GHC 7.8 release?

Mark Lentczner mark.lentczner at
Sat Feb 9 18:47:36 CET 2013

We seem to be circling ever closer to consensus here! Yay!

I think the distinction of non-API breaking and API breaking release is
very important. Refining SPJ's trifecta:

*Haskell Platform* comes out twice a year. It is based on very stable
version of GHC, and intention is that people can just assume things on
Hackage work with it. These are named for the year and sequence of the
release: 2013.2, 2013.2.1, 2013.4,...

*Non-API breaking releases* can come out as often as desired. However, the
version that is current as of mid-Feb. and mid-Aug. will be the ones
considered for HP inclusion. By non-API breaking we mean the whole API
surface including all the libraries bundled with GHC, as well as the
operation of ghc, cabal, ghc-pkg, etc. Additions of features that must be
explicitly enabled are okay. Additions of new APIs into existing modules
are discouraged: Much code often imports base modules wholesale, and name
clashes could easily result. These should never bump the major revision
number: 7.4.1, 7.4.2...

*API breaking releases* happen by being released into a separate channel
when ready for library owners to look at them. This channel should probably
go through several stages: Ready for core package owners to work with, then
HP package owners, then all package owners. I'd imagine this is a several
month process. At the end of which, the release can go into the main
channel. Such a merge shouldn't happen more than once a year... I think
even once every two years is fine (!) To avoid confusion, I'd suggest that
while in the separate channel, these release be named with odd number: 7.9,
7.11,..., and when moved to the main channel renamed to even: 7.10, 7.12...

This idea of three channels needs to be much more clearly communicated. The
warning on the download page is a failure: Googling "ghc" takes you to the
home page of GHC which immediately trumpets the "Lastest News" of a release
of GHC 7.6.2. Once a user has read that and decided to download, then
"STOP!" box is a) going to be skipped as they scan for the download link,
and b) if read and followed, causes the "WTF? Why is HP so back rev?" So we
need to change the front page so that the three channels are clearly
communicated and targeted at the right users.

- Mark

(BTW: The first few links on the GHC web site are out of date: The second
nav link is to a survey that is 7 years old. The License page is 8 years
out of date. The FAQ is over a year old.)

On Sat, Feb 9, 2013 at 8:24 AM, Ian Lynagh <ian at> wrote:

> On Sat, Feb 09, 2013 at 12:06:12PM +0000, Simon Marlow wrote:
> >
> > As a straw man, let's suppose we want to do annual API releases in
> > September, with intermediate non-API releases in February.
> That's a non-API release 5 months after the API release.
> 6.10.2 was 5   months after 6.10.1 (.3 was 1 month later, .4 a further 2)
> 6.12.2 was 4   months after 6.12.1 (.3 was 2 months later)
>  7.0.2 was 3.5 months after  7.0.1 (.3 was 1 month later, .4 a further 3)
>  7.2.2 was 3   months after  7.2.1
>  7.4.2 was 4   months after  7.4.1
>  7.6.2 was 4.5 months after  7.6.2
> so if we do non-API releases, then perhaps it would make sense to stop
> doing minor releases (unless a release turns out to just be broken).
> Thanks
> Ian
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