Announce - Open Source CNC website

Yes I checked the charters and I don't believe this is in breach.
Basically following recent discussions on alt.machines.cnc and
rec.crafts.metalworking it became apparent to me that there is a lot of interest in the Open Source aspect of CNC in general, but no real central repository of information.
Yes there are specific websites such as LinuxCNC org, but that won't help you with finding ballscrews locally for your own CNC project, or help you with a specific G code problem, or suchlike.
So, I have today registered http://www.open-source-cnc.com/ and it is now up and live in a very basic form, work very much in progress, but there is enough there to register as a user and most importantly participate. Yes folks, this is not a site about me, but about CNC so it needs users but most importantly in the early days it needs moderators and admins.
If you feel you fit the bill then drop me a line, ideally sign up as a member first, then tell me what thankless task you're up for, so I can simply click a button and make it so. NB I don't care who you are, only if you can do the necessary, so if you flamed me or agreed with me on a thread somewhere that makes no difference.
Note well, this site is based on OPEN SOURCE, not profit, proprietary systems, lock in, or any such, and that applies to the site too, so there is no way in hell there is ever going to be commercial influences such as selling the user database, biased articles or content, or god forbid bloody adverts cluttering up the site. As far as privacy goes the site uses cookies, and that's it, they just exist for the user login / personal preferences thing.
I don't have any specific visions about what it should become, it could die of lack of interest, or it could become whatever the users decide they need, I don't mind, I have no agenda.
Anyway, that's about the size of it, if this wasted your bandwidth then apologies, if not then hope to see you soon.
Just time to sign off with a happy and prosperous 2006 to you all.
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    [ ... ]

    So -- if you are basing it on open source software, why are you requiring a *proprietary* archive format, RAR? I had to do a Google search to even find out what it is, and it appears to originate in the Windows world.
    I've found free downloads of compiled object code for both Solaris 10 and OpenBSD, but no source code -- totally at odds with the Open Source goal which you have stated.
    And those free downloads are only for programs to *extract* the files, not to *create* them, so you are requiring people to buy software to contribute to an open source site? I see no mention of any other formats being acceptable.
    What is wrong with tar? That is pretty freely available source, and works well with the linux machines on which a lot of the open source CNC machines are hosted.
    Just some first-glance impressions.
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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DoN. Nichols wrote:

see, that's PRECISELY why the open source ethos works so well.... the consensus view wins and many eyes see all the problems quickly.
I also say nothing is written in stone, so you've proposed tar I believe? if a consensus follows around that archive format, or indeed around 3 or 4 basic ones, it's not the slightest problem to make that happen.
I feel a poll coming on, see the site.... poll now on home page on the right
cheers
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    Hmm ... some comments on the poll and its choices -- aside from it apparently requiring registration and login, which I normally avoid if possible (Obviously, I would have to register and login if I wanted to submit something, but while browsing a site, I tend to opt to not register.):
1)    tar, alone, builds archives (collections of files in a single     file), but has no compression.
2)    gzip (GNU zip) is compression *only*, of a single file at a     time.
3)    So -- a combination of tar and gzip will produce a compressed     file holding many files. (And, it can be done with a "-z"     option to GNU's version of tar, for convenience.) This     combination is so common, that it has acquired its own name. It     is called a "tarball".
4)    An alternative compression format, "bzip2", can offer slightly     greater compression, and can be invoked by the option "-j" fed     to GNU's tar instead of "-z".
    gzip is more commonly found, so it would probably be the best     combined with tar if only a single format were to be used.
    So -- your survey needs "combinations of ..." as well as "a     choice of".
5)    A choice is common on many source archive sites -- tar combined     with gzip and tar combined with bzip2 being the most common for     unix sources.
    "Uncompressed" tends to be infrequently used -- usually for the     sources for the compression programs (like gzip) themselves.     These tend to be small programs, so the extra system load for     the downloading is relatively minor. For large program suites,     such as EMC, compressed versions should be all that is     available. (Set a size limitation above which compression is     mandatory.)
    Perhaps add a choice of something common in Windows which does     not require proprietary software to create on unix systems. A     version of "zip" is frequently found on modern unix systems, and     is in freely available source format as well.
    Ideally -- you should have links to the open source code sites     for each *required* format, so nobody is forced to buy a package     (like RAR) to submit a program.
6)    Perhaps have an option to submit in one of several formats, and     scripts on the site to expand these and then re-join them using     the other formats?
7)    ARJ and ACE are two others with which I am not familiar. I     don't think that I will bother with a Google search on those at     this time, however.
8)    While we're about it -- documentation should avoid proprietary     formats, such as Microsoft Word. Plain ASCII is a good choice,     or if you need something with fancy formatting, make it PDF     format. (Yes, I know that you have to pay Adobe to have their     program able to create PDF files -- but we've got other options     as well for that, since Ghostscript can also create PDF files,     and that is available in Open Source form.
    Just some thoughts.
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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DoN. Nichols wrote:

Give it a couple of years and they'll agree a file format. Next will come the tricky decision on what the logo should be.
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DoN. Nichols wrote:

participants get a vote, it's just a filter.

I'd put money on this coming out in a week or so

Good point, noted.
cheers
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    As I indicated a bit farther down -- that combinations of the protocols would work nicely.
    DoN.
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    Compress (based on the Lempel-Ziv algorithm) had fallen out of favor because the algorithm was patented, and the holder of the patent (Unisys) was insisting on charging royalties for any use of it (after it had been open source for a time) -- with no exceptions for open-source freely-distributed programs. I *think* that the patent has now expired, so it is freely available again, but gzip and bzip2 are so much more efficient that there seems to be little likelihood that the older compress will come back into common usage.
    I note that it does come with Sun's Solaris -- at least from SunOs 4.1.4 all the way up to Solaris 10. (Though I remember the days when I had to compile it to use it.)
    As for "compact" -- that may be truly antique, as I don't have any examples of it.
    The first three pages of Google hits for "compact program source" offered nothing of any apparent relevance.
    I do remember one program which I got from the OS-9 user's group library (Microware's OS-9, not the recent Macintosh one) which was a bit more configurable than most -- and as a result, it was the only one which worked on a BBN C70 (mostly v7 unix like), because that machine had 10-bit bytes, 20-bit words, and 40-bit longs. While "compress" worked well enough on plain text files, it totally blew up on binaries.
    This program, however, could be configured to the byte size, so it worked quite well on that system.
    Enjoy,         DoN.
P.S.    I may not see your replies, because I normally have you     killfiled to keep away from the political discussions. I     happened to follow a couple of thread branches into your     comments (which were marked as already read, but I knew that I     had *not* read them, just to see what they contained.
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On Sun, 01 Jan, Cliff wrote:

While it may exist somewhere, it's not ubiquitous enough to be useful any longer.

That's not at all the way I recall. gzip was better than compress on Ultrix, I believe, by a noticeable percentage.
It's all moot, IMHO. Neither compact or compress exist on nearly as many systems as gzip. Game, set, match. Many sites also provide bzip2 compressed files for download alongside gzip files because for large files, bzip2 can be a good bit smaller, which can be important to overall download times. But it's not ubiquitous enough to be the only way you provide something, either.
--Donnie
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On Mon, 02 Jan, Cliff wrote:

This doesn't matter then for the purposes of what we're talking about distributing since you wouldn't be able to install/build *that*, either.
--Donnie
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    Hmm ... pretty old program, if the man page is still concerned about filesystems which limit filenames to 14 characters (the old filesystem which came with v7 unix, and early SysV variants as well.
    I'm somewhat frustrated by the HP-UX (or the web page format) eliminating the "Last change: 9 Sep 1999" entry at the bottom of each page, which might make it easier to judge just how old compact(1) happens to be. That one was from Solaris 10. Solaris 2.6 shows: "Last change: 20 Dec 1996" Falling back to SunOs 4.1.4, I get: "Last change: 9 September 1987" and OpenBSD shows it as: "April 18, 1994". Of course, those dates apply to the last change of the man page, not the program, but at least some of the changes of the man page are to reflect changes in the program.

