Thursday, May 09, 2013

Moving from Windows 8 to Ubuntu (I'm a Haskell on Windows developer no more!)

I bought myself a new laptop the other day, and while I'm happy with it, it came with Windows 8. This wasn't an issue per se, once I looked up on the internet how to find the "shut down" button... Sure, the gestures are a bit annoying when you don't have a touch screen, but I could live with that.

But then I started running into familiar issues again, as I tried to set all the Haskell libraries I needed for a project: libraries not working on Windows, MinGW/MSYS/Cygwin hell, etc... I just couldn't take it anymore. So I guess this is an admission of defeat that when you need work done quickly using a significant number of Haskell libraries, you need a Unix based OS.

So I decided to dual boot the computer with Ubuntu. I don' really know why I chose Ubuntu, from looking around it looked like it was both stable and developer friendly.

I was first pleased to see that Windows would give me tools to resize my main partition. I remember a time where you had to use third party software to to do that!

I burned a DVD with the 12.10 image (I see 13.04 is out, I'll have to upgrade some day I suppose), and went with the Linux Secure install. It didn't recognize that I had a Windows install, so I configured my partitions and tried to understand what the messages about the boot loader meant. But when I restarted, I went straight to Windows as if Ubuntu didn't exist. So I restarted using the DVD, and launched the Boot Repair utility. At the end it told me that I had to change something in the UEFI options of the computer. I went in there and sure enough there was an entry for Ubuntu. Once I selected that, I could now see the dual boot screen, giving me the choice between Ubuntu and Windows, and both work! Success!

After that, not much sweat to report. I quickly appreciated apt-get, as opposed to the various downloads+install procedures you get for windows software. Sure, at the time I installed it, Eclipse was still 3.8 and not 4.2, but I'm not going to complain.

Ho, and the library I needed that I couldn't get to work on Windows? Installed like a charm.

I'm now a Ubuntu Haskell developer, and I don't regret it.