GHCs dependencies (libraries) and maintenance

Ben Gamari ben at
Mon Jun 1 16:33:56 UTC 2020

Moritz Angermann <moritz.angermann at> writes:

> Hi there!
> Again I don't expect much to change, except for GHCHQ becoming
> co-maintainers for libraries GHC depends on. The baseline expectation
> will remain as it is. However we will have ensured the frictionless
> development of GHC going forward.
While I think this would indeed help and wouldn't mind seeing this idea
implemented, last time it was floated there was quite some resistance
from some maintainers.

Really, I think the problems with core library maintenance that GHC
feels are bigger than GHC. Afterall, if it takes weeks for a patch from
the GHC release manager to make its way into a core library, it will
almost certainly take the same time, if not longer, for a patch from a
non-GHC contributor to be accepted. We see this in the large number of
outstanding merge requests in some of the core library repositories.

This isn't a problem that GHC can solve; the bus number for many of our
core packages is simply too low. I think the way to fix this is to
ensure that core libraries have a sufficiently large pool of maintainers
that responsiveness is not a question.

Of course, fixing this isn't easy. Our core libraries *need* to maintain
a high standard of quality and enforcing that standard requires effort
on the part of skilled maintainers. Finding maintainers who have the
desire, time, and skill to fill this role is hard. That being said, I do
feel that currently outside contributors don't feel welcome enough to
even offer to help, largely *because* of the rather minimal maintenance
that some core packages see. There is something of a chicken-and-egg
problem here.

I would also like to reiterate that the above doesn't describe all core
libraries. Most of our core library maintainers are impressively
responsive and this is something for which I am very grateful.

Moreover, while I do believe that the discussion above points to a real
problem, I want to make it very clear that all of our core library
maintainers deserve recognition for the difficult role that they fill:
hand-holding contributors, triaging tickets, reviewing merge requests is
hard work and the success of our entire ecosystem rests of their
efforts. The fact that Haskell has seen such growth in the past years is
in large part the direct result of their work which has made Haskell
such a joy to use.


- Ben
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 487 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <>

More information about the ghc-devs mailing list