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(BusinessWeek)   A mere 95% of ATMs in the world are still operating on Windows XP, but don't worry, your money is perfectly safe   (businessweek.com) divider line 74
    More: Asinine, Windows XP, Windows, Windows USER, security patches, National Catholic Reporter  
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3240 clicks; posted to Main » on 17 Jan 2014 at 7:35 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



74 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-01-17 09:21:46 AM  

Kristoph57: slayer199: Windows XP was an excellent OS for Windows (compared to ME, Vista, etc).  Obviously, it's WAY past it's time and the EOL is this summer.

The question I really have to ask is why Windows at all?  I would think Linux would be much better for systems that can run indefinitely without a reboot, more secure, and less prone to crashing.

You're thinking like an end user. You've gotta think like a job creator, if they're not crashing, not rebooting, and functioning well for long periods of time, you can't sell maintenance contracts.


The most profitable maintenance contract is the one for which you never actually have to provide any service because the machine doesn't break down.
 
2014-01-17 09:24:28 AM  

Smokey the Bare: Sasha Grey is an ATM machine.


Okay, I laughed.
 
2014-01-17 09:33:25 AM  
Leishu:

In the case of the ones I pay attention to, it's because they have to run several peripherals for which the drivers are easiest acquired for Windows (a lot of these machines are not new enough to be using USB peripherals), so in order to run the card reader, bill validators, cash cassettes etc. in sync with the ATM software, all of which the makers seem to have only provided Win drivers for, Windows becomes somewhat necessary.

Huh. I would've thought it was some type of *nix, or variation on OS/400. So all this time it's just been Windows in Kiosk mode, eh? Figures...
 
2014-01-17 09:48:22 AM  

slayer199: Windows XP was an excellent OS for Windows (compared to ME, Vista, etc).  Obviously, it's WAY past it's time and the EOL is this summer.

The question I really have to ask is why Windows at all?  I would think Linux would be much better for systems that can run indefinitely without a reboot, more secure, and less prone to crashing.


Sounds like you want to hire a Linux expert and we just don't have the budget this year, Carl.  Now hurry up unwrapping that remainder pallet of Windows XP boxes.
 
2014-01-17 10:09:49 AM  

Gig103: BizarreMan: If it's in a closed system, does it matter what OS it's running?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25550512  (just for one example).


Leishu: I work IT in the ATM background industry (not for any major bank), so I'm getting a kick etc. etc...

The question I really have to ask is why Windows at all?  I would think Linux would be much better for systems that can run indefinitely without a reboot, more secure, and less prone to crashing.

In the case of the ones I pay attention to, it's because they have to run several peripherals for which the drivers are easiest acquired for Windows (a lot of these machines are not new enough to be using USB peripherals), so in order to run the card reader, bill validators, cash cassettes etc. in sync with the ATM software, all of which the makers seem to have only provided Win drivers for, Windows becomes somewhat necessary.


This is what weirds me out. Why do ATMs have USB? Why are they running general-purpose hardware and a consumer OS at all? An ATM's functionality and processing duties seem pretty minimal to me, even on the scale of grandma's Pentium 3 box. If ATMs were implemented as a minimal set of software on a RISC processor, or even better, a SoC, using an old-fashioned peripheral interface (not full-blown USB), a lot of this stupid would go away. I'm sure all of the ATM's peripherals that matter (the keypad...? the monitors can just use analog, i.e., VGA cable, and the sound for the visually impaired can be done on the same board, with a DSP) are built specifically--or at least primarily--for ATMs anyway, so it's not like they're not already "custom".
 
2014-01-17 10:14:50 AM  
 Windows XP is ok as long as you don't have morons downloading stupid stuff and running it and visiting stupid websites with stupid browsers.
 
2014-01-17 10:26:05 AM  

Smokey the Bare: The thing that gives me money is not an ATM machine. That is an ATM.

Sasha Grey is an ATM machine.


This. The only ATM Machine I've ever seen would probably be the vans with the portable ATMS that are sometimes at fairs or the like.
 
2014-01-17 10:30:56 AM  

slayer199: Windows XP was an excellent OS for Windows (compared to ME, Vista, etc).  Obviously, it's WAY past it's time and the EOL is this summer.

