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  1. #1
    So sorry for this long post but I really need some advice regarding MicroShaft dropping support for Windows 7. Itís better to have the info.

    Please, PLEASE, help.

    TL;DR - will I be able to run Universal Gcode Sender under Linux with a Leo Bodnar Button-box interface... and is Linux hard to install and learn from someone who has just ran windows since version 3.11.


    So a bit of background regarding my CNC...

    Iíve been running (and upgrading) various parts of my Openbuilds Ox (with a CNC xPro mk3 running GRBL 1.1f) since 2016... and Iíve even made a control panel for it with a Leo Bodnar USB Button Box interface as it handles rotary encoders (for the MPG jog dial and real time overrides) really easily.

    For a hobby machine I both love and hate it. Love it because itís really easy to operate now (the control panel is great because I no longer accidentally hit the keyboard and the buttons are behind shields)... but hate it because general maintenance is a PAIN! Whoever designed it never gave a thought to it ever having a problem... yeah, right.

    Iíve got a bunch of it torn down at the moment for said winter maintenance (and fix some wiring problems.. namely crappy solder connections causing intermittent connections on my SuperPID and temp monitors for Vacuum and Control box... apparently my control box went from 19.5 degrees to 43 degrees for a while... then -17 before coming back to 19 degrees) when I realised I was running out of time regarding Win7 becoming abandonware REALLY darn soon. I was basically painting the door to my house when the foundation was about to crumble... doh!

    Do I move over to Win10?... I donít even know if this pc will even RUN Win10.

    Do I make the move to Linux? I last used a Unix based system back in the late 80ís... I no longer have ďGot RootĒ (sorry... old programmer joke) so would mean a lot of learning to do... which is hard.

    My problem is if I go the Linux route (root lol) I will have to do a bunch of relearning and will have to replace Joy2Key (the package I use to link the Leo Bodnar Button-Box to Universal GCode Sender Platform).

    Oh and Iím nearly 60... so my brain isnít as good as it used to be. Learning Linux actually scares he crap out of me lol.

    There is one thing I could do... airgap the machine and only transfer data over via thumb drive...but thatís gonna be a faff as I currently use my network to send my GCode to my Ox. Itís great as I only have to post process on my main design PC and BAM itís on my Ox.

    Soooo, any suggestions on what should I do. And please donít say ďget a better CNCĒ as I canít really afford it.

    TL;DR - will I be able to run Universal Gcode Sender under Linux with a Leo Bodnar Button-box interface... and is Linux hard to install and learn from someone who has just ran windows since version 3.11.

  2. #2
    Doddy's Avatar
    Lives in Preston, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 2 Hours Ago Has been a member for 6-7 years. Has a total post count of 985. Received thanks 148 times, giving thanks to others 42 times. Referred 1 members to the community.
    The Leo Bodnar Button-Box is a USB-based simulation of a keyboard, driven off discrete inputs to mimic key-presses. It's advertised as Windows/Linux compatible, so that should be no problem.

    The Universal G-Code Sender is a cross-platform Java application, advertised as Windows/Linux/RasberryPi/Mac, so that should be no problem.

    Joy2Key takes game-controllers and interprets demands into key-presses. There is a linux flavour of this available, as well as alternatives from a quick google. So this should be no problem.

    It will take a bit of effort to hook all three together, but I have no experience of any and can't advise further. I'd suggest - assuming you have no spare desktop machine - dual-booting your Win7 box and installing one of the common flavours of Linux. Which leads me to...

    How easy "is linux"? Things have moved along massively since I was a lad (some 30 years ago when I first looked at Linux). Most distributions come with full-fat graphical installers and default to a full-fat Linux UI with lots of capability built in from the start. In true linux fashion you will find yourself at the console level pretty quickly installing packages and scripting, but there's generally a lot of people who have already done the things that (I) expect to do and are only a google away. It's a personal thing, but I'm constantly pushing away from Windows (trying to think... I think my only Windows box now is supporting my CNC mill - just because I need that for UCCNC. Every other box I have is either Mac, Debian linux (CNC lathe) or Ubuntu (my initial moves into Linux). Oh, and several RaspPis that are also flavours of linux.

