] (The message if you can't read it is the NT 'At least one service failed to initilise on startup'
      • The Singaporean MRT system, known for its efficiency cleanliness bla bla bla, has a comprehensive communications system. They have electronic boards outside MRT stations giving generally unhelpful messages on how fast trains will arrive and depart.

        Guess what? They all run on DOS (or a related Win 9X clone). I once saw a "Not reading Drive A. Abort, Retry, Fail?" message on at least one screen.

        Allegedly, many commuters thought that train drivers weren't driving the trains that day.

      • the MTA(NY,NY) runs win NT on their metrocard vending machines.. so far they've had no problems, except when people "vandelize" the machines and make it so that the machine eats your money, then tells you that it dosnt accept cash at that time.

        I thought it was intresting and i only found out when i saw one of them being repaired
      • Think - without WinCE you wouldn't have had such a fun time buying a ticket!
  • putting your money where your mouth is?
  • its not really surprising... in that linux supposedly compiles and runs on anything with a gcc compiler... while i'm not sure what processor its running... it appears to be intel based. With that in mind, booting it shouldn't be an issue. Setting up drives and getting the "led thing" as he puts it, to work may be an issue. But again if its intel, the drives and memory shouldn't be much of an issue. Definitly an interesting hack... but I'm not sure how impressive it is.
    • Re:not surprising... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by tapiwa (52055)
      I agree

      I checked out the site, and it seems that not only is the chip a PENTIUM MMX 233.

      He changed the graphics card

      He could not get it to run with 4Mb ram and so threw in a 32Mb stick.

      Really not much of a hack there if you ask me. Only the LED is impressive.
      • ...is that he didn't use a small Linux distribution. I personally would have taken a minimalist distribution (or NetBSD, but that's another story) and there are plenty to choose from according to linux.org [linux.org].

        The funniest thing for me was RedHat complaining that there was not enough memory (32Meg, come one, isn't that enough to *install*). My favourite "mini" distribution is Peanut Linux [ibiblio.org]. It's the one I use on all my machines, big and small. I have running it on a P120/32Meg RAM with WindowMaker as windowmanager and it runs really smooth (while playing MP3's, in mono however). The installation process never complained a single time about "lack of memory".
        Ah, the days that 4Meg of RAM was huge and 8Meg of RAM was overkill :-)

        This was my 500th post on slashdot. Feel honoured I used it on you ;-)

  • by Thaidog (235587) <slashdot753@nym.hus h . c om> on Friday April 26, 2002 @03:40AM (#3414633)
    Linux is a POS operating system...
  • ...until I see an old, beat up, chrome covered toaster from the 60's running linux...

    ...wait a sec, with those mini-itx boards it'd just about be possible...

    Shit. I gotta lay off the caffine.
  • by laptop006 (37721) on Friday April 26, 2002 @03:41AM (#3414636) Homepage Journal
    If you actually read the product info you can (for the 'logic unit') either use a:
    * ASCII Terminal (Just connect to a *nix box)
    * PC (Just install linux)
    * NC (Can anyone say X)

    Now, yes this IS cool, but it's equivilent to someone isntalling linux on a weird looking PC with some cool peripherals.
    • Agreed, it's a pretty standard beast in core hardware terms -
      vendor_id : GenuineIntel
      model name : Pentium MMX (stepping : 3)
      cpu MHz : 232.099722
      ioports including:
      dma;keyboard;fpu;idex2;serialx2;eth
      T here's an Acer Labs M1521-1523 chipset with M5219 IDE controller.
      Interesting quote "After the install I stated poking around the machine to find out what kind of hardware it hads a so forth".
      After! I'd have thought cheking the hardware would have been the FIRST thing to do.
      Not to say it's not a fun little project, but getting something up and running (like the LCD display) would have been a bit more of an achievement. Or maybe a distributed cash-register-cluster ;)
  • The touch screen version [ultimatetechnology.com]. Always thought one would make a sweet X terminal, and if it can run win95 with our P.O.S. POS software, it can run something decent...
  • Someone got Linux running on an embedded PC. If it was an obscure processor than sure, but its nothing more than a PC with a different plastic shell.

