LinuxCNC is Poorly Documented

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29 Jun 2018 21:46 #113109 by rodw
Replied by rodw on topic LinuxCNC is Poorly Documented
Waaay off topic here, but we Aussies have a Citizenship Test for those who want to become an Aussie. This tongue in cheek version my help people like Andy decipher our language.

The great shame is the push to political correctness has destroyed the Aussie Larrikin spirit. What we once thought was screamingly funny is considered offensive by our children today.

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29 Jun 2018 22:43 #113115 by Clive s

andypugh wrote:

BrendaEM wrote: Ozzrob, you have been combative.That is why I reported you.


The phrase "Two countries separated by a common language" springs to mind.

I know a lot of Americans and Australians, and the same word can have rather different nuances in each vocabulary.


Very true

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30 Jun 2018 03:07 #113119 by InMyDarkestHour
The email I received was due to reported harassment from myself to another user.
The matter has been dealt with, and any & all requests from the moderator have been actioned upon.
I think we can call the matter closed and continue on our ways less this escalate into a gamergate type situation.

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30 Jun 2018 06:32 #113123 by curtisa
As a long-time Windows user who came to Linux specifically because of LinuxCNC (and I suspect there are a lot of users who are in the same boat as me), I don't necessarily think that the documentation is particularly poor. There is a lot of it and it can be a bit challenging to wrap your head around some concepts. I do however think it could be presented more concisely and in a manner that lends more accessibility to users of all walks of life. A lot of the really deep stuff tends to be written as if looking at a datasheet for an IC. I have an engineering background and can largely forgive this form of presentation, but I can see many users will find it hard to cope with and may give up in frustration.

The bigger issue that strikes me is that LinuxCNC has a marketing problem. Whether by accident or design LCNC has positioned itself as THE alternative to Mach. There's a lot of development, problem solving and activity here on the forum, but the website hasn't really kept pace with where LCNC is actually at.

Unless you use a DVD ISO (of which there appeasr to be only one official version being plugged on the website now, or a couple of other variants hidden behind a few sublinks), it can be tricky to install. Tutorials exist on the forum for getting it running on various flavours of Linux, but surely these should be front and centre of the website itself?

As I see it, rightly or wrongly, Linux as a whole also suffers from the stigma of being a finnicky OS to work with. Whichever way you split it, Windows and Mac users far outnumber Linux users and the expectation from them is that software should just install with minimal interaction from the end user. I do sometimes wonder how much business Mach gets from the people who buy their 3040 CNC machines on eBay with the demo disk included, who then upgrade to the paid version (or, heaven forbid, a cracked copy) just to keep things all 'Windows-y'. Could the situation be reversed if LCNC was given a marketing makeover?
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30 Jun 2018 07:35 #113124 by tommylight

curtisa wrote: As a long-time Windows user who came to Linux specifically because of LinuxCNC (and I suspect there are a lot of users who are in the same boat as me), I don't necessarily think that the documentation is particularly poor. There is a lot of it and it can be a bit challenging to wrap your head around some concepts. I do however think it could be presented more concisely and in a manner that lends more accessibility to users of all walks of life. A lot of the really deep stuff tends to be written as if looking at a datasheet for an IC. I have an engineering background and can largely forgive this form of presentation, but I can see many users will find it hard to cope with and may give up in frustration.

The bigger issue that strikes me is that LinuxCNC has a marketing problem. Whether by accident or design LCNC has positioned itself as THE alternative to Mach. There's a lot of development, problem solving and activity here on the forum, but the website hasn't really kept pace with where LCNC is actually at.

Unless you use a DVD ISO (of which there appeasr to be only one official version being plugged on the website now, or a couple of other variants hidden behind a few sublinks), it can be tricky to install. Tutorials exist on the forum for getting it running on various flavours of Linux, but surely these should be front and centre of the website itself?

As I see it, rightly or wrongly, Linux as a whole also suffers from the stigma of being a finnicky OS to work with. Whichever way you split it, Windows and Mac users far outnumber Linux users and the expectation from them is that software should just install with minimal interaction from the end user. I do sometimes wonder how much business Mach gets from the people who buy their 3040 CNC machines on eBay with the demo disk included, who then upgrade to the paid version (or, heaven forbid, a cracked copy) just to keep things all 'Windows-y'. Could the situation be reversed if LCNC was given a marketing makeover?


