An unpleasant experience

A few years ago, I wrote a Rails (1.0.0) application for Nicola (my wife), to help her with her PhD research. It ran on her Linux laptop, happily, for those few years.

However, once the new laptop has arrived, I knew I'd have to migrate the application from Linux to Windows; I also wanted to avoid having to update the application for a newer version of Rails. How painful could it be? Fairly.

First I needed an old MySQL server (in case the API has changed), 5.0.15 to be precise. It is practically impossible to find archived downloads on the MySQL website, but I got there eventually.

Next I needed to get an old Ruby (1.8.4) for Windows. Again, virtually impossible to find old versions of Ruby with an installer. When I first did this, there was a Ruby 1.8.4 One-Click Installer for Windows, which seems to have disappeared. I finally tracked it down to some website run off some bloke's back somewhere out East.

Then, I needed Rails 1.0.0. For whatever reason, the Ruby I installed couldn't get Rails off the official gems repository (probably because the gem repo format changed). So I installed rails 1.0.0 on a different machine, created a new Rails project, then froze the 1.0.0 gems into it; then copied the frozen gems over to my app on the new machine. Phew.

Finally, I'd used RedCloth in the app. However, after a couple of attempts, I decided it was easier to rip it out than try to install it on Windows. So I did some surgery.

Add to that the fact that Nicola had forgotten her password (Firefox had been saving it), so I had to manually edit the db to add one; plus no decent text editor on Windows 7; plus MySQL not removing its service properly when I installed the wrong version then uninstalled it (sc delete MySQL removes errant services, by the way); plus Windows 7 making it difficult to get an administrator command prompt; etc. etc..

So overall a frustrating experience, but I did finally get there.

(On top of that, I also migrated several thousand POP-ped emails from Thunderbird 2 on Linux to Thunderbird 3 on Windows: I thought there would be an import wizard which would know what to do, but I saw no sign of it. And moved all her data over and installed OpenOffice. Entertainment all round.)

Once I've got over my trauma, I will provide links to where to find ancient versions of apps and libraries. Perhaps I should be an archaeologist.


This looks like a nightmare.

This looks like a nightmare. Very interesting.

Wow, Sounds like you spend a

Wow, Sounds like you spend a weekend on that for her. I hope she said thanks.
I agree with one of the other posters. It might have been better to have gone the VM route, But anyone could say that with hindsight.

Another vote for VMs here

Development environments on Windows are often a little painful. I think I'd have gone the VM route as well. By the way, there's an excellent archive of old programs at which is where I'd start when looking for old installers. HTH.

A virtual machine would have save you time

IMO, you should have use a virtual machine to reinstall your wife's application: finding older version of ruby/rails/mysql would have been easier (either by using the linux version installed on her old laptop, or by recompiling them), and once done, you'll never have to worry about reinstalling them if your wife's laptop died: simply reinstall the VM disk image (as long as you did backup it ;-).

You know Fredric, I think

You know Fredric, I think you're right. To be honest, it took a lot longer than I expected, and if I'd have realised how long, I would have gone the VM route.

For Thunderbird you can use

For Thunderbird you can use a tool called Mozilla Backup I used it and it worked for my case

Thanks, didn't know about

Thanks, didn't know about that.


windows = pain

Not sure how people put up

Not sure how people put up with it. So slow. A 3Gb machine with Windows 7 runs slower than a 512Mb one with Ubuntu.

Wow. That was the lamest

Wow. That was the lamest thing I've ever read!

Thanks. Glad to be at the

Thanks. Glad to be at the top of the lame-ometer!

Great Experience..

Read your article, i just imagine... you are very clever and care husband... :) do anything for your wife.. :)