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Saracen
17-08-2013, 05:24 PM
Is it worth jumping in and getting the tried and tested Mach3 now, or wait until Mach4 is released and get the latest and greatest features ?

From the website, there's no upgrade path from 3 to 4 - which seems an, erm, brave decision on their part - so whatever I buy will be in use for the next few years.

It's to run an MV3 through a Gecko G540, so Mach3 has by far the largest user-base and knowledge-base.

Adrian.

birchy
17-08-2013, 05:33 PM
What's wrong with LinuxCNC, which is free for all? :eagerness:

JAZZCNC
17-08-2013, 08:30 PM
What's wrong with LinuxCNC, which is free for all? :eagerness:

Nothing wrong if you speak Geek and it also not always keen on G540's.!! Seen reports that on some computers, I know to least a Dell it won't work with unless you turn Charge pump off.. . .Not Good.!!

It's also been told by some very experienced users that it's shite at doing CV (contant velocity) so jerky jerky.!!

Mach3 will do every thing you want and I wouldn't wait for Mach4 has you'll have a long wait it's still 6-12 months away and even then I wouldn't buy it for at least a year after release until all the major bugs are ironed out.

It won't offer much to hobby users that mach3 already gives other than possibly better performance from Art's new Parallel port driver.

Buy Mach3 with Gerry's 2010 screen set and get cutting is my advise.

birchy
17-08-2013, 08:43 PM
Nothing wrong if you speak Geek
Don't be scared of something none-Microsoft. :highly_amused:

Installing and setting up LinuxCNC was easier than Windows on my particular machine, but I know some people struggle. I think a lot of the time, they expect it work like Windows and give up if something is not the same. Having said that, Android phones are pretty popular nowadays, but I wonder how many people realise they're actually using Linux?

Jonathan
17-08-2013, 08:44 PM
It's also been told by some very experienced users that it's shite at doing CV (contant velocity) so jerky jerky.!!


If anything I think it's smoother than Mach3 was, certainly not worse.

Either Mach3 or LinuxCNC would most likely be fine - I always advise trying both and just see which you like best.

birchy
17-08-2013, 08:51 PM
I always advise trying both and just see which you like best.
Absolutely. Use the right tool for the job - i.e. the one you find most productive. I would say at least TRY LinuxCNC first as it's totally free, then if you don't like it, get your hand in your pocket and buy Windows and Mach.

Web Goblin
17-08-2013, 08:54 PM
You could also download Eding cnc and give that a try as well before you decide.

birchy
17-08-2013, 09:04 PM
You could also download Eding cnc and give that a try as well before you decide.
Not heard of that before. Is this the right page? Eding CNC - PC based CNC control (http://www.edingcnc.com/index.php?pagina=8_download)

Do you have to use the Eding controller or can you just use the free software?

Saracen
17-08-2013, 09:05 PM
Thanks all.

I guess I could comfortably wear the Geek hat, as I've run FreeBSD based mail, web and DNS servers for around 10 years.

> 6-12 months away

Interesting. Definitely not going to wait that long for it to arrive, and staying away from a .0 release is always good advice :friendly_wink:

I already have the PC and Windows XP, so there's no cost involved there.

Guess I'll try both once the G540 arrives and see which one breaks less bits :sorrow:

Adrian.

JAZZCNC
17-08-2013, 09:06 PM
If anything I think it's smoother than Mach3 was, certainly not worse.

That all depends if the cutting your doing requires good CV or not.?. . . . I can't or won't argue because not interested in Linux CNC has I'm very happy with Mach3 as it does all I want.

I can thou comment on the Geek issue thou because I've seen many Very very very experienced Mach3 users who have got disgruntled with Mach3 for one reason or another(mostly lathe users) and migrate to Linux only to come back saying the Linux guru's won't help unless your into programming and even then the answer is usually fix it your self.!!

birchy
17-08-2013, 09:15 PM
I guess I could comfortably wear the Geek hat, as I've run FreeBSD based mail, web and DNS servers
LinuxCNC would be the natural choice, then. It can be a bit finicky with PC hardware as, unlike Mach, it uses a realtime kernel (http://wiki.linuxcnc.org/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?RealTime) for smoother control. Best thing to do is run the Live CD (no need to install) and run the Jitter test to see where your PC stands. Wifi cards and on-board graphics seem to be the worst culprits for poor response times. If you have neither of those, then you'll probably be good to go "straight out of the box".

