Comments By Thomas Adams, Mike "Iron" Orr, Heather Stern
[Heather] Reilly Burke is Technical Advisor for a company called Aero Training Products, Inc. (http://www.aerotraining.com)
To Derek Holliday
We have copies of PC-MOS and LanLink available. We also produce LanLink drivers for PC-MOS.
PC-MOS is required to run POS systems with DOS applications. DOSEMU is not good enough to run many (most) of the apps. PC-MOS is file-compatible with DOS systems, but only the November 93 kernel (of PC-MOS) can access 3.5" floppies.
I'd love to replace our PC-MOS applications, but nothing quite measures up yet. Linux is nowhere near being able to do the job (it's way too big, complex, & geeky)! Possibly DR-DOS 8 (coming out in spring 2003 with FAT32) might do the job.
[Thomas] How would you know until you tried? Just because Linux is too big and "geeky" in your eyes; does not mean to say that it couldn't do the job! It's not really logical to say that.
[Iron] DOS programs, however, often access the hardware directly, so it's not surprising DOSEMU can't emulate the environment quite well enough.
[Heather] Thanks for this tip on an old thread; it's not Linux, but since we seem to be the only place that talks about it...
I'm curious about what the problems under DOSEMU + (say) MS-DOS 5.0 are, but unless this is a problem you're trying to solve for yourself, you may not want to bother delving any further.
The buzzword "point of sale" typed into the Freshmeat search index (http://freshmeat.net) yields 7 direct hits, and a category for point of sale containing 42 projects. Well over a year ago I saw one written up in a magazine article (I think it was Linux Journal actually) about a POS system optimized for a pizza place. That's geeky; but the pizzas he was selling are real.
Some of these projects will really be "e-business" (aimed at web based stores, not one where a high school student has to run the register, nor where the machine has a real register to pop the change out of) and a few of them are optimized for a specific kind of shop. But they may do for some people.
Of course we're still trying to move our PC-MOS apps to Linux, but so far, after years of experimenting and coding, we're still running the PC-MOS systems because there's still nothing like them for Point-Of-Sale utility. It's fast and small and entirely bug-free. The last PC-MOS kernel released was November 93 (9 years ago). But it's designed for old hardware (ISA slots, NE2000 ethernet cards, Wyse terminals, and serial printers), and the systems are becoming increasingly difficult to maintain. There's probably still 100,000 PC-MOS users looking for an answer, but the closest thing is probably DR-DOS. Linux is not being maintained by POS geeks, so there's a real shortage of Linux POS tools and solutions.
We've tried disassembling the drivers (we succeeded in cloning the Lan client drivers with new serial numbers!) , but disassembling the entire OS is far too complicated. We've also tried rewriting the DOS apps (in particular, the Shark database). We have its horribly complicated monolithic Microsoft C source code, with chunks of assembler mixed in, but it's still a giant task. The only feasible direction looks like rewriting the Shark compiler in Kylix, but even that is a horrendous prospect. So far, PC-MOS still works (and it's paid for , and the Shark database is still fast and flexible.
We'd really like to hear from any other POS types who are trying to move to Linux.
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