GHC 7.8 release?

Mark Lentczner mark.lentczner at
Thu Feb 7 18:42:39 CET 2013

I'd say the window for 7.8 in the platform is about closed. If 7.8 were to
be release in the next two weeks that would be just about the least amount
of time I'd want to see for libraries in the platform to get all stable
with the GHC version. And we'd also be counting on the GHC team to be
quickly responding to bugs so that there could be a point release of 7.8
mid-April. Historically, none of that seems likely.

So my current trajectory is to base HP 2013.2.0.0 on GHC 7.6.2.

Since 7.8 will seems like it will be released before May, we will be faced
again with the bad public relations issue: Everyone will want the new shiny
and be confused as to why the platform is such a laggard. We'll see four

   - New comers who are starting out and figure they should use the
   latest... Many will try to use 7.8, half the libraries on hackage won't
   work, things will be wonky, and they'll have a poor experience.
   - People doing production / project work will stay on 7.6 and ignore 7.8
   for a few months.
   - The small group of people exploring the frontiers will know how to get
   things set up and be happy.
   - Eventually library authors will get around to making sure their stuff
   will work with it.

I wish GHC would radically change it's release process. Things like 7.8
shouldn't be release as "7.8". That sounds major and stable. The web site
will have 7.8 at the top. The warning to use the platform will fall flat
because it makes the platform look out of date. Really, "7.8" should be in
a different release channel, not on the front page. It should bake in that
channel for six months - where only the third group of people will use it,
until it is getting close to merge into main, at which point the fourth
group will start to use it, so that the day it hits main, all the libraries
just work. Ideally, the first two groups of people will not pay the
slightest attention to it until it is further baked.

While we achievements of the GHC team are great, less than half of those
7.8 features seem interesting from the viewpoint of the aims of
the platform. I don't think adding syntactic or type-level features are
really all that important for Haskell at this juncture. And while I do like
to see improvements in generated code and run-time performance, I think
even those are less important than making crucial ecosystem improvements to
things like package management, cross-compilation, and libraries.

- Mark
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