Web Goblin
17-08-2013, 09:15 PM
birchy,
yes thats the right one. You can try the software in simulation mode but as far as I know you need his hardware to run it with a machine. I have been using it since I built my machine and I like it. It gets regular updates and Bert gets back to you quickly if you mail him with a problem or question.

birchy
17-08-2013, 09:28 PM
You can try the software in simulation mode but as far as I know you need his hardware to run it with a machine. I have been using it since I built my machine and I like it. It gets regular updates and Bert gets back to you quickly if you mail him with a problem or question.
OMG, I didn't realise that Bert's Artificial Intelligence had evolved so much that he's now writing his own software! (personal joke here...my trusty old self-programmed betting "bot" was nick-named Bert many years ago).

Swarfing
18-08-2013, 01:18 AM
Sour grapes to those that poo poo linux because they do not understand what they are doing without the crutch of microsft. Always used Emc2 (linuxcnc) and since setting it up never had a problem. At least the linux fraternity will never shove it's problem under the carpet. Once you get it set up it works great, the forum will get you through most problems you may have (not many as they have all been seen before). PC is biggest hurdle, but if you look on their site they list a good few that work but what i find is the simpler the machine and you switch all the on board stuff off that is not needed you are fine. Check out mother boards that boast high back bus speeds rather that processor speeds. a good chunk of ram, separate graphics cards with good ramdac and you are on your way.

JAZZCNC
18-08-2013, 02:03 AM
At least the linux fraternity will never shove it's problem under the carpet.

Ah ah that's a joke surely.?? . . .Only last week on Mach yahoo someone was complaining that the almighty Linux guru's wouldn't or couldn't fix the G540 issue they insisted it wasn't Linux at fault it must be G540 or PC at fault.!! Even thou it works fine with Mach on same PC.!!

Now I know all software has bugs, Mach3 just like Linux has it's fare share but it's the manner of help that's available to the lay man that knows nothing about PC or Control software and in my experience thru helping and speaking to others and also listening to inexperienced and vastly experienced users alike who have tried both then Mach3 support is much better.
Also regards the software it's self they tend to like Mach better for it's flexibility and being very configurable to there needs with a much bigger user base of all experience levels.

Each to there own I suppose but my using Mach has nothing to do with Microsoft or any other operating system, I just like how it works and the fact I can contact the guy who writes the code that makes it run if needed.!! . . . Wouldn't care if it run on Wonker vision I'd still use it.!!

John S
18-08-2013, 10:20 AM
Ok answer me this because i don't know latest state of play.

In Mach if you break a tool you can pause, fit new tool, reset the offsets and carry on.
Now at one time in EMC as it was called you couldn't do this .
Les Newall of Sheetcam fame altered the program, changed it so it would and sent the code in.

To my knowledge and it's not current this still has not been implemented

Biggest problem with the development committee is they are programmers, not machinists and if they can't see a use for a feature it doesn't get put in.

Now someone will tell me yes like Les you can alter it but end of the day 99% of the uses just want to be button pushers.

The problem with geeks is they don't know they are geeks.

Swarfing
18-08-2013, 11:11 AM
John i can hit the stop button change tool and reset offset at any time throughout the cycle.


Ah ah that's a joke surely.?? . . .Only last week on Mach yahoo someone was complaining that the almighty Linux guru's wouldn't or couldn't fix the G540 issue they insisted it wasn't Linux at fault it must be G540 or PC at fault.!! Even thou it works fine with Mach on same PC.!!

Like i said sour grapes

JAZZCNC
18-08-2013, 11:41 AM
Like i said sour grapes

I wouldn't call it sour grapes I'd call it far worse if I'd been using Linux before then upgraded all my control to run a G540 then Linux went "Computer says NO" ..!! But it worked fine on other control software on same PC.!

The comment was just to highlight BOTH software's have issues and the All might Linux GURU committee don't always fix issues and have the same "sweeping under" broom when it suits them.!!