    I've seen gzip(1) usually giving a significant improvement over compress(1) on most file types -- at least on SunOs and Solaris (even on the Sun-3 (68020) machines).
    DoN.
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How about the Unix to Dos and Dos to Unix utilities!
UUENCode.exe - Wtar.exe Unix2Dos.exe Dos2unix.exe Hex40bin.exe
I have an archive of them. Martin
Martin Eastburn @ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net NRA LOH & Endowment Member NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Founder
DoN. Nichols wrote:

-
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    Those are obviously the ones to run on DOS. The unix ones have the same names (all lower case), without the ".exe" -- except for the hex40bin one, which I think is for dealing with older Mac archives. And you left out uudecode(1). (For those who don't know -- the "(1)" at the end of the program names is a clue that they are in section one of the unix man pages -- therefore they are commands. And -- it is not typed when typing the command name to execute it. "(2)" is for system calls in c, "(3)" is library functions in c. Various other meanings for the other digits, which may vary from unix flavor to unix flavor.
    All of the named programs come with most flavors of unix, except the "hex40bin" one listed above.
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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Sticking with this thread.
Found an excellent source of CNC hardware, ball screws, linear products, you name it, so done a quick article about them on the site at http://www.open-source-cnc.com/content.php?article.6
This guy is Boeing certified, Open Source friendly, and only recently set up himself after the company he used to work for outsourced production from the Uk to the Far East.
There's a moral in there somewhere, if I could only work out what it was.
cheers
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"tanks" Don -
IIRC, I got those many moon ago when Schlumberger was funding some development of these and modem utilities. 1980 - 85 ish. I did have that 3 ring binder - but it likely got mildew and dumped. Rats. took a quick scan - and my little IT book is not to be found. Such is life. At the time, IBM email was really different than many of us on other nets - they changed externally - not sure internally due to the software design. Kinda fun days in the early net - customers coming alive in more ways than one!
Martin
Martin Eastburn @ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net NRA LOH & Endowment Member NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Founder
DoN. Nichols wrote:

-
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snipped-for-privacy@d-and-d.com (DoN. Nichols) wrote:

I would suggest that all core choices be supported on all three major platforms, Windows, MacOS, and Linux/UNIX. This rule ensures wide support, and pretty much precludes proprietary lock-in.
In the Windows worlds, it's pretty easy to accidentally become windows-dependent, and be trapped in the Windows Upgrade Treadmill. Requiring demonstrated support for at least one of the the other two platforms prevents accidental addiction. ActiveX controls are a particular danger.
Avoiding the treadmill is another big reason to stick with plain old ISO C.

I agree. If I register, then more junk mail is likely. As if we don't already get enough junk mail.
[snip]

Works on MacOS too.

Aside from problems with proprietary lock-in, there is the problem with formats becoming obsolete and becoming orphans, so the core formats should be both open and widely used for decades, with a large enough user base to ensure perpetual support, whatever the fortunes of the current supporting entities.

Although pdf is proprietary, it is documented. Adobe publishes the full file format in a widely available book, allowing widespread 3rd-party support. So, documents prepared using even Word and then converted to pdf will be understandable forever, even if both MS and Adobe were to vanish. The problem occurs when one wants to update the original document, although there are tools to go from PDF to MS Word.
The problem is that plain ASCII doesn't do drawings very well, so someone's drawing package will be needed.
Nor does ascii do justice to mathematical equations. Internet RFCs are all plain ascii, except for RFC-1305 (NTPv3). The reason that 1305 was given an exemption was that there was no way to render the equations in ascii.
Joe Gwinn
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Joseph Gwinn wrote:

No way, no how, no chance.
I BLOODY HATE sites that force you to register, THEN use the mere posession of your email address as implied permission to send you crap promo emails every week.
There is NO WAY IN HELL www.open-source-cnc.com is going to mail anyone, except in the following specific circumstances.
1/ you ELECT to be notified by email if a thread of the forums you're watching has a follow up.
2/ you ELECT to sign up for the newsletter as/when/if it is implemented
3/ the admins think there is a REALLY good reason to notify all users of something, off hand, since the site doesn't do e-commerce and so cannot be holding anything like credit card or social security numbers, I can't think of a single reason that qualifies.
For the record, I was a long time subscriber to NANAE and NANAU, ran my own servers etc, was involved in the anti spam game, and can guarantee the only mail anyone is going to get is mail they want, proper genuine requested mails, no spammer lies / doublespeak about opt-in, double optin etc
hope this clears that point up, if it doesn't, ask away, no secrets here.
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    [ ... ]

