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Burlington Coat Factory installs 1,300 Linux boxes 53

funkwater wrrote in to tell us that Burlinton Coat Factory has been noted as the first significant retailer to deploy the Linux operating system in all 250 stores. Do the responsible parties over there read Slashdot? Want to write something to help convince other companies to join you? This is a great step forward- many people in similiar situations regularly email me to ask for help making this sort of thing happen in their organization. The geeks know. The suits are catching on.
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Burlington Coat Factory installs 1,300 Linux boxes

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  • About time?
  • Of course they read Slashdot.

    They are not replacing their POS systems with Linux. Yet. But they are replacing the the back-end server in every store. Do you know how committed a company has to be to a technology to do something that big? They are also replacing their Sun workstations on engineers desks with Linux machines, one at a time.

    Burlington was already smart enough to use Unix everywhere and avoid NT at all costs. Now they have proved smart enough to adopt Linux in a big way. I'd be willing to bet they'll be doing Linux at POS eventually as well.

  • I'm surpised radio shack hasn't gone Linux. I used to work there a while ago, and they were using XENIX for their POS sytem. When I finally left, they schanged over to SCO. Seems like Linux would be easier to use, better to support and less costly to implement.... for what it's worth...
  • Actually, I think that you're thinking of an air-breathing patent.. :-)

  • A workplace is a good workplace when computers do not crash and people can work. Linux will help them do it!

    Hopefully, MS won't send the goons out and make things difficult. []
  • Those of you who pooh-pooh the siginificance of this blow my mind. Are you on the M$ payroll? Maybe they didn't replace *all* their computers with Linux, but I would say that 1300 Linux boxes is quite significant.

    Not only that, check out their home page. [] They advertise the Linux implementation right on the front page!

    No matter what anyone else says, this is exactly the kind of mainstream corporate acceptance we've been hoping for all along.

  • Hey CmdrTaco! Why doesn't this guy get his post deleted?

  • There was a story about a month or two ago about a regional clothing store Jay Jacobs setting up Linux POS systems in their stores. If I remember correctly, the company that wrote the POS software is based in Redmond Washington (how's that for coincidence?)
  • This is good of course,
    I don't want to sound sarcastic, but they are not the first large retailer to use Linux and Open Source in the world.

    In México, there is a large retailer 189 stores
    with 6,000 employees called "Telas Parisina" who uses Linux, Postgres and Perl.

    We choosed Linux not because of the price, but because the price/benefit ratio, we ended spentding a lot of money because we had to train our employees, develop our own code and do the needed things to connect ourselves with our suppliers, but it was money with a good justification.

    I was the CIO and never, never used the word free (as is spanish "gratis") I always tried to show the performance part of the project, because I knew the CEO will always try to cut the assigned budget for the "computer projects", (you must understand that in Mexico not everybody is used to the computers and information technologies do not play such important role in the people's life than in the U.S.)

    Today the project is a success, it allowed the business to grow from 40 stores to 189. And now I'm fixing a little biplane aircraft, and teach at the university in Mexico City, I seep well and I know that the CEO and the administrative people like me because of the results the Open Source has given (note that I don't work as CIO at Parisina anymore I only do consulting once in a while).

    Please everybody be careful about how you say "it is going to be cheaper" because that is not the main reason of the free software after all, the main reason has to be: "it is better because we have full control by having the source code"
  • They mention the cost saved by not having to buy and operating system for each machine, but I wonder about the cost of retraining users to use linux.
  • Thanks again to all for the support.

    Yes, we (Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse) do in
    fact have some people who read Slashdot, albeit we
    don't have much time so we're a bit behind (hey,
    we've got to get this project rolling you know).
    In any case it's a great E-zine.

    At the bottom I'll give an address whereby you
    can address further queries, but first I'd like
    to make a few comments:

    1) BCFW is in fact going to use Linux at the
    front end where people can see it. At first
    we're simply using it to replace X terminals
    in the stores and in our corporate offices.
    Later we're going to use it as the main
    processor in the stores (actually using the
    Linux X-Terms as redundant servers). We
    also may use it for kiosks for some projects
    coming up (so real users may well see it).
    We'd love to use it for POS terminals but it
    isn't cheap to replace the older boxes we
    have that are frankly functioning just fine.
    As we migrate to more powerful platforms
    you may see Linux for those applications.

    2) We choose Linux because not only because it
    was cheap, but because it was open. We've
    long been proponents of open systems and open
    standards. We've been using TCP/IP, RPC, NFS,
    etc. for over 10 years. We started out with
    Sun and Sequent Unix and never looked back and
    it's saved us lots of money and development
    time. We currently have no legacy mainframes
    to support and we want to keep it that way.

