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Re: Point of Sale Terminal (ssh w/ X Forwarding)

Wed Aug 17, 2011 11:57 pm

I would like to use the Raspberry Pi as an X server, attaching it to the back of any touchscreen display to make it a touchscreen terminal using ssh with X Forwarding and FreeNX. It would the provide the users with a complete point of sale solution for any hospitality enterprise. The Raspberry Pi running Debian and the X server would then be able to rely on the processing power and storage of any host running the point of sale client application. Large numbers of users connected to the client app would automatically be working collaboratively, either on a LAN, on a WAN, or across the Internet. I have two associates in the London area already providing this software and point of sale expert services to several restaurants in the London area and we would heartily welcome the ability to build touchscreen point of sale terminals with the Raspberry Pi running little more than the X server.

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liz
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Re: Point of Sale Terminal (ssh w/ X Forwarding)

Thu Aug 18, 2011 1:08 am

Oh, that's a nice application, and it's one I hadn't considered at all. A bit shameful, when you consider I have an acquaintance who tried to set up a POS business for restaurants about eight years ago in London and didn't succeed, ultimately because the hardware (not to mention the software) was swingeingly expensive. It'd be great if you could post here about your progress.
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Re: Point of Sale Terminal (ssh w/ X Forwarding)

Thu Aug 18, 2011 2:23 am

I don't have a Raspberry Pi, but I can guarantee you that if it has the X server and SSH that it needs nothing more than the IP address where the point of sale client application is running to turn any touchscreen display into a point of sale terminal. The other hardware components include things like a Wireless Access Point, WiFi receipt printers, cash drawers attached to these receipt printers, WiFi kitchen printers and WiFi credit/debit card terminals. There are some very affordable touchscreen displays these days; we've obtained some out of China for about 130 quid. There's absolutely no need to buy, indeed no point in buying, any hardware built specifically for point of sale. That is merely a perversion that some of the copycat point of sale companies engage in to lock people into their software. Look at this $250 touchscreen, for example. http://www.amazon.com/PX2230MW.....B003B47BZO Add a Raspberry Pi to the back of that, plus a printer and cash drawer and you are in business. You could have people with tablets taking orders at the table, too, and all you have to do is give each tablet the IP address where the client application is running. It can be local or in the metro area or anywhere on the Internet. The client app was originally designed, and runs, in less than 8 Mb, on a 67 Mhz processor, and it would certainly run fine on the Raspberry Pi if necessary. The graphics are embedded in the source code so it's a very responsive GUI, written directly to the Xlib primitives for speed. There are several locations in West London and Reading I can send you to if you'd like to see this software in use, including on tablets.

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ukscone
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Re: Point of Sale Terminal (ssh w/ X Forwarding)

Thu Aug 18, 2011 2:40 am

A few years ago I outfitted a few local diners and pizza places with diamond touch pos system and over the years i've ended up replacing all the s/w with my own and adding wifi enabled pda's and clamshells as order entry terminals. it's about time for an upgrade of the server hardware so i might take a look at replacing the server in each of the locations with a R-Pi. it'd definatly be more cost effective than a $300 dell

Svartalf
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Re: Point of Sale Terminal (ssh w/ X Forwarding)

Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:53 pm

Quote from liz on August 18, 2011, 02:08
Oh, that's a nice application, and it's one I hadn't considered at all. A bit shameful, when you consider I have an acquaintance who tried to set up a POS business for restaurants about eight years ago in London and didn't succeed, ultimately because the hardware (not to mention the software) was swingeingly expensive. It'd be great if you could post here about your progress.

Heh... Just wait and see what I've got in mind. :-D

As it stands, there's some GEMS in this part of the Forum. If even half of them see fruition, you're going to have quite a bit to foster all sorts of Computer Science education by example with this board.

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liz
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Re: Point of Sale Terminal (ssh w/ X Forwarding)

Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:13 pm

Good - that's exactly what we're aiming for! :)
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Re: Point of Sale Terminal (ssh w/ X Forwarding)

Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:09 am

Liz, I forgot to mention that ViewTouch was compiled on ARM several years ago and ran quite nicely. The ARM chip in Raspberry Pi is more advanced than what was available then, of course, so whether your device is being used to run the app or whether it's simply being used as a terminal, it has plenty of power to be used in either role.

