Author Topic: Mensys, Serenity release eComStation for OS/2 ATMs  (Read 3329 times)

miturbide

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Posted by Martin Iturbide - Friday, 04 September 2009



Hi. I had curiosity about this, since I had never got my hands on an ATM OS/2 machine.

Which software does it run ? are drivers for the diferent components (Card reader, touchscreen) available? Can it be uploaded to hobbes ?

Which is the name of the software used to show the screens to the customer?

I will apreciate if anybody with experience can take the time to explain me this a little bit more.

Martín Itúrbide
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RobertM

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Re: Mensys, Serenity release eComStation for OS/2 ATMs
« Reply #1 on: 2009.09.04, 14:25:02 »
ATMs ran a variety of versions of OS/2, from 1.3 up (up to and including Warp 4). The semi-earlier ones (Warp 3, OS/2 2.x) ran with Communications Manager/2 installed for certain mainframe communications stuff over the packet relay network. The newer ones ran through TCP/IP.

The drivers for the specialized hardware may be very hard to find (other than perhaps the EloTouch drivers). IBM, I am sure has some of them.

Replacing existing ATMs shouldnt be too difficult as the owners should have all the requisite drivers even if Mensys/Serenity has not compiled a repository of them all. I've been publicly begging them to go after the ATM market now for years. I am glad that, for whatever reason, they have. It makes eCS much more viable for the long term.

Why? Well, Bank of America had 2-3 support techs for the east coast of the US when their workstations and ATMs ran on OS/2. I know the info above on the stuff because I was going to be subcontracted out as one of those support techs (if the division of IBM I was in communication with, that was bidding on the contract won - they didn't; another division of IBM won). This, to me, would be a no brainer to most banks. Cut their support costs on the ATMs down to nothing again.

http://www.os2world.com/content/view/19270/2/
Quote
Posted by Martin Iturbide - Friday, 04 September 2009



Hi. I had curiosity about this, since I had never got my hands on an ATM OS/2 machine.

Which software does it run ? are drivers for the diferent components (Card reader, touchscreen) available? Can it be uploaded to hobbes ?

Which is the name of the software used to show the screens to the customer?

I will apreciate if anybody with experience can take the time to explain me this a little bit more.


« Last Edit: 2009.09.04, 14:27:25 by RobertM »
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warpcafe

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Re: Mensys, Serenity release eComStation for OS/2 ATMs
« Reply #2 on: 2009.09.04, 18:28:48 »
Hi,

FWIW, I recently checked hardware stuff WRT the eCoSoft POS "idea" (they call it a project but I'm more realistic I guess...). Anyway, I know that there are touchscreens of almost any format and size that are hooked up with a VGA and a USB connector.
That means, the touchscreen has built-in controllers to act like a standard USB mouse (more or less). That also exists as USB-only "overlay" panels... like a piece of glass you hook up to your existing CRT or flat panel and there you go.

There's also the much more advanced panels/screens that have multitouch capabilities. These however require a whole different driver and API... anyway. Just FYI.

Also I remember that when one installs Warp4, during the 2nd phase (or 3rd? When the desktop is "built"), one of the things that are created is a "touchscreen" object. Hm. Not sure what that was about however....

Cheers,
Thomas
"It is not worth an intelligent man's time to be in the majority.
By definition, there are already enough people to do that"
- G.H. Hardy

RobertM

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Re: Mensys, Serenity release eComStation for OS/2 ATMs
« Reply #3 on: 2009.09.05, 05:08:26 »
Hi,

That means, the touchscreen has built-in controllers to act like a standard USB mouse (more or less). That also exists as USB-only "overlay" panels... like a piece of glass you hook up to your existing CRT or flat panel and there you go.

From what I understand, there was indeed still something different in how the USB version worked (ie: not quite like a regular mouse). That was from talking to EloTouch and looking into downloading their driver toolkit. You may want to talk to someone in the Linux world who's done a Linux driver for insight on this (I never had the time, and they have either hidden or removed the driver toolkit).

Also I remember that when one installs Warp4, during the 2nd phase (or 3rd? When the desktop is "built"), one of the things that are created is a "touchscreen" object. Hm. Not sure what that was about however....

Cheers,
Thomas

I am not sure what the Touch object is for. I do know I never used it for touchscreens though I always assumed it was for them.

On that note, here's 3Ms (MicroTouch's) Touch Drivers for OS/2:
http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/3MTouchSystems/TS/CustomerSupport/TouchDrivers/

Select "Legacy..." and "OS/2" - these are for the MicroTouch touchscreen products (they were bought out by 3M).


EloTouch's Drivers for OS/2 are here:
http://www.elotouch.com/Support/Downloads/dnld_archive.asp

You may find EloTouch's driver toolkit here (though I didnt see it - it was there a couple years ago):
http://www.elotouch.com/Support/Downloads/dnld.asp

« Last Edit: 2009.09.05, 05:12:59 by RobertM »
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warpcafe

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Re: Mensys, Serenity release eComStation for OS/2 ATMs
« Reply #4 on: 2009.09.05, 12:05:51 »
Hi Robert,

just to make sure that this valuable software won't be gone tomorrow (when perhaps someone needs it) I downloaded all the ones that seem to be needful. Also I downloaded some Linux drivers stuff that came with source code... one never knows ;)

Cheers,
Thomas
"It is not worth an intelligent man's time to be in the majority.
By definition, there are already enough people to do that"
- G.H. Hardy

alex

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Re: Mensys, Serenity release eComStation for OS/2 ATMs
« Reply #5 on: 2009.09.07, 11:11:53 »
I'm afraid this Mensys announcement comes several years too late.

