This page links to installers that will create a full, new Linux installation.

For alternative installation methods, or instructions on installing these files see: Getting LinuxCNC

LinuxCNC 2.8 Downloads

LinuxCNC requires a realtime kernel if it is to be used to control machinery. There are two versions of the package, “linuxcnc-uspace” and “linuxcnc”

“linuxcnc-uspace” is compatible with the preempt-rt realtime kernel, which is close to standard Linux. This version runs in userspace like most other applications and will run with any preempt-rt kernel.

“linuxcnc-uspace” will also run on a standard Linux kernel for use as a simulator, but it should not be used to control hardware.

“linuxcnc” (without a suffix) is a package which runs in kernel space and needs a specific RTAI kernel, which we also supply. (ie the exact kernel version installed must match that which the package was built against.) This has been the default mode for linuxcnc for decades, but has become increasingly difficult to maintain. This mode is currently less stable than the uspace option (but only when unloading, it appears stable once realtime is running) but can give much better latency on some machines. Note that it is only parallel-port controlled systems using software-based stepping and/or encoder counting that need particularly good latency performance.

It is also possible to run linuxcnc-uspace, in user-space, with the RTAI kernel if the helper package “linuxcnc-uspace-rtai” is installed. This is something of a half-way house between the other two versions. A similar package can be built for the Xenomai realtime kernel, but is not available as a pre-built package.

The Debian 10 Buster ISO will install a full Debian system with the required realtime kernel and the linuxcnc-uspace application. It uses a PREEMPT-RT patched kernel which is close to mainstream Linux but does not, in some cases, give quite such good realtime performance as the previous RTAI kernel. It is very often more than good enough. It should probably be the first version tried even if using a parallel port. This is compatible with all Mesa and Pico interface boards.

  • LinuxCNC 2.8.4 Debian 10 Buster RTAI

The more adventurous can install the Buster ISO and then install the experimental RTAI kernel as described in 2.8 documents The kernel-mode RTAI installation can not be used with Mesa Ethernet-interfaced cards.

Raspberry Pi 4 Uspace compatible with Mesa Ethernet and SPI interface boards.

Regular development builds (several times a day) can be found here.

More information on downloading and installing is in the LinuxCNC Documents

LinuxCNC Packages

LinuxCNC debian packages aka .deb files can be installed on a system with dpkg from the command line or with GDebi as a graphical install method. You will need to have a compatible realtime kernel to control machinery.