Continuous Integration and Cross Compilation

Simon Peyton Jones simonpj at
Fri Jun 20 07:10:49 UTC 2014

| This response has gotten pretty long! Apologies if I missed something,
| or otherwise misunderstood. Anyway, if there's a path here that seems
| sensible, I'll have a go at it.

William, I am not qualified to comment on the details, but thank you for offering to help.  I do urge you to pick some initial tasks that *don't* involve solving the full cross-compilation problem, desirable as it is.  I fear that it is a swamp from which you will not emerge soon, and it'd be better to have some successes  to encourage you, and some experience to build on, before diving into it.

Everyone: no responses yet to my email below.  Suppose Austin plays secretary: would people like to volunteer to be part of the GHC Nightly-Build/Continuous-Integration Task Force?


-----Original Message-----
From: Simon Peyton Jones 
Sent: 18 June 2014 23:48
To: Simon Peyton Jones; Páli Gábor János; Alain O'Dea
Cc: ghc-devs at; William Knop; Karel Gardas
Subject: RE: Offering GHC builder build slaves

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,


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