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Point-of-sale device runs Linux from flash

Nov 14, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

One of the first POS (point-of-sale) equipment vendors to adopt Linux will now become one of the first to offer solid-state storage. Wincor Nixdorf's new X-Series, due in January, will be offered with an Msystems mModule uDOC embedded flash disk.

A 30 year veteran of the retail equipment market, Wincor Nixdorf began offering POS devices based on Red Hat Linux in the year 2000. The company's Linux-based “Beetle” POS device (early versions pictured above and at left) soon attracted some high-volume customers, including Home Depot and the Papa John's pizza chain.

Wincor Nixdorf's new Beetle X-Series devices will use cool-running Celeron M processors, and dust-proof, passively cooled enclosures. An Msystems mModule uDOC will be positioned as an optional upgrade aimed at ensuring added durability and longevity.

Wincor Nixdorf says that when used with Msystems's TrueFFS filesystem, uDOC flash disks are good for five million write/delete cycles per cell — “equivalent to long-term use of over ten years,” the POS device vendor says.

For its part, Msystems claims the MModule uDOC/TrueFFS combo to have an MTBF (meantime between failure) of over four million operating hours — or more than 456 years, 219 days (but who's counting).

Winfried Nolte, marketing product manager at Wincor Nixdorf, stated, “We know what is required in terms of system availability, data security, and integrity, product continuity, and low operating costs. We have confidently chosen msystems' mModule uDOC as our solid state offering after rigorous testing, including repeated transactions equivalent to 20 years in the field.”

Msystems, acquired by rival SanDisk in July, has long been a pioneer in the flash market, inventing “DiskOnChip” and uDiskOnChip technologies. Back around 2000, it came out with an embedded flash disk in a pen form factor, with a USB interface — the world's first USB storage device.


The X-Series Beetle POS devices are expected to ship early next year, with a variety of embedded OS options, including Linux. In the past, Wincor Nixdorf's Beetle terminals have supported a Linux-based POS OS from Novell.

The Msystems mModule uDOC flash disks are available now, with support for Linux, Windows XP Embedded, XP Pro, WEPOS, and Windows CE.

Additionally, uDOC devices and the TrueFFS filesystem recently gained open source Linux drivers, vastly simplifying their use in Linux-based embedded products.

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