    My advice - go for a low-cost dual-boot trial to find your feet.

  3. #3
    If your PC runs Windoze 7, it should run 10, though it might perhaps be a bit slower in some functions??? As for spending the money for an upgrade so you get support, on the basis of my experience with Win10 problems, I'd be dubious about doing that, as although the support team were helpful, in the end they couldn't actually solve the problem. And then there's Win 10's propensity to continually update itself which can render some old hardware not working all of a sudden: if you're going to use it, I would strongly recommend not having any internet access on the machine. Or just go learn Linux, as I'm starting to do.

  4. #4
    If the PC is only running the Machine and you have software to reinstall should HD die etc and all is working as it should why worry.?
    Upgrading for the sake of upgrading is usually a recipe for trouble and something I don't recommend unless you got to do so can sort an issue out.

    KISS works every time.!

  5. #5
    AndyUK's Avatar
    Lives in Southampton, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 21 Hours Ago Has been a member for 3-4 years. Has a total post count of 385. Received thanks 78 times, giving thanks to others 37 times. Referred 1 members to the community.
    Quote Originally Posted by NeoMorph View Post
    There is one thing I could do... airgap the machine and only transfer data over via thumb drive...but that’s gonna be a faff as I currently use my network to send my GCode to my Ox. It’s great as I only have to post process on my main design PC and BAM it’s on my Ox.
    I'm with Jazz on this, don't upgrade when you don't really need to. It'll cause more problems than its worth.

    You don't have to airgap it. Personally, I'd take a half-way house approach; I'd firewall it at the router, completely blocking internet traffic in and out to that specific machine. This way, you can still transfer things to it within the network. Its not as secure as total air gap, but honestly its more than effective enough if you're not hiding sensitive documents.

  6. #6
    If you do decide to go down the Linux route have a look at Linux Mint. It's very popular and is aimed at being a comprehensive package but simple to install with everything already there.
    Engineering is the art of doing for ten shillings what any fool can do for a pound.
    Wellington.

  7. #7
    I run my CNC on XP. I have disconnected the Internet Gateway and the operating system is free from Internet worries. At the same time, I have access via the network to all my files which I keep on a Mirror RAID NAS drive. I would strongly recommend you do not move to Win10 for the sake of it.

    The only problems I have is when the hard drive dies and I have to rebuild from backup and the last time that happened I made sure that all the files I needed (Licences, Configuration files and software) were copied into two places (one being a DVD).

  8. #8
    While you contemplate changes,or not,could I suggest you answer your question about Linux by giving it a try?There are lots of distros out there and a quick look at www.distrowatch.com might amaze you.The obvious candidate to run a CNC is LinuxCNC ,which is a complete package containing the operating system and the CNC control app.The useful thing is that you can download it to your computer and then create a bootable DVD or usb memory stick and from this newly created medium you can boot a computer to run from it without an actual installation.In Linux circles it is known as a live install and goes away when you shut down the computer.If you like it and the computer gives a sensible result on the latency test you can do a permanent installation if you wish.

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  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by cropwell View Post
    The only problems I have is when the hard drive dies and I have to rebuild from backup and the last time that happened I made sure that all the files I needed (Licences, Configuration files and software) were copied into two places (one being a DVD).
    Might an easy solution be to fit a second HDD (ideally a SSD) in the machine and then copy everything across to it (as an image) using say XXCOPY - then if your primary HDD fails, just swap them over?

  11. #10
    Good advice about backing up.One Sysadmin I knew defined being adequately backed up as being in the condition where your computer could be formatted for a fresh installation at any time because you would have all the necessary files elsewhere.A bit extreme maybe,but if you follow the principle you will be well prepared.

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