Anyway I'm away to start making swarf soon can't hang around all day talking to you losser Geeks.! :loyal:

Swarfing
18-08-2013, 12:47 PM
how many people are suffering the issue? and why would one controller out of many manufactures be he be all and end all of the software? i wonder how many manufacturers of controllers have problems with M3/4?

And the so called problem people are experiencing is just a configuration problem and people not understanding the G540's limits.

Example
LinuxCNC Support Forum :: Topic: Axis configuration with a gecko g540 (1/1) (http://www.linuxcnc.org/index.php/english/forum/16-stepconf-wizard/26610-axis-configuration-with-a-gecko-g540)

Boyan Silyavski
18-08-2013, 01:44 PM
Hi,
my oppinion is :
Depends on how exactly you value your time.
When i was brand new in CNC I tried both and payed Mach3. The machine i bought had personal mach3 screens that saved me a lot of fiddling. Had some problems and they were quickly solved by the guy that made the machine. had another problems and in a minute they were solved or by personal email from the Mach3 team or in the Mach forum. Needed some personalizing of the screen and for a couple of box a guy did it /from the Mach3 forum.

Look at the Mach3 price like your paying for the support, not the program itself.

Swarfing
18-08-2013, 01:54 PM
silyavski this is very true and if you PAY for your software you should EXPECT the appropriate support. Horses for courses and people should research what is best for them before taking the plunge. I for one would not venture into any software before finding out if there where any known issues with my hardware, paying for it or not. Look at how many issues there are just trying to get M4 released?

I rest my case :-)

JAZZCNC
18-08-2013, 03:58 PM
And the so called problem people are experiencing is just a configuration problem and people not understanding the G540's limits.

Don't want to get into this any further but just say in this G540 case the guy in question is vastly experienced and runs is own CNC business selling controls and components so he's no Muppet.!!

Oh and no sign the guy fixed the issue.?? . . . Think you'll find he didn't because Linux won't allow the G540 to run in EPP mode so the charge pump won't work.!! . . . Here in lies the problem, In the above case the guy is experienced in electronics and software programming and prove it was a linux bug, he even told them where to look to fix it but here lies the issue that it's in the core and that requires the Linux committee to fix and Guru's don't deem it worthy. . . . So basicly get stuffed.!

John S
18-08-2013, 04:37 PM
Basically M4 release or lack of it is Brians fault.
He announced it far to early and now he's being pressurised.
I can't make decisions for him but going back Art released the first beta of Mach 3 to the public and got them to do testing on the grounds that 100 users would probably find 100 faults, Art would probably miss all these as he was too deep into the program and blinkered.

Whilst that was going on he then worked on other things, screens, wizards etc.

Brian OTOH has done the screen designer and the new wizards for M4 when the program doesn't even exist in beta ?

Linux definitly has a place for the more experianced used, they just don't realise they have the experiance.

Currently I'm working with a linux guy on improving my hobber.
Simple he says just do a bootable USB stick and we will work from this.

Follow these instructions.

UNetbootin - Homepage and Downloads (http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/)

Now scroll down and there are 52 versions of Linux.

At least mach only needs W2000 or XP, hardly rocket science.

birchy
18-08-2013, 04:52 PM
Well, my experience with the LinuxCNC forums is that they've always been helpful and quick to respond. Most of the developers actually run CNC machines, so understand hardware as well as software. I think they can be a bit off-ish when people ask stupid questions like "why dunt my motorz work?" or ask operating questions that are clearly explained in the user manuals. The difference here is that the Mach developers are profit orientated, so are more willing to hold hands and wipe bums.

For Geeks like myself and Swarfing, we are fed up of the constant barrage of Windows updates, security packages and buggy software breaking things all the time. I personally discovered Linux when a friend's Windows 98 PC had become so corrupted that it was beyond repair. The ONLY way I was able to recover important files from the hard drive was using a Linux "Live CD". I'd never even heard of Linux before but was so impressed that I installed it on my own PC and have not used Windows since. The world's best supercomputers all use Linux (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TOP500). Google use Linux (http://www.zdnet.com/the-truth-about-goobuntu-googles-in-house-desktop-ubuntu-linux-7000003462/). The majority of web servers use Linux. Android IS Linux. The fact is, Microsoft had the best advertising campaign at the beginning of the computer revolution and is a totally profit based company.