Another thing that I would like you to realize is that although the ViewTouch widgets created so far have been created to make the software specifically useful in the point of sale context there is every bit as much capability in them to be made specifically useful in the education context. I would be glad to help you use ViewTouch as a touchscreen widget framework to build educational software, too. The approach we would use is a top-down approach; first users and developers create the pages and buttons in the app, as a sort of not-yet-functional prototype, then the code can be written in any language or script to add the appropriate functionality to the buttons. Those who write that code or scripts don't actually have to know what the GUI looks like; they only need to make sure that when the button is touched that it does what the user needs it to do.

I very much believe that the biggest value in the Raspberry Pi is its ability to turn a touchscreen display into a touchscreen graphics terminal - that way the software the users have available to them, and the processing power, and the storage, is not in any sense even limited to the Raspberry Pi itself, because as an X Server the Raspberry Pi only has one job to do - to give the users an individual remote display/input session to a centralized app environment. This makes workgroup or educational group participation a breeze and means that no individual ever needs to worry about the management of their terminal or any of the limitations that the Pi might have. Each user would, because of the Pi, experience all of the benefits of the remote host and be able to work or play together with everyone else also connected to it.

mahin
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Re: Point of Sale Terminal (ssh w/ X Forwarding)

Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:00 pm

Disclaimer first. I do not have access to Raspberry Pi yet. My views are based upon prior efforts on similar processors and my interest in Raspberry Pi has been for its potential use with Debian-Edu / Skolelinux. At present there is no specific built of Skolelinux/Debian Edu for Raspberry Pi out of the box but remember Debian Edu is 100% compatible with Main Debian.

If Ubuntu is working then Debain will also work [ Ubuntu is based upon Debian, there is some divergence but not at base ] with Debian FreeNX, and x server will work or at least we will make sure it work's out of the box for Skolelinux once we get our hands on Raspberry Pi box. If we have to make any change it will go upstream to Debian also. BTW do not be turned off with Skolelinux name it is sub project of Debian with special selection of software for Education, one can simply change the selection of applications and use it for small / medium size business including your POS. All one need to do is simply re-master Skolelinux for Raspberry Pi once it is available or use Debian.

I have not seen your POS application so can not comment but take a look at http://www.kassanova.org , http://www.edgeerp.org and http://www.weberp.org all will work with Raspberry Pi beside http://www.wuala.com and http://www.spideroak.com for back up.

Your perception of biggest value of Raspberry Pi is correct in the context of developed Economy while for developing world being portable with less power need have more value over Power guzzling Free Systems donated which can not be used due to Power shortage or there is simply no Power. It is easy to provide power for Raspberry Pi then a PIV. Looks like we have min 100 days more to go before we can plan for the date on which to have test units.

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Re: Point of Sale Terminal (ssh w/ X Forwarding)

Sun Aug 21, 2011 11:35 pm

Mahin, I have a great respect for what you and the team have created with Debian EDU/Skolelinux and at kassanova.org. I have sent you a private message and I ask you to get in touch with me on Skype at ViewTouch_POS. We who write collaborative software in any vertical market have long needed a way to create zero administration user seats across the LAN and the Internet at the lowest possible hardware cost and the Raspberry Pi is literally a dream come true for us. Thanks for the links above and I look forward to corresponding with you.

David Calvo
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Re: Point of Sale Terminal (ssh w/ X Forwarding)

Mon Aug 22, 2011 2:55 am

This project, sincerely, a dream.
I do not want to be negative. But…
Since drivers would become of the ticket's printers , numerical displays, WIFI, ...?
It would not be necessary to re-compiler in ARM?
The manufacturer usually does not provide the source code, some solution?
Excuse my poor English

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Re: Point of Sale Terminal (ssh w/ X Forwarding)

Mon Aug 22, 2011 9:37 am

I am not sure what you are trying to say, David.
Would you please try again to state your concerns? I would like to assure you that this all will work very nicely using the Raspberry Pi as long as it runs the X Server. The only job the Raspberry Pi needs to do here is to provide the user with the graphical portion of the application. Everything else is taken care of (i.e. done) by the other hardware components also attached to the network and by the remote instance of the client application. All the Raspberry Pi needs to know, and to do, is to allow the remote client application to send it drawing commands and to execute those drawing commands. This client application was developed and worked very nicely back when X terminal processors were running at 33 Mhz and only 2 Mb of RAM was available so you can be sure that a Raspberry Pi running at 700 Mhz with 256 Mb of RAM is more than adequate.
What is your native language?

