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Linux May Succeed Windows XP As OS of Choice For ATMs 367

Posted by Soulskill
from the cash-from-a-penguin dept.
Dega704 sends this news from ComputerWorld: "Some financial services companies are looking to migrate their ATM fleets from Windows to Linux in a bid to have better control over hardware and software upgrade cycles. Pushing them in that direction apparently is Microsoft's decision to end support for Windows XP on April 8, said David Tente, executive director, USA, of the ATM Industry Association. 'There is some heartburn in the industry' over Microsoft's end-of-support decision, Tente said. ATM operators would like to be able to synchronize their hardware and software upgrade cycles. But that's hard to do with Microsoft dictating the software upgrade timetable. As a result, 'some are looking at the possibility of using a non-Microsoft operating system to synch up their hardware and software upgrades,' Tente said."
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Linux May Succeed Windows XP As OS of Choice For ATMs

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  • by MightyYar (622222) on Friday March 21, 2014 @12:04PM (#46544003)

    Although they should have used a more industrial product to begin with.

    This can be hard in practice. Vendors of niche products often only support Windows. Even if they support other OSes, you end up being the beta tester since the code is not as widely used. We ended up using XP embedded years ago because, of all things, USB memory stick compatibility. We tried to use Wind River's drivers, Linux drivers (years ago), and even Windows CE - but XP was the only solution that worked with almost every stick out there. When we used Wind River's solution, we had to maintain a compatibility list. But this effort was impossible once they started to explode in popularity. We of course sold compatible sticks to use with our equipment, but this was not popular with our customers and our competitors used Windows, so we were at a disadvantage.

  • by Immerman (2627577) on Friday March 21, 2014 @12:09PM (#46544059)

    I suspect ATMs straddle the line between being too sophisticated and varied to lend themselves to a simplistic embedded system, and too niche a product to be cost effective to develop a specialized OS from the ground up. Windows gave them something that got the job done more cheaply than a custom-built OS. Now that Linux has gone mainstream it does open the door to a specialized OS since it need not be built from the ground up - adding and removing modules typically involves *far* less effort, especially when there are numerous variations of stripped-down specialty distros to start from.

  • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@ w o r f.net> on Friday March 21, 2014 @12:14PM (#46544101)

    I don't even get why they'd switch to Linux. Something like QNX or VXWorks (I'm sure people will chime in with other/better examples) would make much more sense for something as simple as a bank machine. A bank machine has to do very little. Why would something as complex as Windows or Linux be used.

    Because of developer tools. The software on ATMs isn't static - it changes often enough to be annoying as new banking requirements come up - new language support, accessibility, currency handling, etc.

    The ATM hardware basically is static, but the software it runs on is customized for the bank and for the purpose the bank is using it for.

    Embedded OS tools generally are quite awful and hard to set up. But desktop tools are easier to use - just point a developer at Visual Studio, the source repo and they can get building that afternoon. And with a few peripherals, they can even emulate the ATM hardware right on their desktop without having to have the ATM beside them, transfer the code and assets over, etc.

    Anyhow, it's not like banks didn't have a lot of notice - way back in the Windows 7 days Microsoft had already announced end of support (this was over 5 years ago). They reiterated it several times since then. The fact that support was ending next month has been known for years.

    Problem is, most companies see it as "far off" and too far away to bother, ignoring the fact that migrating can take years. Just because you were told in 2009 that XP was going away in April 2014, means most companies will ignore it until the last minute. It's so bad that Microsoft is getting requests to extend XP support another year. (And most of those are from people who did NOT need more than 5 years to migrate - they just ignored it until they had the "oh shit it's only 6 months away!" moment).

    It's been going on for years now - the banks have had more than ample opportunity to prepare.

  • by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Friday March 21, 2014 @12:54PM (#46544557) Homepage Journal
    you can always upgrade to a newer kernel, and you're not going to break anything in the process.

    This is just wrong. Threading and libc compatibility isn't transferable between 2.4 and 2.6. There are innumerable 2.4 applications which will flat out not run on a 2.6 system. The same goes between 2.2 and 2.4. And 2.0 and 2.2.
  • by whitroth (9367) <whitroth AT 5-cent DOT us> on Friday March 21, 2014 @03:14PM (#46545889) Homepage

    Sorry. RHEL (and thus CentOS, and I presume Scientific Linux) have 10 year support.

                      mark

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