For most of us "geeks", I think we are more annoyed that Micro$oft have duped the world into paying for a generally inferior operating system when there are FREE alternatives available. For me personally, I'm even more annoyed that the recent versions of Windows have copied features from Linux (Aero themes, multiple desktops, etc (http://www.itworld.com/open-source/248654/8-best-innovations-windows-8-borrowed-linux)) and poor old Joe Public thinks "wow! that's cool!" but doesn't even realise that they could get the same thing for free a few years ago.

I shall dismount the soapbox now... :rolleyes:

Regarding CNC software, it's a specialized setup and there's no need for bells and whistles. In fact, simplicity means stability, so avoiding an internet connection (and all the associated security risks and updates) is highly beneficial. Just like any other job, it's a case of choosing the most reliable and productive tools that YOU are comfortable with. If that turns out to be Mach or Eding or LinuxCNC or something else, then so be it. Bollocks to what everyone else thinks. My only advice is to keep an open mind and try as many as you can until you find the one you like best.

Boyan Silyavski
18-08-2013, 04:54 PM
In the spirit of this conversation is worth noting that a separate computer to run the machine is a must. I have 2 in fact, old Dell cost me 30eur from a local boot sale and has win xp installed and is running fine.

Another thing is that i have 2 BOBs , the second one for closed loop and some extra inputs and outputs and it took me a lot of time to fiddle with printer port cards, PC BIOS and how to make them both work and in which mode each. Its worth researching before, about the exact modes needed to run the board you have or the integrated port, cause some computers LPT boards or LPT cards will NOT work due to lack of a certain mode.

i2i
18-08-2013, 05:11 PM
maybe this thread could be compared to the Betamax versus vhs debate many years ago. Betamax being the vastly superior system never caught on, maybe because vhs got a foothold in the marketplace first.
Now the amount of windows users (yes it is m/soft) is massive compared to Linux (it's not m/soft), so the average guy/girl who wants to use a cnc machine may well be familiar to windows and probably even have a pc with windows already on it.
So what would be his or her best option.?

birchy
18-08-2013, 05:12 PM
Now scroll down and there are 52 versions of Linux.
Yeah, I often laugh at that because the overwhelming choices puts off potential newbies. Lots of choice is great but it doesn't help the inexperienced.

Generally speaking, a bootable CD or DVD is the easiest. You download the O.S. as an ISO file and burn it to disk. Boot the PC from the CD/DVD and job's a good'un.

Forgive my ignorance, I don't know what a "hobber" is (EDIT: duhhh - just realised you mean a gear hobber)....If you're installing LinuxCNC, then you'll want their CD/DVD (http://www.linuxcnc.org/index.php/english/download) as it is a complete O.S. and software package. For anything else, Linux Mint is the way to go. It's newbie friendly and works straight out of the box. No need to install security packages (Norton, etc), Flash plugins, Java plugins, movie codecs, MS Office, etc..they're all pre-installed.

EDIT:
For your purposes, I think your friend is suggesting you install UNetbootin (which is the software used to create bootable USB sticks) BUT use the LinuxCNC ISO (http://www.linuxcnc.org/index.php/english/download) rather than one of those 52 choices! UNetbootin has an option for "Diskimage", so you'd need to choose that and point it at your downloaded image.

birchy
18-08-2013, 05:18 PM
the average guy/girl who wants to use a cnc machine may well be familiar to windows and probably even have a pc with windows already on it.
So what would be his or her best option.?
99% of the time, they will choose Windows because they are already familiar with it. People don't like change, no matter how easy or difficult it may be. That's why M$ have done so well...

John S
18-08-2013, 05:23 PM
Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking Linux it works and works well it's really how the people who fully understand how it works just can't understand that others are not at their skill level.

Where M3 scores is that it's so easily configurable and there are far more users prepared to help which in turn helps the total number of users.

Linux or EMC didn't help them selves earlier on by being very clannish and to be honest having a very superior attitude to anyone who couldn't follow what they were doing.

Anyone remember the BDI version ? it stood for Brain Dead Install and was aimed at talking down to non linux users to show just how easy it was and what they were missing.

