Offering GHC builder build slaves

Austin Seipp austin at
Tue Apr 8 12:16:00 UTC 2014

Hello all,

I was actually going to send an email about this as I'm wrapping up
7.8.1, but since it got started early...

Yes, I would really like if someone would be willing to help manage
infrastructure for build slaves. If people are willing to support and
run with what we've got now, that's great!

Simon and I talked about this recently - the decision about what
infrastructure to use was somewhat in the air (custom infrastructure
has the downside it has less overall support of course), but we
figured we'd bring it to the people to discuss, but you beat me to it!

Here's a few extra notes:

 - I can absolutely provide infrastructure, especially for Windows
virtual machines, using Rackspace. This is one thing that's missing,
and it's how I'm building binaries now. In addition, we can also offer
a lot of Linux (and FreeBSD systems) through this. The prices for very
low-powered builders are very cheap, and we could easily add several
of them for either CI or nightly builds, in 32 and 64bit
configurations. This can effectively be free for a lot of supported

 - I can also absolutely make any infrastructure 'official' by giving
it a domain name, for example, and we can lean on this free
infrastructure for what we can, in addition to any machines people are
willing to offer. We'll need these extra machines for more platforms!

 - Whatever we do, I'd really like better visibility. I don't think
ghc-builds is enough, personally - historically people seem to ignore
it unless someone manages to eye a problem or alert someone else, and
I think this was because in the past there was a lot of noise which
lead to this sort of perception. But really, it would be great if we
could offer a web interface or something. An IRC bot would be useful
too - more and more 'regular' users hang out there, and it provides a
nice form of passive but responsive feedback. There are certainly
fairly pre-canned solutions to this I'm sure.

Anyway, whatever we do, I'm happy to support people with the
resources, access and visibility they need.

Pali, since you seem to leading this - what are your thoughts? I'm
more than willing to give you some hardware and put it under domain, and just get out of your way if you'd like. :)

On Tue, Apr 8, 2014 at 6:59 AM, Alain O'Dea <alain.odea at> wrote:
> This is great.  I'm excited about this.
> Páli, I am happy to do troubleshooting, recruiting, and assistance for new build slave volunteers.  I will gladly support your leadership on this.  I will work to ensure that you don't carry an undue share of the effort.
> I have four (one in slings due to a busted PSU) reasonably powerful (if old) Dell Precision T3500s that can provide a variety of x86 and x86_64 OS builds on Xeon.  They currently run SmartOS, but they can run other x86 and x86_64 guests.  They are purpose-built for isolated virtualization.   The biggest limitation for these right now is RAM (they have 6GB each), but I'm considering more soon.
> I'll send my first build slave username and password off list to you later today.  Once I have that working I'll document the current process for volunteering and setting up build slaves.
> Best,
> Alain
>> On Apr 8, 2014, at 8:50, Páli Gábor János <pali.gabor at> wrote:
>> 2014-04-08 10:30 GMT+02:00 Joachim Breitner <mail at>:
>>> we also need a culture of just doing stuff, and less asking for it.
>> Yes, I was educated in the same spirit but in the FreeBSD Project.  I
>> did not ask much for it when I replicated the whole setup just for
>> myself last year.
>>> if you want people to join their builders, tell them what
>>> information you need from them and add them. Feel free to modify the
>>> wiki so that people find you. Make up some rules (about usernames etc.)
>>> as you go, if necessary.
>> That is good to hear.  First, I had the impression from the previous
>> discussions that Ian's solution is not proven enough so you want to go
>> for some other solution.  Second, I do not want to duplicate anybody
>> else's efforts.  Although I have already stated that I am willing to
>> let others connect to my server and replied the related mails, but I
>> felt that the offer was still ignored or lost.
>> I do not want to be pushy, I do not like stepping on other's toes.
>> But actually I can if that is what you want -- that is how I did eight
>> BSD workshops and developer summits in the last four years and
>> eventually become the secretary of the FreeBSD Core Team.
>>> Just do it. And tell us about your achievements.
>> I guess the ghc-builds mailing list speaks for itself.
>>> Also worry less about official or not. The Travis setup is not official,
>>> but (IMHO) has been useful quite a few times. I'd _like_ it to be
>>> official, i.e. hosted on, but that is not important.
>> All right, if the rules of game are like that, let it be so...
>>> If your service becomes "critical" in some sense it is still time to
>>> move it some official infrastructure... but that can come second, and
>>> should not hinder anyone from contributing.
>> Okay, thanks for the clarification!
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Austin Seipp, Haskell Consultant
Well-Typed LLP,

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