The question I really have to ask is why Windows at all?  I would think Linux would be much better for systems that can run indefinitely without a reboot, more secure, and less prone to crashing.


Most of this software was developed in the mid to late 90s. Honestly Linux wasn't ready at the time, UNIX was ready but generally more expensive, XP was easy to find developers for and cheap to license.
 
2014-01-17 10:47:12 AM  
MindStalker:
Most of this software was developed in the mid to late 90s. Honestly Linux wasn't ready at the time, UNIX was ready but generally more expensive, XP was easy to find developers for and cheap to license.

What about those third party ATMs you sometimes encounter in convenience stores out in the boonies? The ones with LCDs displays? Any idea what those run? I've always been curious.
 
2014-01-17 10:50:49 AM  

asquian: Smokey the Bare: The thing that gives me money is not an ATM machine. That is an ATM.

Sasha Grey is an ATM machine.

This. The only ATM Machine I've ever seen would probably be the vans with the portable ATMS that are sometimes at fairs or the like.


To get the full Windows XP experience, you have to run it on an ATM machine
 
2014-01-17 10:51:24 AM  
ATM Machines
PIN numbers
Meh
 
2014-01-17 11:34:56 AM  

asynchron: Gig103: BizarreMan: If it's in a closed system, does it matter what OS it's running?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25550512  (just for one example).

Leishu: I work IT in the ATM background industry (not for any major bank), so I'm getting a kick etc. etc...

The question I really have to ask is why Windows at all?  I would think Linux would be much better for systems that can run indefinitely without a reboot, more secure, and less prone to crashing.

In the case of the ones I pay attention to, it's because they have to run several peripherals for which the drivers are easiest acquired for Windows (a lot of these machines are not new enough to be using USB peripherals), so in order to run the card reader, bill validators, cash cassettes etc. in sync with the ATM software, all of which the makers seem to have only provided Win drivers for, Windows becomes somewhat necessary.

This is what weirds me out. Why do ATMs have USB? Why are they running general-purpose hardware and a consumer OS at all? An ATM's functionality and processing duties seem pretty minimal to me, even on the scale of grandma's Pentium 3 box. If ATMs were implemented as a minimal set of software on a RISC processor, or even better, a SoC, using an old-fashioned peripheral interface (not full-blown USB), a lot of this stupid would go away. I'm sure all of the ATM's peripherals that matter (the keypad...? the monitors can just use analog, i.e., VGA cable, and the sound for the visually impaired can be done on the same board, with a DSP) are built specifically--or at least primarily--for ATMs anyway, so it's not like they're not already "custom".


If I had to guess, I'd say firmware upgrades and driver installation. If one part goes bad and it gets replaced with a newer model, you will probably have to install new drivers. If the same part goes bad and gets replaced by a model with older firmware, you'd want to upgrade that too.
 
2014-01-17 12:00:42 PM  

asynchron: This is what weirds me out. Why do ATMs have USB? Why are they running general-purpose hardware and a consumer OS at all? An ATM's functionality and processing duties seem pretty minimal to me, even on the scale of grandma's Pentium 3 box. If ATMs were implemented as a minimal set of software on a RISC processor, or even better, a SoC, using an old-fashioned peripheral interface (not full-blown USB), a lot of this stupid would go away. I'm sure all of the ATM's peripherals that matter (the keypad...? the monitors can just use analog, i.e., VGA cable, and the sound for the visually impaired can be done on the same board, with a DSP) are built specifically--or at least primarily--for ATMs anyway, so it's not like they're not already "custom".


As Leishu pointed out, you need drivers for peripherals like the card reader and note scanner.  Those things may not be available for embedded OSes like QNX or VxWorks.  So you're looking at some sort of Windows setup on an x86 machine.

The ATM manufacturer is probably going to use an off-the-shelf industrial x86 motherboard as opposed to building one in-house.  It may or may not use an x86 SoC.  It really doesn't matter because the interior of an ATM is large enough to use a board with more discrete chips.
 
2014-01-17 12:17:18 PM  

MindStalker: Most of this software was developed in the mid to late 90s. Honestly Linux wasn't ready at the time, UNIX was ready but generally more expensive, XP was easy to find developers for and cheap to license.