Problem was it didn't work for many of the users who tried it. they followed instruction to the letter, no joy and then followed instructions on how to get it to work.

Rather comical to read the posts of the day, Linux users getting more infuriated that the user couldn't get it to work, the user getting more confused from the curt one liners that they obviously never understood until finally the whole exchange petered out.

Linux geek scratching his head wondering why they couldn't understand something so simple and the would be user scratching his head and wondering if he needed to learn Serbo Croat to fully understand Linux.

John S
18-08-2013, 05:44 PM
Yeah, I often laugh at that because the overwhelming choices puts off potential newbies. Lots of choice is great but it doesn't help the inexperienced.



Birchy,
You have hit the nail on the head, anyone moving from windows / mach3 will be inexperienced and after reading that page he'll also be confused :loyal:

Is it any wonder they just give up ?

Seriously I'm not knocking it [ Linux ] but after all this time and with the amount of join man hours on the program you would thing that more time had been spent attracting new users instead of patting each other on the back.

Many low end motion packages have that amateurish appearance to them.
M3 in default screen looks like the flight deck of a 747
Most of the USB controllers look very similar like they have all been done in MS Paint
Linux looks like their screen is just an afterthought, looking neither amateurish or professional.

M3 for instance has different screens for lathe and mill to match the machine.

birchy
18-08-2013, 05:54 PM
I think that Linux's main downfall is the sheer number of versions. Because it's open source, anyone can develop an O.S. and although it has been beneficial long term (i.e. many hands make light work), it has resulted in a bottomless pit of choices. The Linux Mint project has done a lot to address this issue (and done it very well), but newbies may not discover it and give up because they tried some other flavour of Linux. It's a shame really.

I'm not massively into LinuxCNC yet but understand there are loads of custom screens available. How easy they are to install and/or use is something I've not investigated yet...

JAZZCNC
18-08-2013, 06:08 PM
End of the day it shoudn't be about the OS and that's not the case for me.! . . . Like I say couldn't careless if it run Wonker vision.
My machines only run MS OS because thats whats needed to run Mach3 and they don't have anything else what so ever installed.

All folks want is a controller that is easy to install, setup and ultimately easy enough to use. They can't or don't want to mess about with OS issues or learning some coding skills to make it work like they would like. They want sympathetic help when they are challenged not made to feel like idiots because they can't do the lingo.!! . . . . Like John this has been my experience and feed back form others with the EMC or linux CNC crew in the past.

They both work Well just Mach suits newer users and experienced users alike better IMO.

John S
18-08-2013, 06:17 PM
I mentioned before about the screens and was taken to task by an experienced Linux user who told me it was quite simple and sent me three pages of code to alter the screen but no instructions on what to do with the code or where to put it.

OK to him that was simple but I don't even have to write G Code in this day and age.

It would be nice to just get a system that loaded up and ran but why cannot they do this after all these years ?

As regards CV, a friend of mine who is a programmer, looks after windows and linux systems has this on his machines as well as Mach.

He's done tests and filmed then using same file, same machine, same code, same everything and M3 outperforms LinuxCNC on his router, you can see it slowing for corners.

However on his lathe LinuxCNC beats M3 hands down, especially as M3 is useless at threading with the one slot encoder.

Swarfing
18-08-2013, 06:19 PM
Generally those who like to tinker will opt for at least a try of Linuxcnc, it suits some and not others which is great for all. There is nothing wrong with M3/4 nor Linuxcnc. It's all about what suits you thats all that counts. One thing that you can not avoid is that 67M linux users means it can not be all that bad

LiCo - The New LinuxCounter Project - Get counted as a linux user (http://linuxcounter.net/main.html)

birchy
18-08-2013, 06:29 PM
Obviously the OS is more important than the software. If the OS is unstable or unreliable, then we can't expect any software to be stable. But yes, at the end of the day all we need is a CNC controller. I guess that industrial machines use dedicated hardware and software, whereas Mach, LinuxCNC, etc attempt to bring CNC control to the layman with a spare PC in his shed. Every setup will have pros and cons and some end users are more technophobic than others. That's just the way life is.