You have hit a lot of nails in the head with this and i for one have no problem with any of it as nearly 40 years of experience with anything and everything tends to make this stuff easy, but i am sure other users find it as you describe it above, especially the "linux is for geeks/experts/nerds/hackers etc" has not helped, and somehow it still persists although the usual flavours of Linux ( especially Mint and Ubuntu ) are much much easier to install and use ( it takes 20 to 40 minutes to have Linux fully installed and running while watching youtube, Windoze takes over 4 hours on the fastest systems and can not be used during installation ).
Another issue i find annoying and very destructive to Linuxcnc reputation is some users of this forum that post various problems not related to Linuxcnc in any way shape or form, so for new users searching around it paints a messy picture.
Then again, that applies to other things on the net also.
The best thing Linuxcnc has is the support on this forum, it is by far the best of what i have seen as far as the time it takes for someone to reply. That is also valid for Mesa products as PCW is always here to help, as are a lot of other members.
As of this moment i am refraining myself from commenting about this and will try to make some time to actually do something to improve the situation, namely, write a few lines about a topic and post it here so admins can read it and decide what to do with it. I am certain that doing so will help a lot.
Regards,
Tom
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30 Jun 2018 08:35 #113125 by curtisa

tommylight wrote: You have hit a lot of nails in the head with this and i for one have no problem with any of it as nearly 40 years of experience with anything and everything tends to make this stuff easy, but i am sure other users find it as you describe it above, especially the "linux is for geeks/experts/nerds/hackers etc" has not helped, and somehow it still persists although the usual flavours of Linux ( especially Mint and Ubuntu ) are much much easier to install and use ( it takes 20 to 40 minutes to have Linux fully installed and running while watching youtube, Windoze takes over 4 hours on the fastest systems and can not be used during installation ).


I think Linux has come a long way in recent years to ease the way in for new users, which has assissted in making it more appealing for people like myself. What still appears to be the case however is that almost everyone already knows how to use Windows and how to install software on it; not everyone understands how to do the same thing in Linux.

Looking at it from another way, while the all-in-one OS & LCNC ISOs are a great way to get new users into the act, you're unlikely to find someone specially installing Windows onto their machine just to get Mach running.


Another issue i find annoying and very destructive to Linuxcnc reputation is some users of this forum that post various problems not related to Linuxcnc in any way shape or form, so for new users searching around it paints a messy picture.
Then again, that applies to other things on the net also.


This further highlights the need to make it as easy and foolproof as possible to get LCNC running on whatever version of Linux is being officially supported by this website. Can more current ISOs be promoted and provided? Can pre-built executable versions be offered (I'm showing my noob-ness here - is this even a thing in Linux?)? Tutorials for getting LCNC to install on Mint are great, but a multiplicity of typed or copied commands for new users to enter into a Terminal window is just asking for these cries for help to appear on the forum all the time. The other thing with installation tutorials is that they constantly need to be checked for correctness and updated where necessary, otherwise you end up with queries about things like the ftp://ftp.kernel.org issue that crops up from time to time.

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30 Jun 2018 08:44 #113126 by curtisa
I should point out that I'm not trying to rag on the development team of LCNC. I dearly love this software, and the fact that I chose it over Mach to run my medium-sized hobby mill is a testament to the quality, power, usablilty and appearance of the software over its main competitor.

Keep up the fantastic work, chaps. Just don't forget the noobs :cheer:
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30 Jun 2018 10:00 #113127 by andypugh

curtisa wrote: Looking at it from another way, while the all-in-one OS & LCNC ISOs are a great way to get new users into the act, you're unlikely to find someone specially installing Windows onto their machine just to get Mach running.


I am a Mac user. That was exactly what I would have had to do.
Obviously in the event I chose Linux instead, but at that time I knew far more about Windows (from using it at work) than I did about Linux (which I had never used)

I don't think that there are any unsurmountable problems with running LinuxCNC on a Mac, as it happens. But it would be quite a project, and up to the point where the Ethernet Mesa cards came out there were no real hardware options.

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01 Jul 2018 09:55 - 01 Jul 2018 09:58 #113161 by BrendaEM
Perhaps I could have chosen a more diplomatic title for this thread, but I stand by my original post.

I am curious about a few things....

Is there was something about the maintenance of the original documents that caused such a expansive Wiki to be created?

What proportion of the users use the PDF to lean LinuxCNC verses reading it online?
Last edit: 01 Jul 2018 09:58 by BrendaEM.

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01 Jul 2018 11:33 - 01 Jul 2018 11:34 #113163 by andypugh

BrendaEM wrote: Is there was something about the maintenance of the original documents that caused such a expansive Wiki to be created?


You can play with the documentation URL to see old docs.

linuxcnc.org/docs/2.1/html/

Seems to be the oldest.


What proportion of the users use the PDF to lean LinuxCNC verses reading it online?


How would we ever find out? We don't really even know how many users there are. I know that there at least 30 because I have met that many...
Last edit: 01 Jul 2018 11:34 by andypugh.

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