Ubuntu for Small Business

John Richard Moser nigelenki at comcast.net
Sat Sep 10 02:28:19 UTC 2005

Hash: SHA1

Jay Camp wrote:
> On Fri, 2005-09-09 at 12:56 -0400, John Richard Moser wrote:
>> - POS system (there's 500,000 of them on Sourceforge, are any of them
>>   any good?)
>> - Inventory (possibly in the POS)
>> - Service tracker (possibly part of the POS)
>> - Customer databasing to look up your old receipts based on your name,
>>   address, CCN, etc. (possibly in the POS)
> I went through SourceForge looking for a POS program for my mom and
> aunt, opening a small business.  In no uncertain terms I will tell
> you--they all suck.

They're all written in Java, so I figured the developers didn't have any
brains *ducks!*

> However, I did find (and not on SF) what seems to be a very good
> solution:
> http://www.bananapos.com
> Supports most or all the things you mention above (as far as I can tell)
> among many others.  I've just played with it a little bit because it's
> still in beta but I think a final 2.0 release is planned soon.

Now the questions appear:

 - Where do you get a barcode scanner?
 - Can you integrate the user/group/etc structure from BhPOS with phpBB
and gForge?
 - If the two integration tasks above prove to be simple enough, will
anyone do it?
 - If anyone does do it, will anyone write up an Employee Kiosk?

It looks like it uses mySQL for a backend, which is good.  Hooking into
it directly would be a bad idea; but helping the author along with
supplying some PHP or Python hooks (call python from PHP!) could be
designed sanely.  This would allow using the users and groups from
BhPOS-- your inventory and POS system-- directly in the rest of the
company infrastructure.

It's too bad you can't just rig it all up to a RADIUS server.
Jabber/SILC, BananaHeadPOS, gForge, phpBB. . . .

So anyway, for the moment we have enough to run a small, small business.
 GnuCash (needs de-uglifying), a POS, an Office suite, a graphics design
program (GIMP).  We can also rig up SILC or Jabber to Gaim, but on this
scale the other employees are probably within talking distance.

A larger business -- perhaps 2 locations -- would need corporate e-mail
(definitely) with web and pop/smtp; timeclocks; a BBS like phpBB; and
location-localized daily checklists.  Basically, the Employee Kiosk
mentioned in the original mail.  RSS feed company news displayed in the
EK would be nice; and using a simple CMS for the company in the EK would
start to become important on this scale.

A small or large business developing software and possibly working on
other projects (even engineering, case studies, medicine, etc) would
need a project managment system such as gForge, probably integrated with
the EK.  Anything long-term is going to generate documentation and need
time allotment; gForge doesn't (to my knowledge) do time-per-week
allocation (i.e. you're assigned 16 hours on project X, 16 on project Y,
have 8 hours free), but that could be added.

A larger business or a fast-growing business will need a full server
version of Ubuntu, which is out of our scope.  What IS in scope is that
the tools in our theoretical Ubuntu for Small Businesses would need to
scale that far, and stay an integral part of the business; suddenly
being jerked into a major software base change-over would be a HORRIBLE
drain on company finances, and making the mistake of separating small
packages of "CrappySoftware GoodEnough" from "BetterSoftware
Professional" would be fatal.  The system needs to grow to accomodate a
growing business; the software that's there will continue to be there,
and be supplimented with new software for specialized tasks.


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