JAZZCNC
18-08-2013, 06:43 PM
Generally those who like to tinker will opt for at least a try of Linuxcnc, it suits some and not others which is great for all. There is nothing wrong with M3/4 nor Linuxcnc. It's all about what suits you thats all that counts. One thing that you can not avoid is that 67M linux users means it can not be all that bad

LiCo - The New LinuxCounter Project - Get counted as a linux user (http://linuxcounter.net/main.html)


This is my point has that's mostly irrelevant because end of the day were not or shouldn't be talking about the OS it's only the CNC portion we are interested with here.!!

Both work good, Linux is harder to get working for new users and Mach with better support IMO.

birchy
18-08-2013, 06:54 PM
Linux is harder to get working for new users
IMHO, that's debatable. The bonus of Linux is that you can boot from the CD/DVD as a "live" environment and try it without installing anything. You'll generally have an answer in less than 30 minutes. Conversely, you HAVE to install Windows and Mach (or whatever software) just to see if it's any good. And by then, you've spent so many hours (and cash) on it that you're already committed to making it work.

JAZZCNC
18-08-2013, 07:07 PM
And by then, you've spent so many hours (and cash) on it that you're already committed to making it work.

Commitment is not a bad thing it drives you to learn.!! . . . . Has to the rest then we'll have to agree to disagree but I will say when I tried the Bootable CD it didn't work for me.
Also the installation of the software is not the only hurdle or where new users fall down it's the getting the motors and others I/O to work that stumps them.!

birchy
18-08-2013, 07:20 PM
Commitment is not a bad thing it drives you to learn.!!
Even more reason to install LinuxCNC then. And it won't cost anything but time. :applause:

Boyan Silyavski
18-08-2013, 07:53 PM
Even more reason to install LinuxCNC then. And it won't cost anything but time. :applause:

But time here in Europe is money one way or another. We are not in Asia.

Everyday when you are tinkering around and not machining something, even for pleasure= Lost money

skunkworks
05-09-2013, 09:45 PM
Wow - Linuxcnc guy here. (Yes - I just joined to enter this conversation...) I think some things need to be clarified

-G540.
The guy in question is big in the mach community. He had a working mach system and installed linuxcnc and could not get the charge pump to work. The conclusion is that the G540 requires EPP mode, not to take advantage of the EPP protocol, but to use its higher current capability. (some consider that a design flaw) but that is neither here nor there. Ubuntu (the linux flavor that the linuxcnc livecd is based on) for some reason didn't set the printer port mode to EPP even though the bios was set for it. Don't know why. The thought was to add functionality to the linuxcnc printer port driver to force the port to EPP mode. (A configuration option.) This doesn't happen with all computers and printer ports only certain hardware. I have found a few post were mach didn't get the charge pump working. changing hardware solved it.

This is a quote from a hardware developer.

This does show the the G540 charge pump circuit needs a re-design. Theres
really no reason it should not "just work" with _any_ parallel port in any
mode.

(if you look at the various Mach forums, a lot of people just gave up and
turned the charge pump off)

I think this issue could be fixed but a developer (or anyone who wants to take up the challenge - it is open source and all) would have to have the G540 and hardware that didn't work and want to take up the problem.

-CV mode.
It could be that the constant velocity performance isn't as good as mach. I don't know - I have never used mach. There are settings within gcode to adjust the CV performance. Strait G64 goes as fast as it can while touching every line segment.. Adding a P and Q really helps.

G Codes (http://linuxcnc.org/docs/2.5/html/gcode/gcode.html#sec:G64)

It does things like blending line segments that are collinear within the set tolerance together.. I have never ran into any post or anyone that has had linuxcnc do something that wasn't explainable... The trajectory planner and motion is rock solid. I have although read many post where mach has done something odd. Plunge Z into the table for no reason - next run is perfect. I have read where it has not obeyed velocity or acc constraints.. Some of these are 'known bugs'. Yikes. If Linuxcnc is a bit slower - I think I may take that with consistency. Just wait for mach4 everyone says....