Microsoft managed to push their vision of a vendor-independent Windows-only device interface named WOSA/XFS into the ATM market, and now Windows has become the dominant ATM operating system.
IBM tried to counteract this with their J/XFS driver layer, which was also multi-platform (runs in OS/2, Windows and Linux), but this could not stop the rise of Windows as the platform of choice on ATM's.

I'm afraid that eComStation will only be used in the legacy ATM market, vendors simply don't invest anymore in OS/2 drivers for newer ATM's.
Also, Mastercard and Visa (EMVCO) are pushing the security requirements and some security features simply aren't supported in eComStation (eg TPM drivers).

RobertM

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Re: Mensys, Serenity release eComStation for OS/2 ATMs
« Reply #6 on: 2009.09.07, 21:08:39 »
Alex, while perhaps all true (as I suspect the details and such in your post are) that leaves a big market for the "third party" ATM providers that still use OS/2. Most people don't make mention of or remember those. For instance, of all the ATMs found in bars and gas stations that are not bank branded - I have only seen a tiny handful of them that are not running OS/2.

Though I kind of have a feeling that the bigger banks are trying to buy into that space as well. I know that in my area, CitiBank has already managed to push their way into the local 7-11 Convenience Stores.

On the TPM front, since there are open source implementations for various Linux variants (for instance, MacOSX - see link below), I dont see TPM being an issue if this turns out to be a worthwhile venture.
http://osxbook.com/book/bonus/chapter10/tpm/

On another note, there are banks that are already unhappy with their migration to Windows for ATMs. Either Linux will take up that market, or an eComStation variant that is ready can help eat away at that market alongside Linux.

The bigger problem in this (Linux or eComStation as a solution) is that I doubt either the vendors or support companies would be willing to embrace any solution that hurts their bottom line such as switching to an OS that is both more secure and easier to support (with the correct knowledge-set of course). Again, it's like "back in the day" when Bank of America used 2-3 people to support the US Eastern Seaboard... which support company or vendor would want to hurt their bottom line that excessively by cutting 98% of their support staff?

Conversely, if such a company could maintain their current contract and support pricing, then maybe this is indeed a viable option as it means that the ATM companies and support companies subcontracted by the banks need less people to earn the same support money.
« Last Edit: 2009.09.07, 21:13:48 by RobertM »
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alex

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Re: Mensys, Serenity release eComStation for OS/2 ATMs
« Reply #7 on: 2009.09.08, 14:55:21 »
Robert, IMHO operating system issues represent only a very tiny fraction of all the problems seen on ATM's, most problems arise due to hardware and immature device driver issues.

Banks were also unhappy in the early days of the DOS to OS/2 migration, but most problems were to blame on device driver instabilities and the switch from the old DOS-style applications to the then-new OS/2 message-driven application programming paradigm.

Now we see a shift from serial to USB ATM devices and the newly-developed drivers for these new devices also have their share of problems.

So I'm not convinced that you will achieve a significant increase in ATM availability by replacing one OS with another one.

RobertM

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Re: Mensys, Serenity release eComStation for OS/2 ATMs
« Reply #8 on: 2009.09.08, 20:16:27 »
Robert, IMHO operating system issues represent only a very tiny fraction of all the problems seen on ATM's, most problems arise due to hardware and immature device driver issues.

I disagree. The hardware used is very very very basic and with well supported drivers for the computer portion of them. As for hardware failure, that was few and far between "back in the day" - we were expecting (1997) minimal hardware failure related service calls (based off previous track records). So, though we were expecting them to be one of (if not the) largest support issue, it was expected a staff of 3 people could cover Florida to Maine. Not a really big issue considering BoA (and their subsidiaries we would also be covering) was the 2nd or 3rd largest bank at the time.

In addition, I've found more blue-screened, compromised and other software related issues on the Windows ATMs than I ever saw on the OS/2 machines (which I've been using since the 80's when I was an employee at CitiBank and they'd rolled out their ATM cards on the Cirrus network). If that's related to driver issues, it's baffling as to why considering the XP platform and the hardware/drivers for these devices are quite equally mature in comparison.

Banks were also unhappy in the early days of the DOS to OS/2 migration, but most problems were to blame on device driver instabilities and the switch from the old DOS-style applications to the then-new OS/2 message-driven application programming paradigm.

Yes, but long since resolved. And in the Windows world, device driver issues for such computers are near non-existant for the hand selected, standardized hardware out there. It's not like someone took the OS/2 ATM and simply overwrote it with Windows XP or Vista.

Now we see a shift from serial to USB ATM devices and the newly-developed drivers for these new devices also have their share of problems.

These are not newly developed drivers. IBM's been using such on similar hardware for many many years, such as on the AnyPlace Kiosk sitting next to me (which is very similar to their other POS and ATM style offerings - including magnetic card reader, touchscreen and such - just leaving the cash dispenser/deposit input tray). NEC fits in the same boat on this as well. Oh, and a large portion of the devices in question simply respond as a keyboard or mouse.

So I'm not convinced that you will achieve a significant increase in ATM availability by replacing one OS with another one.

Funnily, history has proven otherwise already. A "support region" for a bank's ATM setups nowadays is often defined as a county - or even sometimes a portion thereof. It is no longer defined as 4-7 states. The number of ATMs has not increased nearly enough to account for the tremendous increase of support personnel. It's just pure, simple math.

Best,
Rob
« Last Edit: 2009.09.08, 20:25:45 by RobertM »
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