Open Source POS Project

by Phil Hughes

This project is to create an open-source Point of Sale (POS) system. While we are just starting this effort, I envision that it will build a set of tools that can be assembled and customized to address a variety of POS requirements. If we do our job right, VARs will select these tools as the basis of their solutions, and some of us may even go on to be VARs ourselves. In any case, getting VARs to select a Linux-based solution is the goal.

What are the tools I am talking about? There is an amazing array here. On the geek end are drivers for barcode readers, touch screens, IR devices and such. On the business end there will need to be accounting software and reports. In each case we need to identify what is needed, design and build the tool and get it accepted by vendors outside the Linux community--be they hardware manufacturers or service providers such as credit card processors.

Many of these pieces already exist--our effort will be to get them working together and documented. Others will have to be written. Ultimately, we will have a complete tool kit with documentation that can be used to build precisely what the customer wants. This customization ability can be a big win over solutions based on closed-source software.

We have just started a mailing list to discuss the effort. If you want to join, send e-mail to [email protected] and put the line subscribe opos-list in the body of the message.

This project was inspired by some questions on the Free Software Business mailing list run by Russ Nelson. I have many years of experience in embedded systems with a few years developing POS systems for the fueling and convenience store market. Dan Wilder, also on the SSC team has over 15 years of experience in POS systems. We want to bring our expertise to this Linux-based effort.

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