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I'm a retired software tool developer who worked in a Unix environment most of my career. I have a lot of games that I wrote in C that I'd like to get going again. Most use the curses library.

These programs are quite old. Does Ubuntu support the compilers, link editors and libraries I would need to get this stuff running? I would prefer, of course, an env just like I had when I wrote these, ksh, vi, etc.

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My Google 8-ball says... sudo aptitude install build-essential. help.ubuntu.com/community/CompilingEasyHowTo. Compilers are also available standalone for many platforms, including Ubuntu: see GCC and Clang. –  Robert Harvey Jul 17 '13 at 1:45
Brother, take this opportunity to shamelessly learn the crap out of everything you ever thought might be worth learning. And don't stop when, as it turned out, some weren't. –  Erik Reppen Jul 17 '13 at 4:54

3 Answers 3

Modern variations of vi, ksh etc are all standard on every linux distro you will come across. Be warned that now days when you type vi you get vim - very few people use true vi, but is is available if you do not want to use vim. ksh is close enough you will be right at home immediately.

Modern C compilers might complain about a lot of you older C source code, and even behave subtly differently - however all can be configured with a command line option to compile according to older standards.

What you might come across is defects in the code that had no visible symptoms creating bugs (core dumps are common) on Linux. For instance, in AIX a read from address NULL returns 0, whereas in Linux it will core dump - if a bug in the C code means it uses a pointer initialized to 0......

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I compiled hunt a few years back on Linux, which was written in 1985. It didn't compile cleanly right away, but it only took a couple hours to update for recent compiler and library changes. I imagine your games would be very similar. Most people use ncurses nowadays instead of the original curses library, but they are very similar. Like Robert said, do sudo apt-get install build-essential, and look for -dev versions of any other libraries if you want to compile code for them.

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Thank you for your response - I'm sorry that I failed to mention that I am a total newbie to Ubuntu/Linux. I haven't even loaded it yet - I'm trying to gauge whether it will be worth the effort to do so. So, I don't even know if the initial install comes with any of the development tools I need to start. I also unclear what you meant by "Like Robert said"... I haven't seen any other comments or answers other than yours?? –  user96861 Jul 17 '13 at 2:36
Yes, Ubuntu comes with all the tools you need available in the repository, although they aren't installed by default. They're easily installed with the command I quoted. I'm actually surprised a unix developer hasn't tried Linux already. You should find it very familiar. –  Karl Bielefeldt Jul 17 '13 at 2:49
@user96861 You could always run linux in a VM in case you don't like it –  James Jul 17 '13 at 20:51

Developing in Curses is alive and well on Linux. See roguelikes, RGRD, rogueBasin, and rogue-temple. Ncurses is common for both C and Ptyhon projects. If you need any help getting projects to use the ncurses library, I'm sure they'd help.

Although, tile support is becoming more popular. Sigh, kids these days...

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