Offering GHC builder build slaves

Simon Peyton Jones simonpj at
Wed Jun 18 22:47:51 UTC 2014

Back in April I said:

| Seriously, I advertised a couple of weeks ago for help with our nightly-
| build infrastructure.  Quite a few people responded -- thank you very
| much.
| So we have willing horsepower.  But the moment we lack leadership.  Alain
| rightly says "I don't know what the process is" because we don't *have* a
| process.  We need a mechanism for creating a process, taking decisions,
| etc.
| I think what is needed is:
| * A group of people willing to act as a kind of committee.  That
|   could be everyone who replied.  You could create a mailing list,
|   or (initially better) just chat on ghc-devs.  But it would be
|   useful to have a list of who is involved.
| * Someone (or a couple of people) to play the role of chair.
|   That doesn't mean an autocrat... it means someone who gently pushes
|   discussions to a conclusion, and says "I propose that we do X".
| * Then the group can formulate a plan and proceed with it.
|   For example, should Pali's efforts be "blessed"?  I don't
|   know enough to know, but you guys do.
| In my experience, people are often unwilling to put themselves forward as
| chair, not because they are unwilling, but because they feel it'd be
| "pushy".  So I suggest this: if you think (based on the traffic you've
| seen) that X would be a chair you'd trust, suggest them.
| In short: power to the people!  GHC is your compiler.

Since then various people have done various things, but so far as I know we don't have any of the three "*" items above.  The people who seem in principle willing to help include
 Joachim Breitner <mail at>
 Herbert Valerio Riedel <hvriedel at>
 Páli Gábor János <pali.gabor at>
 Karel Gardas <karel.gardas at>
 Alain O'Dea <alain.odea at>
 William Knop <william.knop.nospam at>
 Austin Seipp <austin at>

There may well be others!  I sense that the problem is not willingness but simply that no one feels accredited to take the lead.  Please, I would love someone to do so!

I was reminded of this by William Knop's recent message below, in which he implicitly offers to help (thanks William).  But his offer will fall on deaf ears unless that little group exists to welcome him in.

In hope, and with thanks,


| -----Original Message-----
| From: ghc-devs [mailto:ghc-devs-bounces at] On Behalf Of William
| Knop
| Sent: 18 June 2014 21:10
| To: ghc-devs at
| Subject: Continuous Integration and Cross Compilation
| Hello all,
| I've seen quite a few comments on the list and elsewhere lamenting the
| time it takes to compile and validate ghc. It's troublesome not only
| because it's inconvenient, but, more seriously, people are holding off on
| sending patches in which stifles development. I would like to propose a
| solution:
| 1. Implement proper cross-compilation, such that build and host may be
| different- e.g. a linux x86_64 machine can build ghc that runs on Windows
| x86. What sort of work would this entail?
| 2. Batch cross-compiled builds for all OSs/archs on a continuous
| integration service (e.g. Travis CI) or cloud service, then package up
| the binaries with the test suite.
| 3. Send the package to our buildbots, and run the test suite.
| 4. (optional) If using a CI service, have the buildbots send results back
| to the CI. This could be useful if we'd use GitHub for pulls in the
| future *.
| Cheers,
| Will
| * I realize vanilla GitHub currently has certain annoying limitations,
| though some of them are pretty easy to solve via the github-services
| and/or webhooks. I don't think this conflicts with the desire to use
| Phabricator, either, so I'll send details and motivations to that thread.

More information about the ghc-devs mailing list