[arch-haskell] State of Affairs: Summarizing 83 days worth of experience

Peter Simons simons at cryp.to
Tue Jan 11 12:27:54 CET 2011

Hi Magnus,

 > To conclude, I'm perfectly all right with your comments and questions
 > above, however from your tone I'm getting the feeling that are irritated
 > with me.

personally, I would prefer to describe my impressions as concern. The
reasons for my concern are simple. For the longest time, Don Steward has
been the driving force behind the ArchHaskell project, and he has done an
incredible job at bringing Haskell to ArchLinux. Over the course of the last
year, however, it had become increasingly obvious that he alone cannot
succeed at maintaining a set of 2,000 packages all on his own. It's just too
much work for a single person, no matter how smart or enthusiastic he or she

Last October, Don stepped down and handed the project over to a small group
of people, namely you, Remy, and myself. Now, Remy has stated right from the
start that he doesn't see himself maintaining HABS. Instead, he expressed an
interest in continuing the development of the ArchLinux library and the
cabal2arch utility, and that is exactly what he has done since. Considering
that Remy is also our main go-to guy when it comes to [extra], I believe
it's fair to say that he has been a major contributor of the project, even
though he didn't contribute to HABS itself.

Anyway, that leaves HABS firmly in the hands of two people: you and me.
Unfortunately, it turned out that you didn't manage to contribute anything
to the HABS repository in the entire period between October 22nd and
yesterday. No updates, no bugfixes, no commits at all. Please don't get me
wrong. I don't want to come across as criticizing you for the fact that you
didn't have time to contribute! Still, the reality is that after Don's
retirement, I am pretty much the only person who has committed time and
resources to the maintenance of HABS.

So this leaves us in a situation where the Haskell packages published on AUR
are maintained by a single person again, only this time it's not Don, it's
me. Duh! I didn't want that to happen, and I don't believe that I can keep
2,000 packages up-to-date any more than Don could.

In the last two days, you've suddenly become extremely active again, and I
can guess what the reasons for that unexpected burst of motivation were, but
I wonder whether it is going to last? Are you sure that you can keep that
level of activism up for the next 3 months? Are you certain that you have
the time to commit to that?

 > Here's my "process" for updating packages on AUR:
 > 1. Pull down any changes to my local copy of the HABS tree.
 > 2. Open a clean chroot and bind-mount HABS and some personal tools into it.
 > 3. Get the URL for the package that needs updating.
 > 4. Run `cabal2arch <URL>` in the HABS top-level.
 > 5. Switch to the chroot and build the updated package and it's
 >    dependencies (I have a simple shell script that does this)
 > 6. If the build fails, then  revert the changes to the package in HABS.
 > 7. Go back to 2 and update another package.
 > 8. When no more packages need updating, build the source packages for
 >    all modified packages.
 > 9. Use aurploader to upload the source packages to AUR.
 > The problem with this is that step 5 can take a VERY long time, and
 > sometimes I end up doing unnecessary work because there's no easy way of
 > ordering the packages I'm updating such that the number of builds are
 > minimised.

In <http://github.com/peti/arch-haskell>, I have automated that entire
procedure so that boils down to running "make world". There is also a target
"make updates" that will identify and print out all available updates from
Hackage. Then I use "make publish" to upload the newly generated binary
repository to the kiwilight.com server. The target "make src" will generate
a whole bunch of taurballs that can be published on AUR using the aurupload
utility. The set of packages that is being built is determined by this file:


I hope this helps!

Take care,

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