Linux... what happened?

When is FireControl for Linux going to be ready? its been 3 years since LS said “Linux
coming soon”…

snip

Due to lower demand, other projects have taken priority over FireControl for Linux. That being said, our development team has nearly completed a functional Linux build of the next version of FireControl. The nearly complete build is intended for Debian-based Linux distributions (Ubuntu, Mint, Debian, etc), but there will probably be an available RPM package option for Redhat-based distributions as well.

At this time, we cannot offer a definitive ETA on FireControl for Linux, but it is coming soon. We appreciate your patience!

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Thank you for the response.

What about Windows XP? I still run it on my computer for SketchUp 8 and that I do billing on.

Windows XP is by far the best operating system ever made.

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What about MS-DOS? :wink:

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I would love to see Microsoft re-release a version of XP that was very gutted out, no frills, but compatible with this generation of software.

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I used to run autocad in DOS, and CADvance… everything was started from a batch file

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The request for running on XP might be a source of giggles, but it would be a mistake not to take seriously the reason behind the request. Similar reasons lie at the foundations of why a Linux-based Fire Control is wanted and warranted, which comes down to solving the problems Windows forces on all users.
First is cost and that is a minor problem even if you are talking about a full retail purchase of it. The biggest problem with Windows is that it is constantly wanting to force you to update, which is more than annoying (and it certainly is, and constantly). Second, which ties to the updates requirement, is that you have to tie your machine control to the internet. The only folks who don’t mind this are simply not thinking it through and/or have never experienced the inevitable machine outage you get to “enjoy” during the process of fixing a totally unnecessary, unintentional but real sabotage of your machine.
Personally, the reason I strongly desire the Linux experience is so that I can get my machine running fine, then make absolutely ZERO changes to the control and expect it to continue to run exactly as successfully as it was last set up to do indefinitely.
If you’re surfing the net or modeling 3D stuff and want to be kept up-to-date on the latest features, etc., then updates can be what you want. But for a machine control, by far the best approach to it is to segregate the thing from the entire universe once you have it set up and working acceptably. You can always update if you want, but with constant updates coming sometimes weekly, you never know when you walk up to the machine whether you’ll be able to actually use the thing or not. And all this stemming from a stance by the OS gatekeeper deciding that they know better what your computer needs are than you do.
A machine control is a pretty special case use for a PC and this need for it to 1) run solidly & consistently and 2) the total lack of need for constant changes to it is contrary to what 99% of what people usually want a computer for.
Anyways, I wouldn’t expect that Langmuir would toss out an XP port ever, but the reason behind wanting it is SOUND, and this reason would be solved with a Linux port and celebrated by those of us who will use it. The mention of a Linux version “coming soon” so many years ago was one reason I purchased a machine in the first place, so thus far it’s something where Langmuir has fallen short on promises. Good thing is, that promise can be fulfilled 100% by providing an online download !.
Release the Linux!

Also, not sure if the developers are considering this, but the open-source nature of Linux opens up the option of not only providing a Linux-compatible Fire Control, but also (if considered to be beneficial) a complete .iso of a Linux distro with Fire Control and any other typical softwares packaged up and ready to install with a click, i.e. a whole OS (optimized and set up to function well out of the gate) specially configured and focused on running Fire Control. I dunno with certainty, but my understanding is that creating these .iso packages is trivial compared to the effort developing applications like Fire Control, so if that’s true it could be an easy afterthought kind of thing maybe.

Rant off

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Exactly what vinito said.

I owned the original crossfire and loved it, except dealing with windows and its random downtimes due to “updates”. I ended up with a workflow where I would use my mac laptop to use fusion and generate the g-code file in a dropbox folder. Then I would use wife’s mac with windows in parallels in it, and would only use it for mach3. It got really old over time.

Just for this reason I could not consider a crossfire pro or any other bigger table under my budget at that time. I found squickmons which offered a 4x8 at a great price. I talked to their customer service and downloaded their windows based control software, and found it ugly enough to just cross it out.

I was impressed with FireControl from the specs but too bad I had the first gen crossfire.

Then I somehow scraped enough for an ArcLight 4x8 and at that time the XR came out and I put in a deposit before realizing it is again windows based while ArcLight has been using Linux for years without issues. Got the XR deposit refunded and went with AL, paying way more than XR. I love how the AL computer starts under 15 seconds and shuts down under 10. Zero issues. I don’t even keep that computer connected to the internet. I just rsync the dxf files from my mac laptop, then run sheetcam and commandCnC in that tiny computer.

Point of the story is, LS will benefit a LOT by offering a linux based FireControl. Because everyone has their own computer for business workflow and design software. It does not have to be the same computer that controls the cnc table. Let that control computer be linux and there will be nothing but happy customers for years to come.

This is one of the reasons that the mini PC that runs my table is not connected to the internet. I have a version of Firecontrol and Windows 10 that work well together and I don’t want that to change. File transfers take place with a mini USB stick.

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Use a static ip remove the gateway ip from the nic, use a local user account. No more internet access windows issue solved

Vinito your rant is not just a rant, it has many valid points.

As a software and systems engineer that works with automated control systems (PLC’s etc.) that control machines and manufacturing processes, I can tell you “Windows” is a four letter word.

To be a reliable “controller”, it should be as close to a single purpose device as possible, and that is precisely the opposite of what a laptop running Windows is. That OS and all of it’s user friendly, Microsoft forced “features” are meant to try to be “everything to everyone”.

Linux can be a very stable OS. But to be fair, once you give it a GUI (like Gnome desktop, etc.) , and start running a bunch of other apps on it (Inkscape, whatever), you head down a similar path. And then you’ll decide you want to run one more app, and find yourself updating the OS… although you’ll likely have far fewer problems with Linux package managers than Windows updates to be sure.

The point is, the more you treat and use a Linux distro like Windows, the more similar issues you will have.

In industrial use, the Linux instances are very, very minimalized. You start with a bare-bones OS and only install EXACTLY what is needed for the functionality required. No more. And you never update anything unless explicitly required. And therein lies the stability, reliability, ease of troubleshooting, and ease of getting back to running when something does go wrong.

As an aside, it is not exactly easy for the average use to build and maintain a Linux install. It seems to me a FireControl linux “distro” packaged up and ready to go would be most useful (as vinitio said). Trying to decipher issues with YUM, APT-GET, RPMs and repos won’t be fun for the average user.

With regard to “unplugging from the internet”, on Windows this is likely related to two problems; Automatic Updates, which can be turned off (but then the user has to manage it), and browsing and using internet sites without sufficient and up-to-date anti-virus/malware software. But the other thing it does is make it oh so easy to just download and install that “other cool software”… and eventually one of those installs will clobber something you really need to stay stable.

It will be interesting to see how Langmuir decides to deploy software updates (via package manager, fresh new .iso, docker image, etc.)

Yeah that’s what I saw in my mind’s eye regarding the “Fire Control Distro”. The only thing I wonder about on that is how difficult or not hardware compatibility might be. It should be easy enough for folks to use most any hardware they find and have things operate fine once the OS is installed (Linux has come a LONG way on that since the old days and in my experience it has always “just worked”). That’s why I suggested the distro approach - in other words, I don’t know either way, but I could imagine that a dedicated Fire Control based on the industrial, minimalized instance might also be limited to a much more specific hardware list. Of course I could be totally wrong and that might also be a non-issue these days too. You would certainly know much better about those facets than I do.

Just watching from afar with my popcorn in hand, I still feel convinced that a Linux Fire Control is so far on the back burner at Langmuir that I don’t hold much hope for it being a thing ever. I can only guess of course, but I have very strong doubts that we’ll ever see it. Langmuir is involved in their new plasma cutter plus the CNC mill. Though I genuinely complain about the lack of Linux Fire Control, I understand enough about human nature to guess that they’ll be way more interested in putting efforts toward the new, shiny stuff than their now old first stabs at breaking their business out. Unfortunate. I sound bitter and demeaning I think, but all I’m trying to say is that had Langmuir peaked with the CF Pro, I’m sure lots more time & effort would continue to go into expanding and slicking up Fire Control for it- compared to the reality that they are expanding their company and catalog in interesting other ways and putting available resources into the new instead. To rebut this I simply say that at least part of my decision to order a CF Pro is that they declared that Linux Fire Control was “coming soon” and thus far fall short on that promise. I like my CFPro OK, I would just like it better if…

I don’t know if it would go anywhere, but at some point it would be interesting if Langmuir, having abandoned their early efforts to history, might release as open source the control software so interested customers might take that and run with it. I’m not saying they’ve abandoned it yet already, but it seems more than possible in the future. All guesses on my part.

I use windows with firecontrol but I very much like to use Linux, especially an ARM build. APT package is fine (even if these days the snap or flatpack might be a much better option). I would NOT be interested in an entire distribution optimized for Firecontrol, UNLESS it’s for a Raspberry pi or something similar - that would be such a good idea.

Now, to be honest, I am not sure why people are having so much trouble with windows. Firecontrol does not require a lot of computational power, and I use it on a laptop with a crapton of “enterprise” software that do security checks, mail and messaging in the background (Outlook, Teams). No, I tend not to have video meetings while cutting because of the noise but I see no reason why it wouldn’t work. My suspicion is that people that are experiencing problems have a very weird setup and they should simply format their computer.

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There’s a problem with Raspberry Pi in that they aren’t available anywhere and they aren’t expecting to begin restocking until at least 2023 last I heard. To me, this exposes a vulnerability with it that you can’t say won’t rear its head again after they are back in the flow. I don’t know if ARM of other types are experiencing similar, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was. Not saying it wouldn’t be a cool option, but many potential customers might not already have one on a shelf so they would be dead in the water if that was the main focus option (which it wouldn’t be, just pointing out the issue)

It’s not that people are “having so much trouble with windows” currently with Fire Control, it’s the possibility (another vulnerability) of trouble with Windows, which stems from those of us having treaded both paths in the past and experienced trouble with Windows in comparison to Linux, which honestly is actually more likely with the newer version of Windows vs. Linux.

Personally, the biggest problem I have with the Windows on my machine PC is that it is pretty much constantly in a state of requiring a Windows update and not only is that annoying, but it is a constant reminder that I don’t like that about Windows AND every update contains the potential for breaking changes. Once I set up my machine and it’s running fine, then I simply do not care to change it or even add features at the risk of causing a machine outage of unknown duration. For me, once it’s up and running well, there should be NO reason to ever experience any glitches with it short of a hardware failure. That is impossible with a Windows OS enclosing the whole thing.

Its time for you to move on, go to Fakebook and spew your rants …getting old. Turn off updates on windows problem solved for FU#$ sake…

If you have a working Windows/Firecontrol setup, there is absolutely no reason you would have to update anything that could break it.

What you describe is a dedicated machine control, which is essentially what I have with a Windows 10 mini PC that is only used to control the table. That machine has no internet connection and no way for Windows to automatically update anything.

I’m willing to endure the minor annoyance of having to transfer files by USB drive, to avoid the issues related to having the machine connected to the internet.

A Linux version would probably be useful to a very small minority of the Langmuir user base, so it would seem to be a waste of resources to focus on it.

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I have installed and maintained hundreds and hundreds of windows instances. some of them handling critical infrastructure, successfully and reliably for many years. That was exactly my point. it is not a Linux or a Windows thing specifically, it is how you treat that instance. If you want your CNC laptop to also be your daily browser, run your tax software and your games, you are getting far away from a “controller” and you are going to have issues.

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I disagree, a normal computer should be able to do videoconference, fusion 360, be a controller for the Crossfire, play video games, have developer tools and virtual machines all of that without the need for a reboot for weeks. If that is not possible, something is broken: format that computer and perform a clean reinstall (reinstall without format is NOT a solution). It does not take much time and the result has a high chance of working.

Now, to be honest, I am not sure why people are having so much trouble with windows. Firecontrol does not require a lot of computational power, and I use it on a laptop with a crapton of “enterprise” software that do security checks, mail and messaging in the background (Outlook, Teams)…

its not the computational requirements of fire control that makes a linux machine appealing, its the fact that you can take a antiquated laptop or desktop that wont support win10 (that are usually free), install linux and have a machine capable of running firecontrol or Mach that doesnt use 100% of the system resources just to run the operating system.