LinuxCNC is Poorly Documented

More
01 Jul 2018 16:08 - 01 Jul 2018 17:22 #113172 by BigJohnT
Actually this is the oldest document on the linuxcnc.org site.

linuxcnc.org/docs/2.0/

JT
Last edit: 01 Jul 2018 17:22 by BigJohnT.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
01 Jul 2018 16:45 - 01 Jul 2018 16:46 #113176 by Sparky961
Pointing out a perceived deficiency should not be taken as a slight against a person or project. The intent was obviously not malicious and should serve to indicate that the status quo is not working for at least the person making the claims. I believe she has voiced the concerns and complaints of many who can't or won't do so themselves for fear of the onslaught with which it has been received. It reads as an honest account of her experience, many parts of which I have also experienced. The detail and eloquence with which this was done should be admired, analyzed, and used for future improvement rather than wasting time explaining how everything is just fine as it is.
Last edit: 01 Jul 2018 16:46 by Sparky961.
The following user(s) said Thank You: tommylight, BrendaEM

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
01 Jul 2018 21:22 #113186 by tommylight
Sorry but i gave to:
If all who took the time to comment here would have instead wrote a single line about Linuxcnc ( intro, what and how, just a nice word or two etc) we would have about 2 pages of usable info.
Lets see.........
Linuxcnc is machine controller software, it can control a wide range of hobby or industrial CNC routers, mills, lathes, robot arms, 3D printers, Laser cutters, engravers, tangential knife cutters, plasma and oxy/accetylene cutters, water jets, etc. <<<< add more if i forgot something.
It can use parallel ports, Mesa motion control and anything I/O cards, Pico systems hardware, etc to control above mentioned machines, it is not limited to any of them and can also use them simultaneously.
To start using it to actually move stuff, you need only a stepper drive ( even as simple as 4 transistors, or ones taken form old printers and photocopiers ) and a stepper motor, or some simple IC and a small DC servo motor with encoder. All this can be wired and controlled from the parallel port of almost any computer.



Please feel free to edit and make corrections and continue.
Regards,
Tom

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
01 Jul 2018 21:51 #113189 by BigJohnT
Seems to me the very first chapter About LinuxCNC says pretty much the same thing except for the part about using salvaged stuff, that's pretty cool.

JT
The following user(s) said Thank You: tommylight

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
01 Jul 2018 22:14 #113194 by tommylight

BigJohnT wrote: Seems to me the very first chapter About LinuxCNC says pretty much the same thing except for the part about using salvaged stuff, that's pretty cool.

JT


I thought the same thing but i was to lazy to check, it has been e few years since i read that. Just wanted to start it in a so-so valid direction. Something like that should be on the first page of Linuxcnc to ease the entry into the dark....hmmm......bright side ! :)
Also more showcases would help a lot so a couple of links to "show your stuff" posts should do the trick.
Thank you.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
02 Jul 2018 10:32 #113216 by InMyDarkestHour
A few of the issues I've seen crop up are more to do with General Linux installation and configuration, than specific to Linuxcnc. Many have been covered in the forums (seems some or reluctant to use the search function) or can be resolved by using google.....but people are people I guess.

One issue I feel could be addressed in the docs, is directing windows users to use win32diskimager to prepare a usb stick for booting rather than other utilities....Other utilities try to be "too smart" for writing the image to a usb stick in the case of Linuxcnc.

Maybe another addition would be pointing new users to some basic Debian info.

One thing that amuses me is that the "Linux is difficult" issue does not seem to pop up as often when people get involved with the Raspberry Pi......Maybe because it is a "new platform", akin to smart phones (apple vs android), and people are able to get away from the "windows-pc" mindest.

I dare say if you got 2 senior citizens with little to no computer experience and put one in front of a computer running windows and another running, say Linux Mint, the learning curve and skill development would follow a similar trajectory ?

Has for HAL, there is a lot to be said for following the examples in the docs, it is a good experience for seeing how "things fit together" in a general way (hal didn't really set in until I followed the examples and wrote a test panel for some custom boards I made). As for more specific things, a lot has been covered in the wiki and the forums. Even tho some examples maybe old, careful reading of the wiki examples and the current docs will get you going....a issue that may crop up is the difference between 2.8 & 2.7.

In fact having used both Mach3 and Linuxcnc the information for Linuxcnc is far better than Mach3 when you need site specific customisations. Development of custom components is far far easier.....apart from plain C and win32 assembly I've always found programming for windows to be a pain.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
02 Jul 2018 21:04 #113253 by curtisa

ozzyrob wrote: One thing that amuses me is that the "Linux is difficult" issue does not seem to pop up as often when people get involved with the Raspberry Pi......Maybe because it is a "new platform", akin to smart phones (apple vs android), and people are able to get away from the "windows-pc" mindest.


That's hardly a fair comparison. Raspberry Pi is geared and marketed towards people with custom applications in mind and serious tinkerers; a hardcore Arduino. If you're in the position to be considering RPi as a solution to your needs, you're well and truly past the basics of computer usage, irrespective of which OS you've started from.


I dare say if you got 2 senior citizens with little to no computer experience and put one in front of a computer running windows and another running, say Linux Mint, the learning curve and skill development would follow a similar trajectory ?


Most probably. But Mint and their ilk goes a long way to make things appear as Windows-like as possible, something I suspect was done deliberately to make the transition appear as seamless as possible to those considering a path into Linux and swing people away from the dark side. And from what I can tell, the stats indicate that most people simply don't start with Linux as their first computer experience to build up on; they start with Windows, closely followed by Mac.

For anyone just wanting to surf the web, check their emails, type up some documents, listen to music, print their photos and Skype their friends Mint and Windows are similar enough for just about anyone to use with minimal translation. But Blind Freddy could tell you that installing Mach on bog standard Windows as a hell of a lot easier than installing LCNC on a fresh copy of Mint.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
03 Jul 2018 02:23 #113272 by InMyDarkestHour
Actually I think it is fair comparison.......The RPi is used in schools to get kids into programming......I think from ages 8 or so up. RPi even has a install image called Noobs.

The RPi itself isn't well suited to custom commercial products from what I can gather, there are licensing issues and the RPi is not open source. Where as, as a comparision, the BBB has industrial boards and is open source.

Actually I created some packages, that tecno used, to install Linuxcnc on Mint 18.3.....
In my opinion installing Mach on WIndows and installing Linuxcnc on Mint is not a fair comparison. When you consider one is a prepackaged application and the other is installed from source.........I doubt very much Mach would be so easy to install on a win32 platform from source (if that was an option).
Having done it many times over I can say from experience starting from a fresh unformatted HDD installing debian & linuxcnc from the supplied iso is far easier than XP. Now we wont go into the hoops repaired to install XP on a SATA only mb.....one needs either a Floppy disk, what's that some may ask...lol, with the required drivers or to slip stream the required drivers onto custom install media, either a DVD or USB Flash drive.....yes that it USB a possibility........but if you have the nounce to go that route installing Linux is a non issue.
Lets not take into account that generally the time taken to install WIndows is longer than a basic Linux distro, that can vary whether the install updates packages during the install and your Internet connection.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
03 Jul 2018 02:56 #113282 by curtisa

ozzyrob wrote: Actually I created some packages, that tecno used, to install Linuxcnc on Mint 18.3.....
In my opinion installing Mach on WIndows and installing Linuxcnc on Mint is not a fair comparison. When you consider one is a prepackaged application and the other is installed from source.........I doubt very much Mach would be so easy to install on a win32 platform from source (if that was an option).


You're missing my point. From a marketing perspective for opening the door to new users and competing against other firms offering an equivalent product, all this development by users on the Forum is great and I applaud their (and your) willingness to share and help. But it's not being reflected on the website.

If you received a new LG TV would you like to have the manual show you how to tune it and set it up, or would you be happy just Google for an answer or register at the LG product forums and ask for help? And which do you think looks better for LG?

Having done it many times over I can say from experience starting from a fresh unformatted HDD installing debian & linuxcnc from the supplied iso is far easier than XP. Now we wont go into the hoops repaired to install XP on a SATA only mb.....one needs either a Floppy disk, what's that some may ask...lol, with the required drivers or to slip stream the required drivers onto custom install media, either a DVD or USB Flash drive.....yes that it USB a possibility........but if you have the nounce to go that route installing Linux is a non issue.
Lets not take into account that generally the time taken to install WIndows is longer than a basic Linux distro, that can vary whether the install updates packages during the install and your Internet connection.



Again, that's not the crux of my argument. At the moment for the absolute beginner, installing a pre-packaged OS + LCNC ISO is done by necessity, not by choice. An absolute beginner likely doesn't come to Linux from nothing; they're far more likely to come to Linux from Windows or Mac. They'll probably already have a PC running Windows, so the logical extension to them is to just install Mach in 10 minutes or so and get moving. But other users, like myself, are intrigued by the prospect of LCNC and will venture over into Linux just to see if it meets their needs. The only avenue they'll see promoted once through the front door on the website is to use the ISO (of which there is only one, and a dated one at that). If they're feeling brave they may attempt to install it from source on whatever version of Linux they happen to lay their hands on, which is more troublesome if you're not familiar with what it actually means to install source code on Linux.

All I'm saying is that I think more could be done to make the initial entry into LCNC a bit easier for new players and reflect that on the website rather than in the forums. This probably also feeds into the initial point that BrendaEM raised about the quality of documentation. At the moment the forum feels like the repository of all up-to-date information swirling around all over the place and the website is just the doormat. We can't change the way Linux as an OS operates with its requirement for manually installing dependencies and compiling a new Kernel and compiling source codes and whatever, but is there a way we can change the way LCNC gets people started milling?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
03 Jul 2018 03:53 #113288 by cmorley
linuxcnc used to use Ubuntu to lower the barrier to new adopters.
it was a perfect solution. Their ideology worked well with ours.
Then Ubuntu went all nutto and wanted to commercialize and worry about their image etc.
Most importantly they said that you must remove all branding if you respin the DVD.
Debian is dedicated to free software and doesn't make such demands.
But it kinda sucks for beginners.

Untill we get permission to use or figure out how to unbrand -
I think we are stuck.

Chris M
The following user(s) said Thank You: rodw

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Time to create page: 0.133 seconds
Powered by Kunena Forum