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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 Anonymous Coward on Friday March 21, 2014 @11:39AM (#46543721)

    Oh if only Microsoft had given them more than like 10 years notice of end-of-support, they might have had time to prepare....

  • by dingen (958134) on Friday March 21, 2014 @11:42AM (#46543745)

    What's a desktop operating system doing on an ATM anyway?

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Friday March 21, 2014 @11:46AM (#46543799) Homepage

    > Oh if only Microsoft had given them more than like 10 years notice of end-of-support, they might have had time to prepare....

    I've been in shops where the key mission critical app was 30 years old. All of the shiny new MBAs would come in and try and replace that thing with newer tech but would ultimately fail. The 30 year old product did the job and the shiny new things couldn't.

    ATMs are such a key part of their business that it really makes no sense for them to not be in total control.

    Linux allows that.

    Although they should have used a more industrial product to begin with. The choice really shouldn't be between Linux and Microsoft. There should be better targeted options and the market should have allowed those to thrive.

  • Re:Yes and no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Friday March 21, 2014 @11:58AM (#46543941) Homepage

    This is the perfect example of why gratis doesn't mean so much. The really important thing here is that the user or even the "integrator" can have complete control of the system. They don't have to worry about ANYONE else interfering with the degree of control they want and the features that they want to be active.

    The people building the ATM are in total control. For a device like an ATM, that's really how it should be.

  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Friday March 21, 2014 @12:04PM (#46544005)

    You are missing the difference. Linux is open-source, and not under the control of any one vendor. Distros go EOL, kernels basically do not; you can always upgrade to a newer kernel, and you're not going to break anything in the process. So if you're an ATM maker and you roll your own Linux distro, it's pretty trivial for you to just keep upgrading to the latest (stable, not bleeding-edge) kernel. Or, if you prefer to have a vendor do your OS work for you, your vendor (like Wind River, Timesys, etc.) can do that too. So basically "yes" to your second paragraph, first sentence. If they're not qualified, they can outsource it to one of the many commercial Linux companies. And if they get sick of their chosen vendor, they can easily switch to a different vendor, or move it in-house; these are options that aren't present with MS.

  • by Plumpaquatsch (2701653) on Friday March 21, 2014 @12:10PM (#46544071) Journal
    So how is support for RHEL 2.1 (a year younger than XP) these days?
  • Re:ATMs? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BitZtream (692029) on Friday March 21, 2014 @12:20PM (#46544159)

    You can't 'tell them what you want' ... they'll hand you back a slip and tell you to fill it out and sign it ... which is what you do when you poke the buttons and enter your pin number at an ATM.

    You're naive at best.

    Banks are some of the most ruthlessly efficient organizations on the planet, by their very nature.

    First off, those bored people behind the counters 'watching you fill out those ridiculous slips' aren't bored, I promise you they've been working ALL day, doing something the bank hasn't yet automated. Just because the counter is high and you can't see they've been counting night deposits doesn't mean they were just sitting back their rubbing one off.

    Second, the slips are not so you can 'tell them', its so the bank has a record of what YOU told them you were asking for or giving them, and BEFORE The transactions complete, they can reject it. If they accept it, they have, IN WRITING, what YOU requested from them, and how they filled it. They are protected against YOUR mistakes in transactions. The ATM does the EXACT same thing, but you just don't realize its doing it. This is a matter OF LAW, not practice or fun. This kind of stuff goes right along with the regulations that let them put that nice little Insured by the FDIC sticker on the window.

    Third, Awesome, you think because the bank has off loaded doing their job onto YOU and a machine, that people who use the old method, where the bank actually provides services ... are the ones with a problem. And notice ... those people have ... money.

    Irony: You think you're smarter because the bank is much more efficient at ripping you off than those stupid old people. Congratulations, there is an old dude sitting in an office, laughing his ass off about how you and the kind of ignorance you carry with you, filthy fucking rich.

    ATMs are banks giving you less service and charging you for the privilege. You're an idiot. You kinds of guys are mind blowing to me. So excited about the new hotness not being 'old and busted' to notice that 'new hotness' is in fact, busted from the start and 'old and busted' got the job done better and cheaper.

  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Friday March 21, 2014 @12:21PM (#46544179) Homepage

    That's the thing, though: for the most part the basic programming APIs haven't changed much since then. There's some new ones, but mostly code written for RHEL 2.1 will compile and run on Debian 7.4. The kernel will have been upgraded, the libraries and packages will have been upgraded, but the source code and makefiles and scripts will need minimal changes to make the jump. You won't be able to take advantage of the new features, but you won't be looking at nearly the work to migrate. Even widget sets are mostly backwards-compatible, and for an application like an ATM you can omit the desktop environment stuff that's undergone major changes over the years (why would an ATM need a desktop environment anyway, it's not like customers will be interacting with the ATM's desktop). Combine that with the ability to just not run services like Samba (Windows networking) and the like and you make it a lot easier to do support in-house as well, reducing the need to migrate in the first place.

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