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  • O/T PC recomendations to run Linux

    After the mass of defense of methods used by Microsoft , I will ask the knowledge base , what NEW Desk top (no Dells or Apples) , would be the best to use in a business that does not want to spend weeks or months setting up hardware and software to allow them to work as normal , Emails , some word processing for billing , quotes etc .
    And the ability to run CAD , go onto the net and download manuals / parts lists , supplier catalogues .
    Must have DVD burning capability for backup .

    Michael

  • #2
    You just shot yourself in the foot when you typed cad. There are a few open source cad packages but no one in the industry uses them. Everything for cad us under windows for the most part.

    Why not dell? Decent machines for the price.

    Otherwise just go down to a local pc shop and get an i7 based machine, it will run for years.

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    • #3
      Hi Michael
      Since I only run "vintage" hardware I won't make specific hardware recommendations, but I will offer a few comments.
      Probably the biggest problems you'll encounter are video and wireless network drivers. Quite often the manufacturers will not offer
      Linux drivers for their devices or even the information required to write a driver so individuals wind up having to reverse engineer
      them. Some of the Linux drivers offered by manufacturers are closed sourced so you have to wait until they decide if a bug is worth
      fixing. I mention this because you are talking about new hardware and sometimes it takes some time for the drivers to catch up.
      I would recommend you select a couple of Linux distros and download their live CD ISOs and burn some disks. Take them to where
      you want to by your machine and request that they boot the disks on the hardware that interests you. While I don't think it will meet
      your needs, I'm running Tinycore Linux. It runs just fine for me on a 686 Pentium, 800Mhz, 512Mbytes of RAM.
      Location: Long Island, N.Y.

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      • #4
        I have decided to dump as much Microsoft products as is possible , as many may have noticed I dont like the "you must agree to our terms or you cant run this software"
        If I buy a tool for an application there is no way that I am willing to allow the maker to dictate how or where I use that tool , same applies to software.
        Eyeyrone can go on as long as they like about IP and all of the associated legal stuff.
        I am tired of having someone in another country control how I use software that I have purchased a licence to use as until recently there was no other way to get anything which worked, and if I buy something that I can tailor to my needs then no licence no constant upgrade and I may even be able to remove the GUI which take up a lot of memory just to look nice.

        Text with a list of files is far quicker to search through and much of the daily stuff can be set up so that access only requires one word to access email , internet , and whatever the actual processes can be hidden , exactly like the GUI but with no GUI.
        I have fitted a lot of folders on a screen and could access what ever I wanted by use of the mouse or arrow keys , made sure that the ability to switch between the two was easy , didnt require a lot of digging into obscure files buried in nearly inaccessable folders like the current systems do .

        That was a few years ago , now it looks like I will have to pass on some work to setup a pc which will do what I want with no input from a monopolistic corporation which doesnt want to help customers , just take their money and run.

        I wont really care if I allow others to use my ideas either as I dont believe in that way of getting money .
        But that is another entire post on a different subject .

        Michael
        Michael

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        • #5
          Yup, CAD is an issue as most commercial applications run only under Windows (go figure).

          But other than that, your needs would be fulfilled with Ubuntu. You can download that, burn it to a bootable CD or make a bootable USB stick so you can try it. It is of course slower than when installed, but lets you try out things. The Ubuntu comes with LibreOffice, Thunderbird, Firefox etc, so it is ready as soon as you install it. Just config your email settings and that's about it.
          Amount of experience is in direct proportion to the value of broken equipment.

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          • #6
            What would be so wrong with the machining and engineering communities banding together and specifying that programs be made run on different platforms , that would be good .

            But I do suppose that to get agreement within those two groups let alone expect them to collaborate would be akin to herding cats.

            Michael

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            • #7
              +1 on installing Ubuntu - version 12.04 has long term support and is stable. If you don't want the GUI, then load the server version. www.ubuntu.com

              Ian
              All of the gear, no idea...

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              • #8
                I had several bad experiences with Dells and the company in the previous few years , and why buy a product that basically tells the purchaser that you can only use their proprietary cards etc.

                I will try Ian B 's suggestion on a new pc as soon as it arrives and if I can get reasonably free of the other stuff then great , I am due to purchase a new CAD program , might stick it to them as part of the specs , that it has to be able to run on something other than Microsofts products .

                Michael

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                • #9
                  when running linux you have three issues to overcome: operating system installation, software installation, and ease of use.

                  for operating system installation, i would say that you will probably be okay on a brand new pc, but probably even safer to install on a machine that is just a little older. newer linux distributions do a pretty good job of identifying the hardware in your system and installing a driver for it, but with hardware you aren't guaranteed to have drivers until the card / chipset is out in the world. in general this is a non-issue because the os will most likely recognize the underlying chipsets on a card, but hardware that is older than the operating system version will be virtually guaranteed to be supported. if you are familiar with pc hardware you can check your internal components to make sure they are supported. the various linux distributions will have a list of all the supported hardware - generally based on the underlying chipset and not specifically the vendor that branded and marketed the piece. as was noted earlier, wireless network cards often require a little bit of a nudge to work, but you should have no trouble finding clear directions on how to install and configure the drivers. my only rule when installing any brand of operating system: make sure you have another working internet connected computer so you can search online to troubleshoot.

