Review: TuxShop point of sale application

On the surface TuxShop seems ideal for those in need of a quick point of sale that will run on just about any hardware, but there are problems.

The point of sale is the make or break application for retail businesses. Without these applications it would be difficult to keep records of sales or track how your business is doing day in and day out. The problem is that most Point of Sale systems are either too expensive or they simply don't work well. In some cases, even the costly solutions are prone to being buggy and/or complex. TuxShop is an attempt at making a cross-platform point of sale application that is available for either purchase or lease. But does this software meet the needs of the demanding retail business?


Who's it for?

TuxShop should be one of those simple point of sale applications that can be used by any small business that doesn't need integration into other applications (such as financial applications). From its simple interface to its cross-platform nature, on the surface TuxShop seems ideal for those in need of a quick point of sale that will run on just about any hardware.

What problem does it solve?

TuxShop allows just about anyone to have a point of sale system up and running cheaply and without the necessary hassle of sales, upsales, required hardware, or expensive servers/desktops.

Standout features

  • Fast GUI
  • Quick and easy installation
  • Will run on Windows and Linux
  • Plenty of report features
  • Payments can be combined from multiple sources on a single receipt
  • Email support for documents

What's wrong?

First and foremost TuxShop is not the most intuitive Point of Sale system. For a piece of software with such a small in footprint, you would expect it to be simple to get up and running. It's not.

First, I had issue getting the software running. I had to contact the developer who informed me there was a bug in the current release and he had to send me a database file in order to get TuxShop running. Second, the demo mode is so limiting it won't even allow you to run any sales transactions. So in reality, testing the software with a demo copy is not an option.

Another issue is some of the atypical terms used. Instead of doing a Z-out at the end of the day, when using TuxShop you would "Cash Up". This non-standard terminology adds another deployment hurdle for any business accustomed to standards.

The Linux GUI (as shown in the images) is very old-school. I was informed (by both the developer and the Web site) that simply adding Polymer (which is a GTK port of the KDE default theme) this would change. It did not.

Finally, the inability to interact with any financial software will kill TuxShop for many SMBs in the United States.

Competitive products

Bottom line for business

TuxShop is fine for a small business that is not concerned so much with financial integration or standard language/tools. With enough reporting, TuxShop can ease the business person's day to day flow of finances, but any accountant will have issue with this.

But for those more concerned about simply getting sales out the door, keep record of those sales, and using any off the shelf PC as a POS machine, TuxShop might work well for you. But don't expect TuxShop to replace a serious tool like Quickbooks Point of Sale, because if you do, you will be seriously disappointed.

User rating

Have you encountered or used TuxShop? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.

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By Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic, The New Stack, and Linux New Media. He's covered a variety of topics for over twenty years and is an avid promoter of open source. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen....