Miskatonic University Press

Linux on POS


Tonight at the supermarket the point-of-sale system wasn’t working—it gave two sad bongs when anyone tried to scan a debit or credit card. The cashier rebooted it (with the classic method of yanking out a cable and sticking it back in) and as it started up I was surprised to see it ran Linux.

Photograph of the POS device booting up: 1

Nice penguin there. Next it showed some COM settings like I haven’t seen in yonks. Terrible photos, I know, but I was in a Loblaws. Don’t judge.

Photograph of the POS device booting up: 2

Power cycling it didn’t help, but they rang me in at the next cash.

Wikipedia informs me that VeriFone “is an American multinational corporation headquartered in San Jose, California that provides technology for electronic payment transactions and value-added services at the point-of-sale” and that what I think is this line of point-of-sale systems “run Embedded Linux and use FST FancyPants and the Opera (browser) for their GUI platform.”

Earlier in the day I bought a bottle of pop from a machine and spent a while musing on the fact that I’d just spent $2.25 for a robot arm to deliver me a bottle of flavoured chemical-water. That’s two bucks too much for the chemicals, but robot arms being deployed widely, that’s something. I wonder what OS the arm runs.