SV: [Haskell-cafe] RFC: "Native -XCPP" Proposal

Yitzchak Gale gale at
Wed May 20 13:39:32 UTC 2015

The license issue is a real concern for any company using
GHC to develop a product whose binaries they distribute to
customers. And it is concern for GHC itself, if we want
GHC to continue to be viewed as a candidate for use in

The real issue is not whether you can explain why this
license is OK, or whether anyone is actually going to the
trouble of building GHC without GMP.

The issue is the risk of a *potential* legal issue and its
potential disastrous cost as *perceived* by lawyers and
management. A potential future engineering cost, no
matter how large and even if only marginally practical,
is perceived as manageable and controllable, whereas a
poorly understood potential future legal threat is perceived
as an existential risk to the entire company.

With GMP, we do have an engineering workaround to side-step
the legal problem entirely if needed. Whereas if cpphs were
to be linked into GHC with its current license, I would be
ethically obligated to report it to my superiors, and the
response might very well be: Then never mind, let's do the
simple and safe thing and just rewrite all of our applications in
Java or C#.

Keeping the license as is seems to be important to Malcolm.
So could we have an option to build GHC without cpphs
and instead use it as a stand-alone external program?
That would make the situation no worse than GMP.


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