go back

NOTE: The DOS and Windows 32-bit versions of JSK are no longer being updated. All new development and best technical support is now only being done on the multi-platform SSH terminal version.

This version requires that the program be hosted on a special Linux-based server. This server can be supplied for installation at the user's premises or (as is the usual case since 2014) on a virtual ("cloud") server.

The Jewellery Shopkeeper (JSK) now makes extensive use of open source software. This enables us to offer powerful features either free or at greatly reduced prices. For example, the PuTTY terminal program which provided the user interface to JSK on Windows computers is supplied free of charge.

SSH (the Secure SHell encrypted comminication system) is also open source and provided free of charge. As is ImageMagick and numerous other smaller utilities.

You may have heard us recommend that you use a Linux server for The Jewellery Shopkeeper. Here's why.

1) Our primary development of the software is for the Linux version of The Jewellery Shopkeeper (JSK) (including derivatives; The Business Shopkeeper (BSK) and The Accounting Shopkeeper (ASK)). We are still maintaining the Windows version of the program because it works for small, usually single-user, installations where our full support service is not desired, and also because we have existing users who have not yet moved to Linux. But as of July 2014 only bug fixes are being applied to the Windows version. A bug 'fix' to a faulty function might mean that the function is removed rather than corrected because they are functions that only work in the Linux version and were untested in Windows.

2) Linux, being a version of Unix, is a true multi user operating system. It not only allows multi-tasking but allows many users to use the same computer simultaneously.

3) Linux is open source and free, as are most of the utility programs that are designed for Linux. Many thousands of Rand are saved compared to what proprietary Unix would cost. Yet the quality and reliability of Linux is mostly better than commercial versions of Unix which by now are far behind in development. The workstation terminal software, which would otherwise cost between R500 and R1000 for each computer, is supplied free of charge.

4) As a user the inner workings of Linux do not need to be understood because, like the Internet can be used without even being aware that most web sites run on Unix-like servers, so can JSK.

5) Thanks to 2) above, all instances of a multi-user application run on the Linux server and very little network traffic is needed. This is a major factor in speed improvement relative to equivalent multi-user Windows programs.

6) Stability and data integrity is improved because all data is processed on the server itself. With Windows, each workstation fetches data from a server, processes it and then sends it back to the server and any faulty workstation or network switch can corrupt the data.

7) Because very low network traffic is required it is practical to have the server hosted in the cloud without sacrificing speed. This has the benefit of reliable server hosting at specialised data centres. As a JSK user you do not need to provide space or electricity for the server. We even do off-site back-ups of your data four times per day.

8) Workstations can be entry-level desktop or notebook PCs. Running free terminal software and with no back-up or other maintenance required you save cost without losing performance.

9) A feature of the terminal software is the ability to scroll backwards to view report data that has scrolled off the top of the screen. Another is the ability to copy text off the screen to paste into other programs. These features are only possible with the Linux version.

10) Advanced features, such as encapsulated postscript letterheads for emailed invoices and orders as well as live updates of precious metal prices, bank forex buying and dollar selling rates, are only possible on the Linux version.

11) Differential off-site back-ups done over the Internet is another Linux-only service that we offer. These back-ups are complete in themselves but record historic changes so that data can be restored for any file as at any earlier date. We keep the daily changes for 13 months.

12) ADSL Connectivity has improved a lot over the past few years, and for back-up you can connect via 3G dongle very economically. (We have users who are only using 3G with only a small sacrifice in speed.)

13) Your data is automatically accessible from anywhere in the world - even on a device as small as a cell phone. You just need your address, user name and password.

14) And did we mention speed? Many functions run about a hundred times faster than on a networked Windows workstation.

The Two Linux Server Options for JSK

OPTION ONE: Self-hosting. Your own Linux box with UPS running in your shop, head office or home.


1) Not dependent on an Internet connection at the server location. This is an advantage when you have just one shop that needs reliable access to JSK.

2) Once-off cost of the server. (Although this saving is diluted by maintenance, insurance, electricity, and floor space costs.)


1) ADSL service is provided with a dynamic IP address. Telkom disconnects and reconnects the connections sometimes several times in one day and other times only once every few weeks. Each time a new IP address is allocated and it can take 15 minutes for the dynamic DNS service to publish the new IP address so that remote shops can again connect.

2) It is difficult to provide 3G backup for a server due to several technical problems.

3) Electricity must be provided reliably at all times.

4) The server must be connected to the Internet for support, backup and your own remote access.

5) It is your server. We guarantee it for one year against failure. You take the responsibility of keeping it safe from theft or lightning, and any other failure after the guarantee period. The expected server lifespan is just five years - after that time the server should be replaced with new hardware and the latest version of Linux.

6) We do backup each night provided that the server is accessible by Internet at the time. Thus, in case of a server failure up to a day (or more if the last backup was not possible) of data might be lost. Replacing the server could take a week. 

OPTION TWO: Hosting on the cloud. We provide the Linux server that is installed at one of the larger Internet service providers, such as Datapro or MTN Business.


1) The server is permanently connected to reliable high-speed Internet.

2) The IP address is static, thus providing significantly improved up-time from remote workstations.

3) You have a fixed monthly cost, without insurance requirement or maintenance cost.

4) We will move you over to a new server at no charge and with zero downtime when the time comes to upgrade.

5) If our server fails we restore your data to a new hosted server within 24 hours. Maximum data loss will be 4 working hours because we make backups four times a day for our hosted servers.

6) Hosting price is affordable due to the fact that we can host more than one customer on each physical server.


1) If your own Internet fails you will have no access to your data. Although we are not there yet - Internet in South Africa is getting more reliable and costs are coming down. Due to the efficient textual user interface, and the fact that all data processing occurs on the server rather than your remote terminal, 3G (cellular network) fallback is a viable option in most areas. Even a cellphone 'Edge' connection will work in an emergency. New smartphones all have a WiFi 'Hotspot' feature which works well in 3G coverage areas and the data costs will be minimal - typically less than 20MB per day. (Provided, of course, your computer does not get used for anything else - such as Internet browsing or allowing automatic Windows updates!)

go back