    This is getting old.

    *yawn*
  • Oh, yes...

    "Just because you can doesn't mean you should..."

    Pretty interesting, none the less...
  • It looks to me like he says it's has got a pentium 233 in it. Not what I'd call a true OS install, more of a "getting the periferals to work" project.
  • Not impressive (Score:3, Flamebait)

    by Shriek (261178) on Friday April 26, 2002 @03:47AM (#3414650)
    This POS is still a computer so what is the big deal about this? The CueCat that is attached to it is a more impressive hack.
    • If it where not a computer, how could you run Linux? Of course it's not impressive. When you run Linux on a palm it's interesting, when you run it on cash register it's not? Why?
  • ... to add up your shopping using dc?

    Bob.
  • Its a P233 pc (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BrookHarty (9119) on Friday April 26, 2002 @03:50AM (#3414659) Homepage Journal
    Kinda neat, but its a P233 pc. Really the only cool thing is the led display. I have an old IBM thermal printer that uses fax paper also, used it on my c64. Now put linux on a c64 (load "linux",8,1) and I will be impressed.

    • Not Linux but Lunix:
      http://lng.sourceforge.net/
      and while your at it you could as
      well write a driver for TFE
      http://dunkels.com/adam/tfe/
    • Re:Its a P233 pc (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      linux is ported the c64

      lng.sourceforge.net [sourceforge.net]
    • Re:Its a P233 pc (Score:5, Informative)

      by HeUnique (187) <hetz-home@noSpAM.cobol2java.com> on Friday April 26, 2002 @04:00AM (#3414675) Homepage
      already done [netsurf.de] :)
    • Re:Its a P233 pc (Score:3, Informative)

      by Lumpy (12016)
      first off it isnt a LED display it is a Vaccum Flouresent Display (VFD) (Please excuse my spelling, I just got up, I cant find My glasses, and My hands are still wet from the shower... Ooops too much information)

      VFD's are easy to get to talk to linux, they act just like a LCD and if it is serial I am betting that it takes standard Matrox Orbital commands so he just downloaded the code from one of the linux pages on how to talk to one of these things.

      Hey, If I install linux on my PC can I get a story on slashdot?? That is exactly what this is.

      Now the industrial touchscreens I have that are water,weather,freeze proof... that is a cool hack, but not worthy of a slashdot story...
      • VFD's are easy to get to talk to linux, they act just like a LCD and if it is serial I am betting that it takes standard Matrox Orbital commands so he just downloaded the code from one of the linux pages on how to talk to one of these things.

        Before I could get the manual, I didn't know how to talk to it. I had no serial port info, so I was trying all sorts of stuff. I looked all over the web and couldn't find much. I wrote an email to the manufacturer and told myself that if I didn't hear back, I'd take it apart. When they sent me the manuals, it was fairly trivial to write a tiny perl script that sent information to it. I have no idea if the VFD commands are similar to the MO commands and I didn't "download any code".

        The thing people don't realize is that before I got the screwdriver out, I didn't even know if it was a PC. And in kind of a leap of faith, my mom had bought 10 of them hoping she could use them. So I grabbed one, took it apart, and she's now got them working. But yeah, it is just a PC. And I'm having fun playing with it (Caller ID on the pole display will be cool, and I'm thinking xmms-based VU meters would be nice as well). The only reason there are web pages is because my thumbnailer script makes them. I just added some comments.

        Hey, If I install linux on my PC can I get a story on slashdot?? That is exactly what this is.

        No, this is me discovering how POSes are built, partly to help my mom out, partly to have fun with old hardware. If it isn't impressive, then that's ok by me. I never claimed it would cause world peace or cure the common cold or anything. I could have cared less it got on Slashdot. In fact, it would have been better if I had got everything working before people saw it... :-)

        -B

  • thinking that a 14 incher sucked...

  • Well ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Throstur (300329) <throstur.bylur@net> on Friday April 26, 2002 @03:53AM (#3414663) Homepage
    POS machines are nothing more than PC computers with extra serial ports and different peripherals than "normal" PCs. And the POS software normally runs on DOS or Windows (*gasp*) ;-) I really don't see what the big fuss is about, I mean, I've installed Linux on a few different POS machines myself, (I work for a company that makes POS software), and it's just like setting up Linux on a normal PC except for the peripherals.
    • if they are even that sophisticated. A company i used to work for sold POS solutions. The cash registers were little more than IBM 3151 terminals + fancy keyboard, barcode reader and a pole display. Setup the POS terminals, then run cat5 (serial) back to a portserver, then ethernet to a RS/6000 43p, running the software that drove the whole operation.

      Easily scalable, just more 3151's (and possible another portserver).
    • COOL!!! HEHEHE! :-) Just you can imagin if we all would know root password for cash register and we can make back door to get this money!!! :-) What do you thing? Would be this posible?
    • I worked for NCR for a couple of years in the early 90s, and yes, a cash register these days is basically just a PC with different I/O devices - no point in making a specialized processor system when the general-purpose ones are cheaper and more powerful. The main alternatives were from IBM and ran funky IBM POS operating systems, but they were also becoming PCs.

      We tended to run OS/2 on ours, since back in those days it was a major step up from DOS, better at networking, and could get a way with fewer resources than most Unix systems.

    • I didn't know until I opened it. My mom saw these at a sale from Service Merchandise and got them for liek $30 each. So I nabbed one because I wanted to see what was inside it. I took it apart and saw that it was a PC. I couldn't get it to boot, so I installed Linux. I never said it was like I wrote a special kernel or anything.

      BTW, the reason I have web pages for this at all is that once I realized Linux would run on these then I realized that my mom could possibly move to Linux for her POS OS (which would solve some problems she's been having lately). And so I took pictures so she and my brother could see my progress. I have an automatic thumbnailing script that makes those pages, and I used that. After I repeated myself twice when I was doing things, I made little notes.

      But I never claimed it was any great hack, just Linux on a second-hand cash register. I certainly wasn't trying to impress anyone, I'm just having fun...

      -B

  • If he could get Linux to control the drawer, then the cash would be real secure! :^)
  • I think that getting the display pole is pretty schweet, however the "embedded PC" at the cash register is not anything unexpected. I have a pair of SASI terminals that used to belong to a CoastalMart in town. They had a log 16bit ISA card that connected their peripherials to the box as well as a laptop's 1.2GB HDD downsized to 500MB.. (1024,16,63... familiar?) All I had to do was remove the propietary card that contained a bootROM and voila, a perfectly good P200,32mB RAM 4MB ATI video.. These had PCI in them as well.. One's my router and one is my webserver.. If you are a hardware freak, like I am, you are always on the constant lookout for embedded boxes of this sort.. Cash registers are higly sought out after for this reason... After all, why use a suitcase for a router when you have a shoebox available..

    Good catch on the hardware!!

  • by Ed Avis (5917) <ed@membled.com> on Friday April 26, 2002 @04:05AM (#3414693) Homepage
    Just goes to show that Linux will run on any old POS.
  • I like this (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ishark (245915) on Friday April 26, 2002 @04:08AM (#3414697)
    Don't ask why... Some things just need doing.

    Definitely an excellent reason for this project. I can't think of a better one :)
    I'm only surprised that the first use of the display pole was not for uptime/load....
  • I think that this is actually a little smaller...
    Look at the bottom of the page.
    There's a Linux shell for TI-89!
    http://www.ticalc.org/pub/89/asm/shells/

    Now for more wierdness...how about Linux on an oscilloscope? I know a guy who wrote "pong" for it using anolog circuits. Perhaps someone should take it further.

    They could use a TV remote as the interface and an adapted LCD driver chip to do it cheap...
    • A analog pong on the oscilloscope? COOL! :-) You know where to see screen shots of this? Thanks!
    • Now for more wierdness...how about Linux on an oscilloscope? I know a guy who wrote "pong" for it using anolog circuits. Perhaps someone should take it further.

      It's sad but true, but nearly all current oscilloscopes technology Tektronics, HP, etc. runs windows 98 or 2000. Yes it's really true. Why the vendors do prefer windows over a linux system on their hardware I don't know. First they have to pay royalites. Second the oscilloscope boots slow. Thirs you cannot even start a single measurment without having to log into windows (Press CTRL-ALT-DEL to login in) Yes I borrowed the oszi, left the keyboard back, since I just wanted to make a typical digital measurment "high or low". and couldn't pass this stupid login!. Forth writting drivers under win2k is a pain. Really. I wrote for both winNT and linux, and I tell you, the linux drivers interface is 100 times more easier to handle. Just buy the "Rubini" read it through and you're of with you first linux drivers. For windows? Surf through MSDN a month, get a lot of different confusing directions, start playing around, watch the machine crash, use beep codes to debug, start whining etc.:o) But if you get paid for it :o)

      Oh yes and the HP one I brought to BSOD several times :o)
  • by jsse (254124)
    if someone installed Quake [mr.net] on it. This will make the queue longer than ever...

    Hey mam what you are typing all I need is to get some change...
  • This isn't just a great hack this should be one of the main uses for Linux! An os thats stable as a rock and once you set it up you'd rarely have to 'reboot' the cash register. Come on, perfect for 24 hour Dairy Marts everywhere :).
  • http://www.micros.com/products/products_descriptio ns/eclipse_pc_workstation/specs.asp [micros.com]

    My sister has a couple Subway sandwich shops that run on a copy of Windows 98 Embedded.

    The Point of Sale Printer is nothing more than a parallel printer running on LPT1 with its driver set as a standard printer in Win98.

    The disk drive on it is USB. The Printer on it is USB. The keyboard uses a standard keyboard interface.

    Finally, the processor is a Pentium 3-700 with 128 meg of ram. The touchscreen is basically an LCD with a surface on it that maps to a mouse driver.

    Why is this so hard in linux? USB might be painful at times, but the receipt printer is an easy hookup. The cash drawer opens whenever a signal is sent to the printer.

    On many occasions I've printed something along the lines of "Welcome to Subway's Sex Shop" using the receipt printer. I don't see it as a plus which operating system I used to do it.

  • I used to work at Burger King, and we had our cash registers upgraded (this was about 9 years ago now). Inside the registers was basically a 386 processor, networked to the office (and then on to the head office) so the managers could keep track of how much we were selling.

    It was quite amusing wathcing them reboot every so often...
  • by jonr (1130) on Friday April 26, 2002 @04:29AM (#3414740) Homepage Journal
    This is fun and whatnot, but SFW? You have full access to the kernel and everything, so what an excellent way of spending your weekend. A company that I work for, is hacking Linux to work on a embedded medical device eg.
    Do you have to mount /dev/cashdrawer?

    J.
  • by C A S S I E L (16009) on Friday April 26, 2002 @04:31AM (#3414744) Homepage
    Apparently it still operates as a cash register while running Linux... except that it keeps insisting that anything run through it should be costing $0.00.
  • nothing special (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BiggyP (466507)
    well, hmmm, sure looks like it's just a PC underneath, pentium processor, 30MB of memory, IDE hard disk, in which case it's not exactly anything special. now the Display on a stick on the other hand, that would be cool.
  • by JimPooley (150814) on Friday April 26, 2002 @04:45AM (#3414762) Homepage
    I thought it was quite nice the Cash Register people told him how to get the display on a stick working. That's what I call support...
    • All you do is send hex commands with the string you want to be displayed to the serial port. Nothing more. The "support" you refer to was probably telling him where the user manual were located.
  • by Cef (28324) on Friday April 26, 2002 @05:05AM (#3414796)
    Just like most Point Of Sale machines, they are just PC's with extra hardware. That is, if they bother. Many are just plain jane PC's, with things like the pole display and cash draw all driven by the printer, while the barcode scanner is plugged in through a keyboard wedge, so it emulates keyboard input.

    If you're so interested in this, try developing a whole graphical (note: graphical as in has to look similar to their existing Windows setup) Point Of Sale system that will be using FrameBuffer, that will end up running on 486-dx33's, with 16 meg of RAM, and a whopping 420 meg of h/drive space. The place I work for is doing this for an Australia wide chain so that they can install it on their existing hardware. They are in a 'contract' with the old POS supplier to keep the hardware on the desks for a few more years. Poor bastards!

    We have most of the extra hardware working (a whole 2 extra serial ports - and while it has a PCMCIA flash card reader, it isn't even worth the worry). The Point Of Sale program itself is written in Kylix (was originally a Delphi app on Windows), using SDL as an interface between the FrameBuffer and Kylix. Fun fun fun!!
  • Linux PoS (Score:2, Informative)

    by BiggyP (466507)
    and people actually sell linux PoS systems,

    http://www.internetweek.com/ebizapps01/ebiz07160 1- 1.htm

    http://www.viewtouch.com/poshome.html
  • This is not news, most of these thing's I've used run NT, and if the hardware manage that Linux should be a breeze.

  • Linux on a Mac is harder than that. I got up and running on an old old mac with 32M ram, harder than what that guy did (boot red hat installer and leave overnight). If he'd got it running with just 4M, that would have been cooler.

    The article is not without a cool edge though :

    She yoinked the RAM figuring I could use it. She's my main lady, and I can't extoll the virtues of marrying a geek grrrl enough. The new RAM works and Tracy r0x0rs.

    Credit where credit is due too: quality photos, good description, up in HTML. Doing cool stuff is one thing, writing a reasonable report quite another. Kudos still goes to this dude.

    • Re:OK so what (Score:2, Informative)

      Linux on a Mac is harder than that. I got up and running on an old old mac with 32M ram, harder than what that guy did (boot red hat installer and leave overnight).

      I feel your pain. I had to get Linux running on a bunch of old Macs. God, those machines sucked. 16M ram, 180 MHz first-generation PowerPC. Getting X to work was such a PITA - it uses the kernel framebuffer stuff which, at the time, was undocumented. Had to go searching through kernel source to figure out what boot paramaters to pass it. These things were so damned slow - felt like a 386 even though they're supposed to be faster than that. There's like a half second latency for any exec(), even for stuff you've just run - makes every mundane 'ls' seem like a big event.

      These machines were constantly swapping - even when you weren't doing anything, the disk was busy. Thus, these things chewed through hard disks right quick (fortunately, Macs don't have b0rked BIOSes like PCs and even the oldest Macs with IDE can accept the newest, biggest hard drives). Compiling anything is an overnight process, and compiling kernels was a week-long process (try it, come back next day, figure out what broke the build, fix it, try again, ad nauseam).

      I had to actually code for this thing. Oh, how that sucked. Even using 'vi' was too damned slow. Formatting man pages took like thirty seconds. Of course, I would do all my development on a real machine and port it over, but I still had to work with the damned Macs when my compile broke because they had a different version of some library and so on.

      The exec() thing was killer. My code needed to use multiple processes or threads. The multiprocess approach didn't work too well, and using threads didn't help as there's little difference between a thread and a process in Linux (compared to Solaris, for instance). I started playing with using MIT pthreads compiled to do in-process threading, just to get decent performance (lazy, didn't want to write my own in-process scheduler). I eventually just gave up and just let the damned things run slow.

      Never again.

