In our company we have around 80 POS (point of sale) work stations, All of them using Wndows OS (many versions from Win98 to Vista) until now I haven't had problems with BSA, but I know that lot of stations are running with proper licences for the OS, another thing that I am considering that our business in next few years is going to expand around 30 to 40 %. Now I am planing to try to slowly move my POS system to Linux and low costs OS's so we can save portentous amount of money. Most of hardware is coming from IBM and Lenovo. My question is:

Can someone advise me what version of Linux and POS Software I should looking for ?

Is there an attested combination for POS in retail of these two things.

I saw that one competng retail chain was using Redhat OS and some Java POS software.

  • 2
    I am in love with the phrase "portentous amount of money". – Evan Anderson Jul 16 '09 at 22:02

I've looked on and off over the years and many of the more promising linux-based POS systems seem to have fizzled out. It looks like the current contenders are:

  • posterita - web-based you can do a local install or a hosted install requires firefox
  • Openbravo POS - Java-based, it appears to be platform-independent
  • opentaps - Java, looks to be more of a CRM/ERP solution

I think you should be fine with Ubuntu or if you want a service contract Red Hat or SUSE. Of course I would definitely keep in mind all commercial implementations, as support contracts can be a particularly important factor for businesses. I also second Ward's suggestion to check out trade shows, and talk to vendors and bring the employee's who use the current POS and use the software. Crappy software is worse than expensive software.


My experience (looking at POS systems for a friend's small business over the past couple years ago) is that there's a fair amount of activity in this area, but not very much "free" stuff that the OP seems to be looking for. There are companies that build their POS systems on top of Linux, but they make their money selling the system and the support. Most of the time they prefer to sell the hardware, too.

  1. Go to trade shows for your industry. The ones I went to were for coffee shops and there were always a bunch of POS vendors there. Even last year, with the economy going down, there were 6 or 7.
  2. Google is still your friend: linux pos systems

There is an emergence of Linux+Webapp POS systems.

You could look into this, you can lower your machine costs and outsource the webapp to a company using economies of scale to reduce your costs.


You need a suitable version of Linux underneath. Have a look at Ubuntu Netbook Remix which uses a "one application gets the whole screen at the time" approach.

I do not have suggestions for POS software, but Ubuntu is a well supported Linux dialect.


Check out Apple options for POS. A cheap off-lease iMac, a cash drawer and software like Checkout makes for an attractive and effective POS system.

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