posted by janrinok on Monday March 24 2014, @04:43PM
from the you-know-it-makes-sense dept.
from the you-know-it-makes-sense dept.
Sir Finkus writes:
"As Microsoft begins to end support for Windows XP, many ATM operators are investigating Linux as an alternative. Microsoft will no longer provide updates for the operating system, which currently powers nearly 95% of the world's ATMs.
Operators say that they'd like to be able to upgrade their machines and operating system at the same time. They are also hampered by the high cost of upgrading machines and regulatory requirements. With the lifetime of a typical ATM being 10-15 years, companies would value more flexible upgrade schedules."
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ATM Operators Eye Linux as Windows XP Support Ends | Log In/Create an Account | Top | 21 comments | Search Discussion
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(Score: 1) by DuganCent on Monday March 24 2014, @04:58PM
They still use OS/2 with Hercules screens. Works fine, though.
(Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Monday March 24 2014, @05:36PM
Are they in the USA? They're likely in violation of the ADA. I read that one reason banks moved to newer XP-based ATMs is because they support accessibility requirements for disabled people as required by the ADA, which the older OS/2-based ATMs could not support.
(Score: 5, Funny) by LaminatorX on Monday March 24 2014, @05:03PM
Could this be the year of Linux on the ATM?
(Score: 4, Insightful) by Nerdfest on Monday March 24 2014, @05:10PM
It's not just upgrades, but patches that should concern them. Not only do they not have the source (generally), but they are at the mercy of Microsoft to patch errors, or even report them when Microsoft finds them themselves. In general, XP was overkill for what these machines were required to do any way. If you want to reduce your attack service, only implement the features you really need. I think Linux has a much better ability to do that.
... the new features will likely rarely be required)
- Reviewable source
- Install only what's required
- Upgrade only when you want (or never
- Patch quickly
- No licencing fees
(Score: 1) by youngatheart on Tuesday March 25 2014, @12:57AM
I think you mean attack surface, but if I'm wrong, please correct me, I could stand to learn something.
You have a lot of good points and I agree with them, but there are a lot more programmers selling software for Microsoft. I'm surprised ATM vendors aren't trying to license server 2012 (or 2008) since you can install Core. With Hyper-V 2012 Server, you get a free server with a minimal attack surface that will run an awful lot of Windows programs without any modification and probably a lot more with minimal work.
I'm kind of stuck with a lot of Windows boxes to support and only so many could be replaced by Linux. One of the things I have done is migrate our virtualization to Hyper-V 2012 server and I've been pleased with the results. I didn't do it because it was free, although I consider that a bonus, I did it because it cuts down on the necessary support patches by a large amount.
(Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Tuesday March 25 2014, @03:11AM
Correct re "attack surface". The thing is, these people don't need Windows programs, they need a minimal UI and some network and custom hardware drivers, all of which tend to be easier under Linux. They don't need virtualization (that has its own upgrade cycle from Microsoft), they need close to the metal minimal solutions.
(Score: 1) by youngatheart on Wednesday March 26 2014, @01:22AM
I really don't want to advocate for a Microsoft solution. There are plenty of good reasons why it's not optimal.
Still, I'm going to pretend for a few moments that I actually want to defend the idea. Close to the metal minimal solutions are fragile, because hardware changes and developing your own OS requires a diligence to constant ongoing development, research and testing. It's practically always better to use the work already existing than to roll your own solution from the metal up. You can do so with a kernel from Linux or Windows or Unix and get a platform you can reliably develop for without having to depend on your own more limited resources.
When it comes to that layer of software that communicates with the hardware, it doesn't matter which of the three you choose for the purposes of reliability and security within sane limits so long as you really do use a minimum of that platform. The kernel of any of the three and the drivers developed for it are likely to be as safe as you can ask for but all are going to need some kind of upgrade since an OS is never without security patches. By choosing a minimal system, you eliminate most of the attack vectors, which is in line with your original point.
Deciding which one suits your needs best really boils down to what developers you're hiring and what kind of software you need to support. I like Xen and Hyper-V because I know them well. You can run an awful lot of software on those systems directly without needing to virtualize a traditional OS. They're minimal by nature. They're supported. They're stable. Sure, I'd rather develop on a Linux Xen system, but I'd rather pay for development on Hyper-V because there are more and cheaper development teams already available.
Do they need Windows solutions? Of course not, but it may be cheaper. Note that I wasn't suggesting Windows though, Hyper-V 2012 core doesn't come with Windows, since Windows Hyper-V is a non-free and much more complex system. Hyper-V is a minimal, stable, supported, non-Windows option that supports inexpensive development. If you'd rather develop in Linux, then Hyper-V will support Linux installs, as minimal or complex as you like. I know, I admin several of them.
What is really cool is being able to tell the CEO that some Windows servers are getting old and need replaced, but that you've already got a free, stable, supported Linux system in line to replace it, already running and being tested on the same hardware and at no additional cost.
(Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Monday March 24 2014, @05:13PM
If they had any balls they would just auto boot linux into a c3270 emulator connecting back to the mothership. That would be a UI I could get behind. Why yes I have run the turnkey MVS system at home and connected many terms via c3270. Kind of like reliving my "youth".
I'm not entirely kidding either, assuming the keypad emulates a numberpad the I suppose the moneyspitter emulates a printer, so just log into the mainframe with numeric username from the swiper (no swiping!) and enter your pin as your password and you're into a CICS menu.
It would be like an intelligence test for the users, you must be this smart to get cash to buy drugs.
(Score: 2) by TK on Monday March 24 2014, @06:35PM
Smart dealers would include ATM instructions with free samples.
The fleas have smaller fleas, upon their backs to bite them, and those fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum
(Score: 5, Insightful) by fishybell on Monday March 24 2014, @05:19PM
Hopefully they don't treat linux like a magic-security-wand. While out of the box linux may be more secure than Windows (and definitely more secure than XP), it won't stop them from having default passwords, unverified communications over the modem (like many do now), or stop them from doing all sorts of security faux-pas like auto-run, no certificate verification, etc.
The lack of bullet proof security on current ATMs is not just due to XP.
(Score: 4, Insightful) by Covalent on Monday March 24 2014, @05:34PM
Software is no longer supported, new types of exploits are discovered, hardware is reverse engineered...
Suck it up and replace your ATMs. You should have known this was going to happen, because it always happens. Oh, and by the way, your new ATMs will probably last about 10 years.
You can't rationally argue somebody out of a position they didn't rationally get into.
(Score: 1) by Tork on Monday March 24 2014, @05:59PM
I don't understand why this is some sort of surprise. Surely when they started this deal with Microsoft they had a fair idea that they were going to have to upgrade Windows and pay money for it. Why they didn't go with the approach where they'd actually have the source code to work from... well that's beyond me.
I bet there's a bunch of software architects saying "SEE I TOLD YOU!!!" Heh.
Slashdolt Logic: "25 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
(Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Monday March 24 2014, @06:05PM
I would imagine they're paying significant support fees as well. As I keep telling people when proprietary gets purchased over open-source even when the open source is clearly superior and has available support: "Open source doesn't buy golf outings or vacations for the purchasing people".
(Score: 1) by Tork on Monday March 24 2014, @06:14PM
Slashdolt Logic: "25 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
(Score: 5, Interesting) by LaminatorX on Monday March 24 2014, @06:26PM
"Open source doesn't buy golf outings or vacations for the purchasing people."
This, a thousand times, this. At work, our rack full of video transcoding servers were about to go end-of-life, and the vendor was drooling over the pile of cache we'd need for their newer hardware/software specific-high-end-GPU-optimised hot-mess of a replacement. Meanwhile we wrote up some scripts using ffmpeg/ffmbc that would do the job better on our existing hardware quite nicely.
I kid you not that the hardest part wasn't development, deployment, or testing, but getting the suits to sign off on it, and this in the face of six-figures of cost savings the first year alone.
(Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @06:27PM
They're surprised because they're idiots.
Updating machines, updating and/or maintaining the operating system of the machines, meeting regulatory requirements... that all falls under the category of that's what their business IS.
Frankly, that they're using a general purpose operating system from anyone is absurd for their use case. Sure, start with Linux if you like, but fork that baby and create an ATM operating system that does ATMs and only ATMs. That's their business!
But they don't do that, because it's cheaper in the short term to grab something off a shelf, tweak it a bit, slap it on that cheapest hardware they can sling together, and ship it off so the sales guys and management make their Holy Quarterly Numbers. Never realizing that they're killing their own companies in the long term. I swear it's like no one expects there to be a long term anymore...
(Score: 1) by youngatheart on Tuesday March 25 2014, @01:01AM
I think you hit the nail on the head. No one expects there to be a long term anymore.
(Score: 1) by ButchDeLoria on Tuesday March 25 2014, @04:21AM
I'd have thought that was obvious by pop culture's infatuation with natural disasters, apocalyptic events, and zombies.
(Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @06:56PM
What's the source for this number? Why does ComputerWorld and Jaikumar Vijayan want us to believe this number?
(Score: 2) by MrGuy on Monday March 24 2014, @07:01PM
From the Wikipedia article on ATM's [wikipedia.org]
"Today the vast majority of ATMs worldwide use a Microsoft Windows operating system, primarily Windows XP Professional or Windows XP Embedded. "
(Score: 2, Insightful) by hamsterdan on Monday March 24 2014, @07:05PM
They reduced the number of tellers, cut opening hours, jacked up the fees. That alone made them a big bunch of money. Perhaps they should ask every customer to contribute to a special fund to replace those ATMs