This past weekend People's Food Co-op in SE Portland made history. During a conference with tech and IT folk from co-ops around the country these uber-geeks assembled and successfully rang out items on the world's first entirely free, open-source point-of-sale system. A point-of-sale system (or POS) is the software needed to run a cash register and manage the pricing of all the items in a store. |
It all started several years ago when Tak Tang, the Technology Coordinator at The Wedge Co-op in Minneapolis, MN got frustrated at his stores POS system because of his inability to get the information out of it that would really be useful to the store. Like most proprietary software POS systems have a locked core that prevents anyone from copying the source code and also prevents anyone from getting inside to mine data that the software wasn't designed to spit out. Not being able to get inside of the software means expensive service calls to vendors when something goes wrong. It also means having to wait to purchase the next version for new features and bug fixes.
Well all of this was really cheesing Mr. Tang off so he decided to go ahead and write his own POS system. And he DID! IS4C (Information Systems 4 Co-ops) was born.