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Nathan James
Nathan James

How to Set Up Go 1.18 on Windows - Tips and Tricks for a Smooth Installation

As of Go 1.13, the go command by default downloads and authenticates modules using the Go module mirror and Go checksum database run by Google. See for privacy information about these services and the go command documentation for configuration details including how to disable the use of these servers or use different ones.

The latest Go release, version 1.18, is a significant release, including changes to the language, implementation of the toolchain, runtime, and libraries. Go 1.18 arrives seven months after Go 1.17. As always, the release maintains the Go 1 promise of compatibility. We expect almost all Go programs to continue to compile and run as before.

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While we believe that the new language features are well designed and clearly specified, it is possible that we have made mistakes. We want to stress that the Go 1 compatibility guarantee says "If it becomes necessary to address an inconsistency or incompleteness in the specification, resolving the issue could affect the meaning or legality of existing programs. We reserve the right to address such issues, including updating the implementations." It also says "If a compiler or library has a bug that violates the specification, a program that depends on the buggy behavior may break if the bug is fixed. We reserve the right to fix such bugs." In other words, it is possible that there will be code using generics that will work with the 1.18 release but break in later releases. We do not plan or expect to make any such change. However, breaking 1.18 programs in future releases may become necessary for reasons that we cannot today foresee. We will minimize any such breakage as much as possible, but we can't guarantee that the breakage will be zero.

The Go 1.18 compiler now correctly reports declared but not used errors for variables that are set inside a function literal but are never used. Before Go 1.18, the compiler did not report an error in such cases. This fixes long-outstanding compiler issue #8560. As a result of this change, (possibly incorrect) programs may not compile anymore. The necessary fix is straightforward: fix the program if it was in fact incorrect, or use the offending variable, for instance by assigning it to the blank identifier _. Since go vet always pointed out this error, the number of affected programs is likely very small.

Go 1.18 introduces the new GOAMD64 environment variable, which selects at compile time a minimum target version of the AMD64 architecture. Allowed values are v1, v2, v3, or v4. Each higher level requires, and takes advantage of, additional processor features. A detailed description can be found here.

The windows/arm and windows/arm64 ports now support non-cooperative preemption, bringing that capability to all four Windows ports, which should hopefully address subtle bugs encountered when calling into Win32 functions that block for extended periods of time.

Go 1.18 is the last release that is supported on FreeBSD 11.x, which has already reached end-of-life. Go 1.19 will require FreeBSD 12.2+ or FreeBSD 13.0+. FreeBSD 13.0+ will require a kernel with the COMPAT_FREEBSD12 option set (this is the default).

The go mod graph, go mod vendor, go mod verify, and go mod why subcommands no longer automatically update the go.mod and go.sum files. (Those files can be updated explicitly using go get, go mod tidy, or go mod download.)

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The underlying data format of the embedded build information can change with new go releases, so an older version of go may not handle the build information produced with a newer version of go. To read the version information from a binary built with go 1.18, use the go version command and the debug/buildinfo package from go 1.18+.

If the main module's go.mod file specifies go 1.17 or higher, go mod download without arguments now downloads source code for only the modules explicitly required in the main module's go.mod file. (In a go 1.17 or higher module, that set already includes all dependencies needed to build the packages and tests in the main module.) To also download source code for transitive dependencies, use go mod download all.

Since the release of Go 1.18 marks the end of support for Go 1.16,all supported versions of Go now understand //go:build lines.In Go 1.18, go fix now removes the now-obsolete// +build lines in modules declaringgo 1.18 or later in their go.mod files.

Go 1.17 generally improved the formatting of arguments in stack traces, but could print inaccurate values for arguments passed in registers. This is improved in Go 1.18 by printing a question mark (?) after each value that may be inaccurate.