    We also don't love Microsoft's tactics in
    the marketplace. That's not however to say we
    don't use their products. We have to be
    realistic and they do make some good products
    that are hard to replace. We frankly believe
    in using the right tool for the right job
    and therefor we don't think it's healthy to
    turn our backs on any products. On the other
    hand, for reasons the readers here are well
    aware, most of our systems engineers
    prefer Unix and Linux.

    3) Yes, we're interested in getting resumes for
    people who are "Linux Gurus". We run lean and
    fast so there aren't a lot of openings but
    if you're interested send to the address below.
    We're busy so it may take a little while to

    4) Yes, we are the unfortunate company with the
    dog problem. It was a horrible accidental
    purchase and sale to which everyone I've met
    in the company feels terrible about. We've done
    everything in our power to correct the mistake
    and we have worked closely with the Humane
    Society to make things better. We can only ask
    that you all forgive us. Believe me, most of
    the people here have dogs and absolutely none
    would had purposefully sold those jackets.

    5) No, I don't think we can claim credit for
    being the first retailer to use Linux and I
    don't think anyone in our company intended to
    sound that way. We are however one of the first
    large retailers in the US to do so.

    6) We don't think Linux will be that much of a
    learning curve because:

    a) We've been using diverse front ends for
    some time so our users are pretty savy (or
    is that shell shocked?). ;-)
    b) We're probably going to use the AnotherLevel
    Win 95 emulation. We figure the largest
    part of our end users will be familiar
    (comfortable) with this look and feel.

    Thats it. You may contact me with more questions or resumes at:

    Matt Fahrner
    Manager of Netorking

    Because I haven't put this through our PR
    department I'm obliged to indicate that this
    letter does not necessary reflect the view of
    Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse, its management,
    or it affiliates and is strictly "my personal
    opinion". You can take that whatever way you want.
    Note that because we're still in development any
    or all of what I discussed here may change, but
    I wouldn't bet on it.
  • As a sort of humorous aside, we may well track the
    project to roll this (Linux) out using Microsoft
    Project. Oh well.... ;-)
  • The store that sold Dogs Fur Coats last fall....

  • by MrT ( 9608 )
    Cool dude, nice work. Can you give us any details about the implementation?
  • "I would rather choose to have my leg bitten off than to buy NT", DNA Plant Technologies Corp. Sysadmin

    Heh, this sysadmin sounds a tiny bit bitter :)
  • Not likely. They still don't understand why no one has copyrighted breathing air. Just another setback in the 'game' of accumulation.

  • Congratulations to Burlington Coat for breaking away from helpless dependency on Those Who Know What You Need Better Than You Do.

    But it's not only the management who benefit. This escape from software secrecy makes it possible for employees who take an interest in computers to start learning what goes on under the hood, and maybe even suggesting improvements. Under the M$ regime, such curiosity only results in frustration. I can imagine Linux providing someone in a dull job with a here-and-now chance to start learning something valuable and have it appreciated and rewarded on the spot. Linux is good for everybody.
  • by BrianH ( 13460 )
    I've said it before and I'll say it doesn't mean diddly to corporations. When I converted the company I work for over, I didn't care about price, to be honest the final tally for the conversion was just under $90,000. We knew we were going to lose money, but we did it anyway. Why? Source access.

    We wanted to (and did) write a custom GUI tailored specifically to our company's needs, with just the features we required, and certain "features" that can't be found in any OS (like remote keyboard locking...don't ask). When I was initially approached by the higher-ups about locating software that was "better suited to our needs", I immediately suggested Linux. When I explained to them that we could integrate our apps and OS into one stable package they were ecstatic, when I mentioned that it was free I didn't even get a shrug.
  • $$ is what they understand.
  • I saw a Dateline story and found this article [] that confirms it. A Burlington Coat factory sold coats lined with dog fur. An interesting aside, I thought. It's still great news that linux is getting some commercial use. Gives me hope that I'll be able to get a job programming that doesn't involve knowing MFC.

    Also, they call linux shareware!?
  • I'm a big fan of Mont Briac, a sheep's milk blue.

    Any blue cheese fans out there, y'all should try it.

  • We support over 1500 stores running Linux in Sothern Africa. Thats 1500 stores, each running Linux PoSes, a Linux Central environment, etc. The biggest single retailer is 500 stores large. We actually installed over 1000 stores last year.
  • Ummm...Burlington, NJ? :)

    Try for all of their locations.

  • The complete lack of intellect in your post leads me to believe that you are exactly the kind of person who should be drug into the street, beaten with a stick filled with broken windows cd's, have alcohol poured into your seeping wounds, and then be forced to debug microsoft code for 15 days straight. go away, we don't like you.

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead