Novell In Retail


I’m currently in the process of trying to examine solutions for the retail market. So I decided to start a blog to get some help and hopefully to help others who find themselves in my position one day.

I need some help wrapping my head around the hardware/software stack. I’ll try to explain where I am and where I need to go.

Where I Am

I’m an IT consultant with an open source, Java, and Linux background. I know software, but I don’t know the retail software stack. I have a general idea of what retail hardware includes (eg. admin servers, branch servers, POS terminals, kiosks), but don’t know how it all fits together.

I’ve been assigned to examine and recommend an complete retail solution with a focus on POS and mobile commerce. Plus I have a few ideas for what some potential clients may find of benefit in store (eg. cutting long lines, self service kiosks for price checks, product search etc.).

Where I Need To Go

I think I need to know more about retail hardware. Particularly, how hardware agnostic are retail software solutions? Eg. I notice SUSE and Oracle seem to have some form of relationship and Oracle and IBM also have a relationship. What if I want to deploy on NCR hardware that run SUSE Enterprise Linux POS (SELPOS)? By the way, where is SELPOS 10? I also know that IBM has an offering (IRES) that runs on SELPOS. All of these interesting business relationships are a bit confusing to me, but I do know that open standards such as JavaPOS are what give so many choices. Unfortunately, for a newcomer such as myself its all a bit overwhelming.

Retail software solutions is a new area for me. So perhaps what I need to do first is familiarize myself with how retail stores work and how software fits into the whole retail process.

I would also like to differentiate my company’s offering by capitalizing on the cost, reliability, and remote support benefits of a Linux platform solution.

I’m open to suggestion on where to start with all of this.

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  • anonymous says:

    I design, develop and maintain over 14,000 PoS systems throughout the world as well as the supporting infrastructure. I support multiple PoS devices. Our company is faced with PCI, SOX and HIPAA compliance regulations so the environment is encrypted, locked down and protected. I have a mixture of stores that are wireless, dial-up, frame and dsl. We have approximately 6000 PoS systems on Linux using a Java PoS application, the other PoS systems are on windows using the same Java PoS app. We are in the process of converting off of windows onto Linux as well as incorporating virtual and thin client solutions. We use external and internal (usb) automated build processes. Our stores consist of a small footprint of PoS systems, kiosk, etc to a large footprint including media, back office functionality, etc. Our supporting infrastructure includes dns/dhcp, key servers, web service layer using jboss, oracle, zenworks linux management, asset tracking, email, autoyast, proxy, monitoring, etc. We utilize Novell products, open source products and home grown solutions. Our PoS application is home grown as well as the asset tracking/store customization.

    There are several large players with PoS solutions available, it really just depends on the companies needs. We found that the solutions didn’t meet all of our business rules or have the security/lock down we required of the operating system. Those solutions are customizable, however by the time we customize, it was in our best interest to develop our own application and locked down operating system. That decision and the infrastructure we implemented was a huge cost savings for us!


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