      • i have an LC II and an LC III, based off of the precursor to the Power PC chip, the 680x0 series. previous to the 68040, none of the chips had FPU's on them (for example, the LC II had a 68020, and the III had a 68030, meaning you either a)wrote your own software FPU, or B)install freeBSD for the 68k mac, which already has a software FPU...)

        anywho, it takes 5 min to generate a new SSH crypt key every 2 hours. other than that, it's like a 6 hour install on a 1 gig drive + pains and headaches - but boy! do they make greak, quiet, and cool webservers. that's what mine is, at least :)
  • Just a few questions regarding this great hack --
    1. does it run some form of GNUCash?
    2. does it GPL the ingredients of products bought?
    3. anyone consider a beo...nevermind
    Seriously, though. Even if it's just really a funny looking computer, just the thought of making it work has to be pretty cool.
  • I remember back in my younger years finding a cash register that ran OS/2... I got bored one day and started pressing key sequences for different operating systems that minimize full screen windows, and before I knew it I was looking at the OS/2 PM on a 6" black and white screen. My only thought at that point was, "this thing can run Quake!" :^)
  • by flc (8089)
    We got hold of some old cash register machines (IBM). It has DOS installed (used under some AS/400 system), but it wasn't good enough.

    We tried Windows 98 and Windows NT, but all we came up with was a crashing machine. After struggeling with the MS-based OSes, we tried Linux. Everything matched together and we got everything to work!

    We had some problems with X, but that solved after we added a GeForce2MX graphiccard to the machine, so now you could probably play Quake2 with quite good FPS =) Oh well, the Cyrix 233MHz processor is not that fast.

    Next week they will be in production, and the main interface is... ..Mozilla!

    Here [saunalahti.fi] are some early experiments with the machine (running bitchX).
  • When the atomic bomb was built, one of the many arguments against using it was that it would prove to the world that the bomb could be built. If they had never used it/told anyone about it, competing efforts to use it might have died out with WWII, and the Soviets wouldn't have been so determined to steal it.

    So now that someone has shown the world how relatively easy it is to get a PC operating system running on a cash register, Microsoft has no excuse not to stand on the shoulders of this research and port Windows XP (which already runs some ATMs).

    Then MS's propaganda/marketing machine will begin a campaign to warn retailers about "the dangers of using an operating system written by hackers." It would probably be something along the lines of "Linux could suck the cash right out of the drawer and send it over the internet to some hacker's Swiss bank account."

    Extrapolated ridiculousness follows:

    • Supermarkets buy subscriptions to Windows XP...
    • You pay an extra 25 cents at the checkout...
    • Every now and then the store manager tells you to put your stuff down and come back tomorrow because some hacker exploited the Win XP feature that was intended to allow the cash registers to talk to toaster ovens over the Internet.
    • Microsoft patiently waits to see what else we can port Linux to...
    Personally, I'd like to see someone get Linux running on my optical Intellimouse Explorer... Apache has been run on less hardware IIRC
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Are there, per chance, black helicopters in your back yard?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Microsoft has spent alot of time and effort
      warning retailers of the dangers of using linux.
      Microsoft sent out a warning to all retailers
      that was filled to the rafters with a big huge
      pile of FUD, on how bad linux is for POS.
      POS is big business. This IS for real. It may not
      win a nobel prize but the more people that become
      aware of it the better.
      A distribution that has a POS option would be a
      huge plus for open source operating systems.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    to see linux installed on an old mechanical cash register
  • In opening his club, Jamie Zawinski messed around with a linux based POS system..

    interesing article here:

    Linux-Based Point-of-Sale Software [dnalounge.com]
  • by loony (37622)
    The cash register doesnt impress me much - but how about getting Linux running on a M$ X-Box? its after all also intel based and who knows, maybe the nvidia driver works with that chipset as well....
  • I spent two hours looking for a 72 pin SIMM. I found 30 pin SIMMs and 168 pin DIMMs but no 72 pin anything. Luckily, in her purse Tracy had been carrying around a 32MB 72 pin SIMM from a Dell that got RMA'ed at her work.

    And I thought my wife carried everything in her purse.

  • ...he got Linux running on a PC.

    Well, come to think of it, that IS news!

