Large tuple strategy

Reid Barton rwbarton at
Thu Jan 5 15:26:35 UTC 2017

Hi all, proposes adding Generic
instances for large tuples (up to size 62). Currently GHC only
provides Generic instances for tuples of size up to 7. There's been
some concern about the effect that all these instances will have on
compilation time for anyone who uses Generics, even if they don't
actually use the new instances.

There was a suggestion to move these new instances to a separate
module, but as these instances would then be orphans, I believe GHC
would have to read the interface file for that module anyways once
Generic comes into scope, which would defeat the purpose of the split.

It occurred to me that rather than moving just these instances to a
new module, we could move the large tuples themselves to a new module
Data.LargeTuple and put the instances there. The Prelude would
reexport the large tuples, so there would be no user-visible change.
According to my experiments, GHC should never have to read the
Data.LargeTuple interface file unless a program actually mentions a
large tuple type, which is presumably rare. We could then also extend
the existing instances for Eq, Show, etc., which are currently only
provided through 15-tuples.

A nontrivial aspect of this change is that tuples are wired-in types,
and they currently all live in the ghc-prim package. I'm actually not
sure why they need to be wired-in rather than ordinary types with a
funny-looking name. In any case I need to look into this further, but
the difficulties here don't seem to be insurmountable.

Does this seem like a reasonable plan? Anything important I have missed?

Reid Barton

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