[arch-haskell] Near past, present & future

Vesa Kaihlavirta vpkaihla at gmail.com
Sat Oct 12 07:34:07 UTC 2013

Hi guys,

As some of you may have noticed (perhaps with some pain), ghc-6.10.1
has been in testing
for over a week now. Some performance regressions have been noticed,
and some packages
fail to build on it (most due to trivial problems). That's why it
won't be coming to extra too
soon. Nevertheless, I'm using it as my main platform for development,
and it works well.

Presently, the next big thing will be the Haskell Platform, which is
basically a bundle
of important packages. We will try to get the packages in it to extra,
with a "haskell-platform"
group defined. So pacman -S haskell-platform should get you all the
goodies now and forever.

All this is good. Now for a bit of controversy.

I'm not very happy about how AUR works for us. We get good PKGBUILDs and
rather painless installation through yaourt, but it feels quite clumsy
to me. For
at least the following reasons:

1) When we update ghc, there's no good way to update all the packages in AUR
that depend on it. Best way to cleanup is pacman -Rc cabal-install, which kinda
works but... And if I go back to the other ghc version (like I often did when
playing with 6.8.2 and 6.10.1), my old packages are lost.

2) Pacman just doesn't support the sort of versioning we'd need for
this. By principle.

3) yaourt often builds dependencies twice. Perhaps just a simple bug in yaourt.

There's a simple solution to all these problems: for packages outside
the Haskell Platform,
we start using cabal-install. This has worked for me very well, and
I'm not sure if
I see why we should have Arch packages for everything. Of course also
we would have
some higher profile stuff in extra (like darcs) and community (like xmonad).

Any feelings? Rest assured, I'm not gonna go at this blindly.

--vk (dons an asbestos suit)

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