                  software installation is generally pretty easy. i only have recent experience with ubuntu, but i'm sure that the other distributions are similar in that they have a tool that allows you to select from a library of software to install. many common software packages will install automatically. browsers such as firefox and chrome are available, and will function virtually the same as they do under windows. there are a myriad of mail clients - i've never used it, but thunderbird is the mail compliment to firefox, and it is available. filezilla ftp client and 7zip are utilities that i already used under windows, so they were natural choices under linux too. adobe pdf reader is there, and there are many other useful utilities you can install for free. open office and now libre office are linux freeware packages that are word/excel compatible.

                  since you mentioned cad, i assume that you have a specific application that you require? if not, there are a bunch of freeware linux versions that will allow you do open, edit, print, and save in standard cad formats: dxf, dwg, etc. if you do need a specific program you may or may not be able to use it. often you can use an emulator that basically imitates windows to allow you to run a session of your windows based software. sometimes it will work, sometimes it won't. some software will work, but requires you to have a machine that can boot to windows or linux, thus allowing you to install the software under windows and later be able to run it through the emulator within linux. if you need a specific windows application, i would take an older pc and try to figure out if you can get your application to run on linux before taking too much of a plunge. there are numerous places to look for support on things like this, the only downside is that often the answer is out there, but you (and i) aren't capable of understanding the answer.

                  ease of use may vary, but you should not have any issue. the default interface for ubuntu 10.04 (2010 release) was very intuitive for a windows xp/vista/7 user. ubuntu 12.04 (2012) i do not find as appetizing, though i still use it. part of that is laziness. these operating systems are free and thus can be configured many ways. there are other interfaces you can use that may be more or less exciting to work with, depending on what you want.

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                  • #10
                    A bit off the mark with respect to the original question, but you might consider a Mac. The OS is remarkably robust and there are some good cad packages for it. A Mac mini is pretty affordable.

                    I have worked with Unix & Linux operating systems since the mid 80's (and DEC minicomputers before that), so I have more than a passing knowledge of them. I still work with Linux now (RedHat & CentOS) and have a couple of CentOS boxes at home, but I use a Mac laptop as a personal machine. I'm going to add a Mac Mini to the home network pretty soon for video editing and CAD (with CadOpia).

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                    • #11
                      We run lenovo's, they come preloaded with windows from a supplier, but find because of the ex ibm history things usually work fine under the alternative. Lot of the smaller companies produce assembled from parts pc's which are pretty compatible as they use standard components from the suppliers. My main desktop is a q180 lenovo silent pc running gentoo and my only gripe is "silent" means different things to different people. Its whisper quiet, but its not as silent as the pasively cooled Targa mini pc it replaced which had no fans whatsoever in it.

                      Looking around at the rack, theres only one machine with windows on it, and thats running inside a virtual machine under a linux host os that just gets kept around for legacy testing.

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                      • #12
                        for cad - might look at freecad..

                        http://www.freecadweb.org/

                        I have it installed but have only lightly played with it. (I was corrupted by autocad in the 90 and it is hard for me to wrap my head around parametric modeling...)

                        sam

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                        • #13
                          Just a data point:

                          1) Use Ubuntu on 4 computers for workshop.

                          2) QCad (2d cad) is absolutely fine.

                          3) CamBam works just fine on Linux.

                          4) Am thinking of running virtual box with a windows XP partition for some of the 3D CAD packages, but have not bothered yet.

                          For me, points 1-3 currently do 100% of my CNC stuff; Linux for desktops, LinuxCNC machines for running CNC machines.

                          Seems to work. :-)

                          John.

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                          • #14
                            I recently broke one of the main rules of computing - never power down a running system. Of course, powering it up again let the magic smoke out (on my main desktop, no less).

                            I got one of these to replace it - an ASUS VivoPC VM40B-S003M. It's basically an appliance that looks something like a kitchen scale - small, cheap and quiet. I upgraded the RAM memory to whatever was the maximum that would fit (8 or 16 Gb - I don't recall), and I will be putting Linux Mint on it (Mint is Ubuntu with the stupid removed).

                            I have no particular need to do CAD on it, but I am certain it will do just fine for surfing the internet, e-mail, office-type applications, photo retouching and so on. It has an internal 500Gb HDD, but I also store everything to two independent NAS boxes with RAID which are on my home network.

                            This will be my first experiment with appliance-type computing (up to now I have always built my own desktops from quality components, and never had any trouble, beyond end-of-lifetime component failures). I am fairly confident that the technology is now powerful and stable enough to be used and treated as an appliance, instead of a major investment.

                            ETA: Dassault DraftSight CAD software worked fine on my new defunct Ubuntu box. I expect it will also run on Mint on the new appliance.
                            Last edited by Euph0ny; 02-03-2014, 11:24 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by skunkworks View Post
                              for cad - might look at freecad..

                              http://www.freecadweb.org/

                              I have it installed but have only lightly played with it. (I was corrupted by autocad in the 90 and it is hard for me to wrap my head around parametric modeling...)

                              sam
                              +1 for that one. Haven't too played much with it yet, as the controls are not intuitive for me yet as I've accustomed to MasterCAM mainly. But, have somethings sketched and made in to solid models
                              Amount of experience is in direct proportion to the value of broken equipment.

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