  • Bah, it's really just a DOS box with special peripherals.

    A real good challenge would be Linux for Furby...

  • This "Cash Register" is really just a PC!!! I've had one of these things running Linux for years. It also runs OS/2, Win98, WinNT, and Win2000. Honestly, I'm really surprised this made it to slashdot. This is barely a hack at all.
  • At the end, the guy said he was syslogging it to a printer, and would like to have that serve as a caller ID someday. Why not just use the display as caller ID? It would be perfect. I suppose he could also print it, to have a record of it, but displaying it would be great (don't have to get up to see it.)

  • Linux has been ported to uCsimms, Palm devices, inventory devices (wireless inventory machines at Hahn have been running eDesktop for a while now), TiVos, web cameras, you name it.

    This doesn't sound all that new to me...
  • But some compinies have been running a Unix/Linux based cash registers for years now, and have the LED working. Pertty cool for one guy to do it for fun though...I've always wanted to...
  • it's the model 4 p.o.s. cash register, get it? p.o.s.....? heh.
  • While this has 'cool factor', it's really not that impressive. Looking at the specs here:

    http://www.ultimatetechnology.com/media/brochure s/ 40System.pdf

    You can see that this thing's basically just a PC with a cash drawer.

  • Now if you ask me, all this "linux on this and linux on that" is getting very old very fast. I have been all through this with the Amiga, and looked what happened with that! Windows based pc magazines and sites seem to have stopped saying "oooh look what it can run on" and are saying "oooh look what YOU can do with it" which is infinatly better from my point of view because i dont want to be left salivating over systems i cant have (well maybe in this case its a bit different). What i DO want to be left doing is thinking "hmmm thats actually useful to me, now how do i get my bosses to actually think along the same lines as me?". Im sorry for venting all this on you, but from where im standing, Linux is marketing itself to the end user much like the Amiga did, and showing niche cases of what it can do for a subselect of humanity rather than the actual userbase.
  • Checking out the specs in the pdf file,
    it can be seen that this register comes
    with a joystick/game port.

    Sorry sir, please step up to the next
    register, this one is closed
    (while playing Wolfenstien)

  • by nobodyman (90587) on Friday April 26, 2002 @09:55AM (#3415933) Homepage
    Can you imagine a beowulf cluster of these *whack* ouch!! Okay, I'm sorry, I'm sorry!!!
  • Actually, this doesn't surprise me too much. Most of the cash registers that you see in larger chain stores are honestly just pc's. Sometimes they will have some non-standard periphial connections, for example some of the IBM registers (I think the 7390 series) use rj style connectors to connect 99% of the periphials. Some of the older registers are honestly just dumb terminals also. But when you go to walmart, or to Winn-Dixie, you'd be surprised to find out that those registers are commonly an older model pc. Something between a 486 and a Pentium 2.
    It is true that some of them use different hardware, I think I've seen some that use PC104 architecture. Essentially the companies manufacturing the cash registers simply want to get the job done cheaply on their end so that they can sell them and make a good profit. There's enough standard pc hardware already out there that it ends up being cheaper for them to use.

    The grocery store I worked at in high school had Fujitsu POS's and they were simply 486 66mhz computers. They had all the standard connections and everything, they even ran DOS! We installed Doom on one of them just to say we had done it :)
  • Free as in CHER-CHING! Three dollars and seventy nine cents please.
  • >This is a great hack if you ask me.

    As many have pointed out, this is hardly a hack. It's just a PC.

    What I'd like to know is why people keep spending so much time getting Linux to run on silly little toys rather than making it better and more accessible on the platforms it already runs on.

    Linux is not going to beat Windows by running on my watch, microwave, or cordless drill.

    Linux is not going to conquer the desktop by running on my radar detector, VCR, or electric razor.

    Yet I bet it will run on one of those devices before it's ready for me to install it on my mother's computer.

    -l
  • by zapfie (560589)
    I guess naming something the "Model 40 POS" cash register has different connotations in the cash register and computer industries. ;)

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