Example..
mach 3 cv mode stalling (http://www.cnczone.com/forums/mach_software_artsoft_software/120113-mach_3_cv_mode_stalling.html)

-Jog while Paused.
Linuxcnc doesn't yet. Will it happen in the future? Seems like it - one of the developers did a mock up showing it is possible. The current structure of linuxcnc makes it a bit hard the way I understand it. (lots of changes happening in linuxcnc - see below.)

I have always used 'run from line' The mod that john points out from Les Newall is really just a wrapped up 'run from line'. Jog while paused does seem like it would be cool - But I didn't even know I was missing it until recently :)

-Future of linuxcnc
More linux distros and more realtime kernels. There is a push to get linuxcnc added to the debian repositories. this would make linuxcnc even more main stream. (and from other projects that have been added to debian - more developers)

There is a re-vamping of the internal structure of linuxcnc (not a total rewrite..) to make things like a better trajectory planner or 'jog while paused' possible.

More flexable GUI.. another complaint is there is no 'screen editor'. Now there are a few options.. GScreen is a big one - it uses the linux GUI editor Glade.

Rtnet - There are a few products coming down the pipe that use RTnet to communicate. So - Ethernet interface with realtime control.

Linuxcnc sure isn't perfect - but it is stable stable stable. (yes - 3 stables) And it is only getting better! (I really do love linuxcnc - I converted an old HMC and it has been a dream 4 axis, 96 i/o with tool changer, pallets and all that jazz)

sam

PS - Guess what tormach is using for their new lathe software? Any takers? ;)
PPS one more comment on mach4.. Things You Should Never Do, Part I - Joel on Software (http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000069.html)

m_c
15-09-2013, 05:26 PM
I've held of replying to this, but I can't hold of anymore.

Regardless of what people think or say, Art Fennerty brought CNC to the non-computer geeks, and made it accessible. Yes, chances are if Art hadn't done it, somebody else probably would of, but he dedicated the time and effort to do something lots of people said couldn't be done. At the time Mach first appeared, you really did have to be a computer geek to use linux, let along EMC, and Mach provided a familiar alternative.

Linux is now more accesible and useable, but is still an unknown quantity for lots of users. Windows provides a 'safe haven' for those who struggle to do anything more than relatively basic tasks, let alone have to start configuring operating systems. Just because Linux users find things easy to do, doesn't translate to your average computer user even having the slightest idea what you're on about.
This is one of the concepts lots of linux users fail to grasp, and it actually applies to quite a lot of things. My full time job is a mechanic, mostly dealing with diagnostics. If I was to tell you go and check the multi-circuit protection valve on a vehicle, would you even know what it is, or where to begin, bearing in mind lots of drivers would struggle to find the dipstick?


However, the big thing of the future are external motion controllers. Even RTOS's can't match a few dollar DSP sitting churning out pulses. You have one core dealing with generating pulses, another planning motion, one dealing with inputs, one with loading the trajectory, and a few spare to deal with whatever tasks you can think up.
Mach realised this long ago, and added various hooks into it's core to provide support for external controllers, however that is it's current biggest flaw and the reason for the re-write. How would LinuxCNC stack up if somebody suddenly added in lots of interlinked hooks to support external motion controllers?
I'd imagine it would be a core in a similar mess to Mach3 currently is, whereby the simplist of changes can cause havoc with other parts of code.

Re-writes are rarely a good thing, but sometimes there is no other option.

As for what I use, Mach. Simply because I'm not going to start running dual boot/extra computers as lots of other software I use needs windows. Although I'm thinking about setting up KMotion for the KFlop on the new lathe.

birchy
15-09-2013, 05:55 PM
Just because Linux users find things easy to do, doesn't translate to your average computer user even having the slightest idea what you're on about. This is one of the concepts lots of linux users fail to grasp...Although I agree with most of what you say, this comment is not valid nowadays. Projects like Linux Mint have made Linux more user friendly than Windows. There's no farting about for hours on end, trying to install internet, antivirus', firewalls, ad blockers, MS office, flash plugin, java, etc, etc, having to reboot after every operation. It takes 30 minutes to install and 99% of the time is good to go...and includes all the features of 5 hours spent making Windows "safe" and usable by default.

Personally, I think that most Windows users would actually convert to Linux full time if they gave it a decent chance. But humans are funny creatures and don't like change, particularly if it involves un-learning some bad habits.