Well, perhaps it's time to go in a new direction.  Hell, linux would probably easily run on the old hardware.
 
2014-01-17 12:32:32 PM  

slayer199: MindStalker: Most of this software was developed in the mid to late 90s. Honestly Linux wasn't ready at the time, UNIX was ready but generally more expensive, XP was easy to find developers for and cheap to license.

Well, perhaps it's time to go in a new direction.  Hell, linux would probably easily run on the old hardware.


Best bet is probably to base it on Android and just stick a cheap tablet in the ATM box.  Not sure what kind of luck you'd have running Android on the old hardware, but other flavors of Linux wouldn't really draw in the pool of developers you'd want for that kind of app.
 
2014-01-17 02:22:04 PM  
A mere 95% of ATMs in the world are still operating on Windows XP, but don't worry, your money is perfectly safe

Until April . . .
 
2014-01-17 02:28:45 PM  
Why these things would need an operating system is confusing.  At most, a tinyOS should be the only code in there and the drivers.  The less programmable code in there the better. 
There should never be a USB slot.  It might seem clever that you could send technicians into do updates with a USB stick, but really, this is all nuts.  If you have to open the machine to upgrade something, then send the technicians out with a box of new ASICS.   The added cost for the company is small compared to the labor cost anyways.
 
2014-01-17 05:14:08 PM  

walktoanarcade: Actually, I was telling a man named Grammar that I hate nazis and called him a man, man. Though yes, it is worth repeating that nazis were undesirable fellows. heh


Was it Kelsey? :-))

I loved Frasier!
 
2014-01-17 08:42:49 PM  

MindStalker: Most of this software was developed in the mid to late 90s. Honestly Linux wasn't ready at the time, UNIX was ready but generally more expensive, XP was easy to find developers for and cheap to license.


XP wasn't available until 2001, though.  As I understood, most of the ATMs out there were running OS/2 back then (I would imagine largely because of the IBM mainframe communications packages available for it).  Once OS/2 support became too expensive and/or hard to come by a few years later, I guess XP became the path of least resistance.
 
2014-01-18 12:04:22 AM  

TheDirtyNacho: Chip and pin cards will finally be the norm here in 2015, so they'll have to upgrade those machines anyway.


What about Fish and Cushion?
 
2014-01-18 12:30:27 AM  

ekdikeo4: I know there's a large chunk of them still running OS/2 at least around Michigan.


I'd love to throw OS/2 on our legacy machines. (It is, after all, what my dad let me use when I was 6 :-) ) eComStation would be awesome to pick up. I'd love to pick up the project if the Win32 VM's are as good as they used to be for Win16.

6-figure businesses in the area are flocking to our shop to get the hell off XP. I'd love to throw ReactOS as a solution, but I can't even get a single machine to properly boot it. I shudder to think of what exactly we are going to do about the situation, because pretty much every POS in town runs on it. I'm swamped just dealing with every day customers, but God help me when the zero-day exploits start coming out of the woodwork for XP.
 
2014-01-18 01:36:09 AM  

TheDirtyNacho: Chip and pin cards will finally be the norm here in 2015, so they'll have to upgrade those machines anyway.


I'd like to see it happen, but believe your 2015 timeline is way too optimistic. Currently, only a few banks or credit unions currently offer them (and they're meant for customers traveling internationally). Not just ATMs, but all restaurants will need new POS (points of sale) with the wireless readers that they bring tableside. It will be nice once it's achieved, but I think we're too far away from it in the US.
 
2014-01-18 09:42:13 AM  

Gig103: TheDirtyNacho: Chip and pin cards will finally be the norm here in 2015, so they'll have to upgrade those machines anyway.

I'd like to see it happen, but believe your 2015 timeline is way too optimistic. Currently, only a few banks or credit unions currently offer them (and they're meant for customers traveling internationally). Not just ATMs, but all restaurants will need new POS (points of sale) with the wireless readers that they bring tableside. It will be nice once it's achieved, but I think we're too far away from it in the US.


Most of the discussion about converting centers on the gargantuan costs of making the move.
 
2014-01-18 01:29:29 PM  
I also thought ATMs ran on OS/2 or other specialized OS. XP? Now I'm worried.
 
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