Notes from Ben's "contribute to ghc" discussion

Ben Gamari ben at
Mon Sep 26 19:13:09 UTC 2016

Simon Marlow <marlowsd at> writes:

> I would rather we *didn't* accept contributions via github, even for small
> patches, and instead put more effort into streamlining the Phabricator
> workflow.
>    - Adding another input method complicates the workflow, users have to
>    decide which one to use
I think we would want to try to sell the GitHub route as "if you would
like to contribute then we would strongly prefer you use Phabricator,
but if you must and it's a small patch, we will accept it via GitHub."

>    - Github is not integrated with our other infrastructure, while
>    Phabricator is
True, but I suspect for the small documentation patches that we are
currently consider this shouldn't matter so much.

>    - Mutliple sources of contributions makes life harder for maintainers
It does certainly put yet another task on our plates, but I would argue
that it's actually easier than accepting patches via Trac, which we
already do.

> Let's make the Phabricator workflow easier.
>    - Why not put arc in the repo, or provide a script that automatically
>    downloads it and sets it up?
I'm not sure how much of a difference placing arc in the repo will make;
the user will still at very least need to install PHP manually.

>    - I also like the idea of auto-push if validate succeeds.  Or a button
>    that you can press on the diff that would do the same thing, so you can get
>    code review first.
To be clear, I'm a bit weary of opening up the auto-push feature to new
contributors. While regular contributors know what changes can be safely
pushed and which require review, we have no guarantee that a new
contributor has developed these sensibilities.

>    - +1 to making the manual easier to build.  The same goes for Haddocks;
>    it's really hard to make a simple patch to the docs and test it right now.
The users guide should be quite possible to do.

I don't believe there is any reliable way to allow a contributor to
build the haddocks without having built GHC (since you need GHC master to
parse `base`, et al.); that being said, we could have Harbormaster
upload built documentation somewhere and then leave a link to it on the

> One other thing that came up but wasn't mentioned in the notes: let's be
> more prompt about reverting patches that break validate, even if they only
> break a test.  Now that we have better CI support, we can easily identify
> breaking patches and revert them.


- Ben

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