    You would be amazed at the number of delivery attempts I block on the basis of originating IP address. (And for the past couple of weeks, there seems to be a new spaming (or is it virus) package out there which doesn't take refusal to allow a connection as meaning that they should stop. one of them tried 3570 times between
    "Dec 30 03:37:48" and "Dec 30 06:56:31"
before I set a static route to the loopback address to keep my logfiles from getting too large for their directory. That is 3 hours 19 minutes approximately, or 1078 attempts per hour. And this was only the largest number of attempts that are still in the last maillog.
    I wrote some scripts to make it easy to extract every one which tried over 100 times in a short period, and then started adding them to the static routing as well. That kept things under control.
    The reason I suspect a virus is that it all went quiet yesterday, though I'm not sure in which time zone it happened. But sudden worldwide switch-off behavior is very virus-like.

    The problem is that this is the expectation when you have to register for a site.

    As one who knows NANAE and NANAU (usenet newsgroups dedicated to fighting spam in e-mail and usnet), this makes *me* feel a bit better. But I *still* won't be registering at your site until I feel a personal need to post there.
    I also ran my own usenet server -- until my ISP dropped all support for usenet -- after which I switched ISPs. The new one is *supposed* to offer a (partial) feed, but nobody there knows who I talk to to set it up. :-( And -- their own news server drops my postings about every third posting. I have to watch for the notice that it went to ~/dead.article, and jump through hoops to read it back in and re-post it. I never had this problem with my own server, and not even with newsguy either -- though articles tended to expire a lot too quickly for my taste.

    This makes me feel better. But there is still the problem of what happens if someone is able to breach security on your web site. I'm running my web site on an OpenBSD box (which runs the web server in a chroot jail) and still don't trust it to hold anything truly sensitive.
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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DoN. Nichols wrote:

aye, nothing is 100% immune...
1/ that's why I decided to dost it on a "reseller" server with a pretty reputable bunch who know their onions, I could have made it marginally more secure myself but only by choosing between the expense of a dedicated colo or the inconvenience of restricted bandwidth.
2/ that's why I'm looking for two admins with enough savvy to spot potential problems as well as the ability to do periodic mysql dumps etc
3/ that's why it's based on a fiarly good open source CMS, namely e107
4/ _if_ someone is able to breach security it is a lot of effort, because everything worthwhile is open source anyway and freely available, the people who use open source are likely to be able to make things sticky for any wannabe cracker, and most of all it's a hell of a lot of offort to get a bunch of email addresses from people who are likely to be running their own domains anyway and quite able to create one off throwaway email addresses.
99.999% of the security comes from the rather obvious fact that there is an inexhaustible supply of far more juicy targets out there in just as easy reach.
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    [ ... ]

    You would be amazed at the number of delivery attempts I block on the basis of originating IP address. (And for the past couple of weeks, there seems to be a new spaming (or is it virus) package out there which doesn't take refusal to allow a connection as meaning that they should stop. one of them tried 3570 times between
    "Dec 30 03:37:48" and "Dec 30 06:56:31"
before I set a static route to the loopback address to keep my logfiles from getting too large for their directory. That is 3 hours 19 minutes approximately, or 1078 attempts per hour.
    I wrote some scripts to make it easy to extract every one which tried over 100 times in a short period, and then started adding them to the static routing as well. That kept things under control.
    The reason I suspect a virus is that it all went quiet yesterday, though I'm not sure in which time zone it happened. But sudden worldwide switch-off behavior is very virus-like.

    The problem is that this is the expectation when you have to register for a site.

    As one who knows NANAE and NANAU (usenet newsgroups dedicated to fighting spam in e-mail and usnet), this makes *me* feel a bit better. But I *still* won't be registering at your site until I feel a personal need to post there.
    I also ran my own usenet server -- until my ISP dropped all support for usenet -- after which I switched ISPs. The new one is *supposed* to offer a (partial) feed, but nobody there knows who I talk to to set it up. :-( And -- their own news server drops my postings about every third posting. I have to watch for the notice that it went to ~/dead.article, and jump through hoops to read it back in and re-post it. I never had this problem with my own server, and not even with newsguy either -- though articles tended to expire a lot too quickly for my taste.

    This makes me feel better. But there is still the problem of what happens if someone is able to breach security on your web site. I'm running my web site on an OpenBSD box (which runs the web server in a chroot jail) and still don't trust it to hold anything truly sensitive.
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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