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No Fault, Just Inconvenient

It certainly looks and reads here, like I am a Microsoft basher. Yes, I do point out the weaknesses that cause me to seek alternatives. What I do is pick the best tool for the requirements I need.

I can easily tolerate a Windows 10 system and its invasive habits as part of my office network. I need Windows 10 for all of my Microsoft OS design software I use every day. Windows 10 isn’t about to go away in my world.

I know my special needs make me a minority user, Microsoft (and all other) PC computers were never designed to be a primary machine control system. They are used for that because they CAN BE (until Windows 10.) So it is not a fault. Just an inconvenient change of operation system updating philosophy by Microsoft.

A machine control program named MACH3 specifically enabled CNC control on the Microsoft PC OS, to produce machine control operations. LinuxCNC does the same using Linux OS. It’s less polished but completely functional (and free).

My published comments are an alert that there are still workable alternatives available for using an omnibus multi-purpose tool such as a Microsoft personal computer for machine control. Use a Linux OS PC machine.

I will always have a Microsoft computer operating system in my list of active computers. There is just so much good software written only for the MS operating system. There is a reason it is number one in personal computers.

It is the lost of having total control using a Windows operating system that requires a near permanent connection to “outside” update management, that is my most serious concern. It keeps making fundamental changes to the system settings I choose. Second is the loss of privacy (real or imagined) this remote reporting and control requirement creates.

Primarily, I have now chosen Linux as my most secure machine control system. When I am using a computer to run machine tools I can’t tolerate any “outside” activity. Fiddling with my computer OS in a middle of a CNC run is NOT good.. My previous solution was to keep Microsoft machines off my network because of the Internet access. That works, but creates a need to manually transfer files between my MS based design computer and the machine control system. Or fiddling with a LAN cable plug-in on the rear of the shop computer to get connected again.

During “down” time I like to connect my CNC shop computers through my LAN and to the Internet to run system and software (such as LinuxCNC) updates. That’s done at MY convenience, not an automatic function of the operating system.

Linux continues to give me absolute manual control over Internet connections and updates. Microsoft has taken that absolute control away from the user and unto itself. That’s the real story of my cry of “Foul Ball!” No home run for Microsoft for machine control computers..

I also use the LAN connection for the reason of convenience and centralized management of file version control. I already mentioned, my network is more than an Internet connection. I use a NAS (Network Attached Storage) server to store my CNC production and development files. I always keep backup files on several computers for redundancy, and it is far easier to do that on a wired network rather than a “sneaker net” using USB thumb drives.

A high cost dedicated control-only computer is an ultimate CNC solution. I am thankful I still have a nearly free alternative that does what I need, using a general purpose PC. Life is still good!


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