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abishur
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Re: Point of Sale Terminal (ssh w/ X Forwarding)

Mon Aug 22, 2011 12:43 pm

David (who I believe said he was from Spain in the intro thread so I'm guessing his native language is Spanish) mentioned a similar concern in another thread. His basic worry is that there will be a need to recompile every driver for an ARM environment and he wants to know how you will surmount this issue. The overall answer (that was stated in the other thread) is that by far and large the necessary drivers, or at least general purpose compatible drivers, will already be in the ARM version of Linux and this won't end up being an issue.
Dear forum: Play nice ;-)

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Re: Point of Sale Terminal (ssh w/ X Forwarding)

Mon Aug 22, 2011 3:55 pm

hi, yes. I'm from Spain. My English is awful. :( Forgive Me all.
In this post there is more information
http://www.raspberrypi.org/?pa.....#038;t=205

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Re: Point of Sale Terminal (ssh w/ X Forwarding)

Mon Aug 22, 2011 7:15 pm

David, there is no need to apologize for English not being your native language. Your ability to express your thoughts with English is good enough for a discussion with anyone!
It seems to me that you are unfamiliar with the way things are done when devices are attached to the network instead of being attached to a PC. In my opinion we are past the point where we should be thinking about attaching anything to a PC and we should, instead, be attaching things to the network. Attach printers to the network. Attach displays to the network. Attach storage devices to the network. Attach processors and the software running on them, especially application software, to the network. Attach EVERYTHING to the network.
How do we attach a display to the network? Well, that's what the X Server software does for the Raspberry Pi; it attaches the display to the network. How do we attach an application to the network? Well, by writing it in a certain fashion. That is what ViewTouch does/is. It is an application framework designed for network computing, for use by many users in many locations at one time, all connected by either the local network or by the Internet.

TechColab
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Re: Point of Sale Terminal (ssh w/ X Forwarding)

Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:08 pm

Non-POS person making wild speculation (out of the box thinking?):

The price of a touch-screen seems a very high proportion of system cost.

The market of cheap <$250 tablets is exploding, and a tablet is a much more finished looking device than touch-screen + mount + box of RPi.

So why not use multipe cheap tablets for taking orders etc. with a client side app (intranet web page / vnc?) and talking over WiFi to the RPi as a central server with till-draw, printer etc.  The RPi could then be head-less or use a cheap non-touch monitor for displaying info only.

Trikkitt
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Re: Point of Sale Terminal (ssh w/ X Forwarding)

Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:46 am

I think the question is what touch screens that are affordable will have compatible drivers on the RPi?

If anyone manages to test some touch screens and confirm they work please let us all know!

I want to build a members terminal it needs a touch screen, and the ability to read barcodes, iButtons and RFID cards.... these need to be local to the RPi as making these devices wifi negates the cost benefits I'm trying to achieve...  All need some kind of driver to support them on the RPi.

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Re: Point of Sale Terminal (ssh w/ X Forwarding)

Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:30 am

In general in linux most drivers ship as part of the kernel and even if they don't drivers for USB devices should be pretty portable between architectures. Still it is a good idea to test your devices on arm linux before committing to anything.

If you want to start experimenting with linux on arm before you get your first Pi i'd suggest picking up the beagleboard XM. It's a bit higher spec than the Pi and a lot more expensive but still it should be fine to get going on.

vallidor
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Re: Point of Sale Terminal (ssh w/ X Forwarding)

Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:10 am

In particular I intend on using RPis as point-of-sale terminals.

For my store, I have a keyboard, mouse, touchscreen, and printer attached via USB.  The printer then has a 6-pin connector (similar to RJ11, not sure the specification) to the cash drawer to allow opening it to exchange cash.

Optionally, I have a swipe/chip reader and pinpad combination (also USB) but nowadays I use a standalone unit.

The POS software itself (PiratePOS) requires only Qt and its prerequisites (Qtonpi should work), and for the printer usblp support which should come standard anyhow.  If I can get Phonon to work, I will also get a chime if a product is already on a ticket or is out of stock.

I'm already confident for success mostly because I run it on an ARM Android tablet for doing inventory and receiving freight (PO Consolidation).

Once I have it up and running, I'll naturally post action shots!

trekkypj
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Re: Point of Sale Terminal (ssh w/ X Forwarding)

Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:22 pm

I certainly would be interested in seeing this idea take off. One possible application of this would be vehicle or handheld-based POS systems.

I am not a programmer or an engineer, by the way, (though in time hopefully the Raspberry Pi will help change this)  so bear with me.

Pi is geared for Linux which by its nature is an open platform, right? Very well.

You run a business which involves the delivery of a service. Maybe it's a courier service, or a mail order business. Perhaps it is that you run a successful food stall at markets where you are in a different location every day. Maybe there are a few of you doing a similar job in a shared business at different locations. Or maybe you travel long distances to business/game/fan conventions and you are looking to limit the amount of equipment to bring to record your sales.

To ensure that you have ready access to stock control and takings in cash and by card, you set up a server or a couple of servers. These servers create the backbone of the POS system, handling things like doing the actual card processing and recording the sales. Maybe it might even do sophisticated things like database management and interpreting data fed to it from devices hooked up to remote terminals.

Now, let's look at the Raspberry Pi. It's an inexpensive piece of kit that is, nonetheless, very powerful for its price. You can hook up a number of devices with a USB hub, from a camera to read QR codes to a merchant terminal to accept cards. It runs Linux so it can easily interface with the server and (with some community-supplied know-how) you can easily make it secure.

The challenge is in integrating it all together. You need a clear idea of the things you want to do, and focus on the features and accessability and ease of use in that order.

The problem with using a tablet or phone? Messy and usually incomplete, plus you're tied in to often closed commercial systems of development. Plus, they break easily.

PCs or laptops are bulky and expensive. Plus they break easily. Plus they need mains power or regular charging.

Dedicated handheld POS devices commercially available for this function are pricey and are difficult to specialise to a specific function. You'd have to work around its limitations. Plus you often have to pay even more for tech support.

Raspberry Pi + 3G dongle + commonly available input devices + touchscreen (vehicle-mounted or in a  custom built case) + specifically written open source terminal and server software = inexpensive POS?

Now I'm not saying it's the cheapest option. You won't get a POS made for under £50. But if you are building your own POS system, and you're buying the parts off the shelf and you want to design it to fit your specific needs, it may be an option.

And of course, there's the challenge of doing it to see if it can be done. That's probably the best reason of all.

If you guys come up with something, I'll happily use it and help any way I can within the limits of my abilities.

welshblob
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Re: Point of Sale Terminal (ssh w/ X Forwarding)

Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:16 pm

TechColab said:


Non-POS person making wild speculation (out of the box thinking?):

The price of a touch-screen seems a very high proportion of system cost.

The market of cheap <$250 tablets is exploding, and a tablet is a much more finished looking device than touch-screen + mount + box of RPi.

So why not use multipe cheap tablets for taking orders etc. with a client side app (intranet web page / vnc?) and talking over WiFi to the RPi as a central server with till-draw, printer etc.  The RPi could then be head-less or use a cheap non-touch monitor for displaying info only.


I tend to agree with your idea although I'm another Non-POS person. There are a generation of 7" tablets coming out now for <$100 which would be an ideal for input devices with the right android app and almost throwaway at that price point. They could do with being ruggedised but maybe that just needs the right case or mount. An Rpi as the backend till and printer controller sounds like a good idea too.

Rob

vallidor
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Re: Point of Sale Terminal (ssh w/ X Forwarding)

Tue Apr 03, 2012 11:38 pm

Don't forget the environmental benefits; some stores have ancient PCs running 400~700 watt power supplies, and a lot of them leave these on 24/7, a terrible waste of energy.

Even the database backend could run on a Pi with USB raid storage attached to it, to a certain capacity.

negrotico19
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Re: Point of Sale Terminal (ssh w/ X Forwarding)

Tue Jul 04, 2017 6:00 pm

@vallidator
Your set up sounds very cool. I am with something similar but I am facing an issue right now.

My printers are currently connected via USB but I need some of them in a long distance, +25 meters long. I though I will use an USB-RJ11 adapter and connect the raspberry to the printer (this one has some RJ11 port in the back), but now I think it may not work due to the protocol itself, timeouts and USB architecture limitations.

What could be a good idea to get a POS printer work in long distance with a Raspberry Pi 3? :?:

ViewTouch
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Re: Point of Sale Terminal (ssh w/ X Forwarding)

Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:01 pm

Oh my gosh I can't believe it is 6 years later! I am quite surprised to see so many responses here. Well, For about two years now I have been providing ViewTouch Point of Sale on the RPi to my customers. In 2014 I put the source code on github and the whole think has been a tremendous success. I've been in the point of sale game/business for 40 years now, and I'm still looking to make improvements in the features and usefulness of it all. When the RPi Zero W was released I used it as the computer to run multiple remote display/input sessions of ViewTouch point of sale and it works fabulously well. Acer's 21" touchscreen has an integrated USB hub so the fact that the Pi Zero W has only the one USB port is not a problem at all. In such a configuration the program runs only on the Model 3 and the terminals with Zero W only need to run the X Server. The throughput on the WiFi is very easily capable of feeding the Zero W the information it needs to keep its remote display quite handily. You'd think it's a Model 3 running every display and, well, it is! I have a complete RPi PoS image available for download from my web site at ViewTouch and would like to encourage everyone who wants to see their restaurant running on a Pi Model 3 and terminals running on a Pi Zero W to visit my web site, http://www.viewtouch.com and to get in touch with me. Have no doubt whatsoever that a RPi Model 3 is all you need for a very sophisticated and very snappy PoS system in any restaurant, bar, or pub, no matter how many displays you need there. Oh, by the way, you can also use Android tablets for terminals!

cronos45
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Re: Point of Sale Terminal (ssh w/ X Forwarding)

Thu Aug 23, 2018 3:41 am

Can it connect to thermal printers?

ViewTouch wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:01 pm
Oh my gosh I can't believe it is 6 years later! I am quite surprised to see so many responses here. Well, For about two years now I have been providing ViewTouch Point of Sale on the RPi to my customers. In 2014 I put the source code on github and the whole think has been a tremendous success. I've been in the point of sale game/business for 40 years now, and I'm still looking to make improvements in the features and usefulness of it all. When the RPi Zero W was released I used it as the computer to run multiple remote display/input sessions of ViewTouch point of sale and it works fabulously well. Acer's 21" touchscreen has an integrated USB hub so the fact that the Pi Zero W has only the one USB port is not a problem at all. In such a configuration the program runs only on the Model 3 and the terminals with Zero W only need to run the X Server. The throughput on the WiFi is very easily capable of feeding the Zero W the information it needs to keep its remote display quite handily. You'd think it's a Model 3 running every display and, well, it is! I have a complete RPi PoS image available for download from my web site at ViewTouch and would like to encourage everyone who wants to see their restaurant running on a Pi Model 3 and terminals running on a Pi Zero W to visit my web site, http://www.viewtouch.com and to get in touch with me. Have no doubt whatsoever that a RPi Model 3 is all you need for a very sophisticated and very snappy PoS system in any restaurant, bar, or pub, no matter how many displays you need there. Oh, by the way, you can also use Android tablets for terminals!

negrotico19
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Re: Point of Sale Terminal (ssh w/ X Forwarding)

Tue Aug 28, 2018 4:18 am

Yes, you can do it.
cronos45 wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 3:41 am
Can it connect to thermal printers?

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