Linux lags Microsoft Windows, which has 69 percent of the total market for point-of-sale terminals, and IBM's 4690 operating system, with 17 percent, according to a study by IHL Consulting Group.
"Linux is starting to gain traction in several segments, such as restaurants...but at only 4 percent of total shipments in 2002, it still has a long way to go before being a serious contender," IHL President Greg Buzek said in a statement. In addition, few companies that embraced Linux decided to do so across their entire chain of stores, the study said.
Point-of-sale terminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated networked computers, often equipped with bar-code readers and credit-card readers. When customers buy goods, the terminals send information to back-end servers that update inventory and financial records.
The overall point-of-sale market decreased 2 percent from 2001 to 2002.
IBM in particular is an advocate of Linux in the point-of-sale market,with companies such as paint store Sherwin-Williams.
Big Blue's advocacy has led to trouble, though. SCO Group, which sells versions of Unix for companies such as McDonald's and Sherwin-Williams, has, alleging among other things that Big Blue encouraged the illegal use of SCO software to make it easier for Sherwin-Williams and others to move from SCO software to Linux.