[Haskell-cafe] Cabal failures...

Erik de Castro Lopo mle+hs at mega-nerd.com
Wed Nov 21 03:05:45 CET 2012

Albert Y. C. Lai wrote:

> Clearly, since >90% of computers have Windows, it should be trivial to 
> find one to test on, if a programmer wants to. Surely every programmer 
> is surrounded by Windows-using family and friends? (Perhaps to the 
> programmer's dismay, too, because the perpetual "I've got a virus again, 
> can you help?" is so annoying?) We are not talking about BeOS.
> Therefore, if programmers do not test on Windows, it is because they do 
> not want to.

I have been an open source contributor for over 15 years. All the general
purpose machines in my house run Linux. My father's and my mother-in-law's
computers also run Linux (easier for me to provide support). For testing
software, I have a PowerPC machine and virtual machines running various
versions of Linux, FreeBSD and OpenBSD.

What I don't have is a windows machine. I have, at numerous times, spent
considerable amounts of time (and even real money for licenses) setting
up (or rather trying to) windows in a VM and it is *always* considerably
more work to set up, maintain and fix when something goes wrong. Setting
up development tools is also a huge pain in the ass. And sooner or later
they fail in some way I can't fix and I have to start again. Often its
not worth the effort.

At my day job we have on-demand windows VMs, but I am not officially
allowed (nor do I intend to start) to use those resources for my open
source work.

So is it difficult for an open source contributor to test on windows?
Hell yes! You have no idea how hard windows is in comparison to say
FreeBSD. Even Apple's OS X is easier than windows, because I have
friends who can give me SSH access to their machines.

Erik de Castro Lopo

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