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.


Matt Walton said...

Don't upgrade to 13.04 yet if you use haskell-platform - the package doesn't exist because they upgraded to GHC 7.6 and there's no platform release for that compiler yet. Personally I think that's a good reason to stick with GHC 7.4 for another cycle, but apparently they didn't.

JP Moresmau said...

Matt, thanks for the tip! I'll wait for the next Haskell Platform release, then.

FRLinux said...

Also to get the previous windows look and feel, download the open source software classicshell, that is a must have.