Go 1.17 implemented a new way of passing function arguments and results using registers instead of the stack on 64-bit x86 architecture on selected operating systems. Go 1.18 expands the supported platforms to include 64-bit ARM (GOARCH=arm64), big- and little-endian 64-bit PowerPC (GOARCH=ppc64, ppc64le), as well as 64-bit x86 architecture (GOARCH=amd64) on all operating systems. On 64-bit ARM and 64-bit PowerPC systems, benchmarking shows typical performance improvements of 10% or more.

Because the compiler's type checker was replaced in its entirety to support generics, some error messages now may use different wording than before. In some cases, pre-Go 1.18 error messages provided more detail or were phrased in a more helpful way. We intend to address these cases in Go 1.19.

Because of changes in the compiler related to supporting generics, the Go 1.18 compile speed can be roughly 15% slower than the Go 1.17 compile speed. The execution time of the compiled code is not affected. We intend to improve the speed of the compiler in future releases.

The linker emits far fewer relocations. As a result, most codebases will link faster, require less memory to link, and generate smaller binaries. Tools that process Go binaries should use Go 1.18's debug/gosym package to transparently handle both old and new binaries.

The code sample downloads a blob using the DownloadStream method, and creates a retry reader for reading data. If a connection fails while reading, the retry reader makes other requests to re-establish a connection and continue reading. You can specify retry reader options using the RetryReaderOptions struct.

With Go 1.18 just out and in GA, I was curious to give Go "a go" (pun intended) and play around a bit with Generics - a highly anticipated feature in Go! but first I had to install it. I chose to go with WSL 2 and use Ubuntu for my new playground but I also wanted to install everything from the command line. Let's go!

Note: If you are using Bitbucket for your source code hosting you may also need to add a second entry for in addition to In the past, Bitbucket provided hosting for multiple types of version control, so Go would use the API to check the type of repository before trying to download it. While this is no longer the case, the API check still exists. If you encounter this issue, an example error message may look like this:

If you see the 403 Forbidden error when trying to download a private module, double check the hostname Go is trying to connect to. It could indicate another hostname, such as, that you need to add to your .netrc file.

In this section, you configured Git to use SSH to download Go modules by updating your .gitconfig file and adding a url section. Now that authentication for your private module is set up, you can access it for use in your Go programs.

In this section, you used go init to create a new Go module to access the private module you published earlier. Once you had the module created, you then used go get to download your private module as you would with a public Go module. Finally, you used go run to compile and run your Go program using the private module.

Generally, a download manager enables downloading of large files or multiples files in one session. Many web browsers, such as Internet Explorer 9, include a download manager. Stand-alone download managers also are available, including the Microsoft Download Manager.

The Microsoft Download Manager solves these potential problems. It gives you the ability to download multiple files at one time and download large files quickly and reliably. It also allows you to suspend active downloads and resume downloads that have failed.

The new require block adds even more // indirect lines. Thanks to these new lines, Go commands such as go get have less downloading to do (the mechanism is called lazy modules loading). Previously, go get had to download every single project in order to access their go.mod files, even if some of these projects were not actually used by your code. That was a big problem for git-based projects, and less of a problem for people using GOPROXY (i.e., everyone else) since the go.mod can be fetched without fetching the whole repository when using the GOPROXY mechanism.

The biggest difference will happen for people who are relying on Git for downloading repositories. Each time Go needs to read a go.mod, it needs to download the whole Git repository. We can force Go to clone the Git repositories by using GOPRIVATE=*:

Before Go 1.16 came out, that was one of the weird things with go get: sometimes, it served the purpose of installing binaries or downloading packages. And with Go modules, if you were in a repo with a go.mod, it would silently add the binary that you were go get-ing to your go.mod!

Installing Docker Desktop 4.5.0 from scratch has a bug which defaults Docker Desktop to use the Hyper-V backend instead of WSL 2. This means, Windows Home users will not be able to start Docker Desktop as WSL 2 is the only supported backend. To work around this issue, you must uninstall 4.5.0 from your machine and then download and install Docker Desktop 4.5.1 or a higher version. Alternatively, you can edit the Docker Desktop settings.json file located at %APPDATA%\Docker\settings.json and manually switch the value of the wslEngineEnabled field to true.


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