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Linux Journal: Linux in the Retail Market

Sep 25, 2003, 04:00 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Phil Hughes)

"In a past life, I worked on embedded systems for the retail market. These systems used all custom software, with a lot of custom hardware tossed in as well. This experience tuned me into the custom software/hardware market, and I continue to read about what is happening in it. In fact, the September 2003 issue of Retail Systems Reseller is the inspiration for this article.

"Over the past few years, Retail Systems Reseller and other industry magazines have tended to support proprietary solutions, whether they were constructed in-house or built on top of Microsoft operating systems. The best explanation for their support is that older solutions tended to be in-house proprietary or built on top of a small real-time kernel. This situation was necessary, because a lot of functionality had to be crammed into a slow CPU with limited RAM.

"As inexpensive CPUs became faster and RAM became larger, purchasing more software became cost-effective, because there now was space and speed to run less optimal solutions. In return, device drivers no longer had to be written for many common peripherals. The downside, of course, is the OS now had to be treated as a black box; previously, it was code that could be viewed and modified as needed..."

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