GHC 8.10.1 Release Plan

Ben Gamari ben at
Wed Sep 18 20:07:58 UTC 2019

tl;dr. If you have unmerged work that you would like to be in GHC 8.10 please
       reply to this email and submit it for review in the next couple
       of weeks.

Hello everyone,

Now that GHC 8.8.1 is behind us it is time that we begin thinking about
8.10. There seems to be broad consensus within the subset of the
community that I sampled that we should try to hold to the usual release
date near the end of year for 8.10.1. I believe that this is a feasible
goal with the caveat that we push the final release back by a couple of
weeks in recognition that busy schedules of the holiday season tends to
throw unexpected wrenches into the release process.

In particular I would suggest the following concrete schedule:

    October  18 2019:  start of one week freeze in preparation for branching
    October  25 2019:  ghc-8.10 branch cut
    November 8  2019:  8.10.1-alpha1
    November 22 2019:  8.10.1-alpha2
    December 6  2019:  8.10.1-alpha3
    December 20 2019:  8.10.1-rc1
    January  10 2020:  Final 8.10.1 release

If you have yet-unmerged work that you would like to see in GHC 8.10
please do be in touch and open a merge request ASAP.

One obvious question is how we will avoid the many delays that plagued
the 8.8.1 release. Without delving too deep into the specific reasons for
these delays, the reasons fell into two buckets:

 1. delays due to CI stabilization
 2. coordination delays with upstream libraries
 3. fallout from MonadFail changes which landed only late in the release

Of these, (1) is largely behind us and (3) will be avoided by ensuring
that core libraries changes are landed *before* the branch date.

This leaves consideration (2). The problem of upstream library
coordination has always been a tricky one but has grown more acute as
our release schedule has accelerated. While no technical solution will
eliminate the issue entirely, we believe that decoupling GHC's release
schedule from those of its dependencies' is an important mitigation.
We will be discussing this with upstream library maintainers in
the coming weeks to establish how we can ensure that releases are
available well ahead of the GHC 8.10 release, ideally by alpha2.


- Ben
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