Some time ago i passed by in one of the bank agencies of a brazilian south bank, called Banrisul, and see a change, the ATM’s are evolving. The ATM’s are changing for modern code, and i don’t know what they are using now, but is the past that is the history itself.
Most of old Linux guys remember that as one of the firsts bank ATM done in Linux in the world ( or at least the first openly shown ) was made here in this bank, here’s a picture from the wonderful article of John MadDog Hall in this Linux Journal article. ( I hope he will not bother that i’m citing him here ).
The history i want to share with you is how that “marble Tux” happens. Yes, it was a production machine that you see in the picture and was running in every place in Brazil for at least 10 years.
So, a 25 years old boy, in this case me, the guy typing now, who was working in a ILOG graphical toolkit partner suddenly decide to look for Linux jobs, it was out of university for 1 year, but was already infected for the open source and Linux for more than 3 years, and thought it can be done.
Lucky me, that there was a company locally in Curitiba, hiring Linux guys, for a short time prototype project in C, and was the chance i foresse to enter in linux job world for good. This company was Conectiva, and then, this prototype end up to be my first job in the company, mostly at this time, was a universe confluence, since all the players involved, the bank through the manager, Carlos Eduardo Wagner, the corporate development manager from Conectiva, João Luis Barbosa and the PERTO ATM company, moving to Linux, all believing that could be done.
And then, they need the suicide guys, meaning me and Ruben Trancoso which made the mainframe comm network stack.
To resume, 3 months, four different ATM’s with their original specific DOS code, one barely new ATM designed to be first time used in this project by PERTO, and that’s it.
We didn’t had much requisites that time, mostly keep the same original face and make it work. On the verge of everything, we made the base code been ported quickly, but still, was 2000, and linux graphics stack and licensing still not heavily clarified. qt was out of question, Gtk was not suitable for the older environments. Aside other toolkits, i decided go on X11 pure code, which at least took one layer of code bug testing on our side, despite the inherent difficulty and from a guy that get used already on C++ toolkits ( Ilog Views, today now owned by IBM ).
But worked, it paid the efforts, then one day, comes the day where the manager sit downs on your side and say: “We have a big meeting with bank directors to show the prototype, is it ready ?”. The interface was already exactly the same as the older DOS interfaces, and that’s our initial target.
The answer from me was a sound yes, from Ruben as well, but i asked if i could “pimp up” the interface a little. Was a demo anyway, and not need to be the final result. Just don’t told what i will be doing, since i have some idea, but not THE FINAL idea.
So, i pick up gimp, pick the Conectiva logo, and then put on top right, as a proud developer of his company, and to show that it done by us, here, in Brazil. I know this would be for testing, never would go to production.
And for some reason as most aesthetically possible for a developer, the lower left corner was visibly empty, unbalanced, could have something else there, but couldn’t be too “loud” in terms of graphics, so i decided that an emboss figure could be ok’ish. And i start to drumming my fingers and i heard someone around the office saying something ..Linux…, and again, …Linux word, so i though that need to be something Linux related, obviously. But there are no Linux text logo, no official at least, the only thing was Tux. Then i placed that embossed Tux, proud myself that at least me, my coleagues and some guys at Banrisul will see what we achieved. Again, i know that was for demo day an in production, the clean face would be back.
Then the day of demo and approval came. My manager from Banrisul came back, and say everyone was happy with the results, everything worked as expected, with only one single remarks. ( i was expecting already ), the logo need be gone.
The CONECTIVA logo.
No one single remark over that embossed shadow Tux there.
And then again, the machine gone to a bank office to real public test, again, no remark of Tux logo, some people outside even noticed the penguin.
The rest is history, i left Banrisul after the work and back to Conectiva engineering and KDE and several other Conectiva staff went there to finish the code that known better than me, polish or remove old DOS tidbits, and 15 years later, still you can see some TUX happily providing money and services for customers.
I remember the day John MadDog took that picture in one FISL, i remember a crazy Miguel de Icaza jumping over the machine taking pictures as well on FISL. Banrisul was smart in place a machine right aside the stairs of the entrance of FISL where thousands of geek was passing daily in ever conference.
Never intended, well executed 😀