The (Interactive) Glasgow Haskell Compiler -- version 5.00

Julian Seward (Intl Vendor)
Thu, 12 Apr 2001 05:17:50 -0700

[Binary builds for x86-linux and sparc-solaris are now
 available.  We're still working on the Windows version.  -- J]

    The (Interactive) Glasgow Haskell Compiler -- version 5.00

We are pleased to announce a new major release of the Glasgow Haskell
Compiler (GHC), version 5.00.  The source distribution is freely
available via the World-Wide Web and through anon. FTP, under a
BSD-style license.  See below for download details.  Pre-built
packages for Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris and Win32 are also available.

Haskell is a standard lazy functional programming language; the
current language version is Haskell 98, agreed in December 1998.

GHC is a state-of-the-art programming suite for Haskell.  Included is
an optimising compiler generating good code for a variety of
platforms, together with an interactive system for convenient, quick
development.  The distribution includes space and time profiling
facilities, a large collection of libraries, and support for various
language extensions, including concurrency, exceptions, and foreign
language interfaces (C, C++, whatever).

A wide variety of Haskell related resources (tutorials, libraries,
specifications, documentation, compilers, interpreters, references,
contact information, links to research groups) are available from the
Haskell home page at

GHC's Web page lives at

 What's new

5.00 has been majorly revamped since the previous stable version,
This should be a stable release.  Major changes since 4.08.2 are:

   - An interactive system, similar in style to Hugs.  You can
     load and unload modules, run expressions, ask the types of things.
     Module dependencies are tracked and chased automatically.
     Combinations of compiled and interpreted modules may be used.
     All the GHC libraries are available in interactive mode, as are
     most of the Glasgow extensions to Haskell 98.  Compilation in
     interactive mode (to bytecode) is about three times faster than
     compiling to object code.

   - Batch compilation of multiple modules at once, with automatic
     dependency chasing.  For large programs this can halve compilation
     times, and removes the need for Makefiles.

   - Enhanced package (library) management system.  Packages may be
     installed and removed from an installation using the ghc-pkg tool.

   - Initial Unicode support - the Char type is now 31 bits.

   - Sparc native code generator, giving much faster compilation on
     (Native code generation for x86s has been available for a while).

   - Improved heap profiling - you can restrict heap profiles
     by type, closure description, cost centre, and module.

   - Support for the latest Foreign Function Interface (FFI)
     proposals.  Marcin Kowalczyk's hsc2hs tool is included.

   - Language extensions: parallel list comprehensions and functional

   - The usual huge collection of bug fixes.  Most reported bugs have
     been fixed.

For full details see the release notes:

 How to get it

The easy way is to go to the WWW page, which should be

We supply binary builds in .rpm/.deb form for all you Linux junkies
out there, and in InstallShield form for Windows folks.  Everybody
else gets a .tar.gz which can be installed where you want.

Once you have the distribution, please follow the pointers in the
README file to find all of the documentation about this release.

 On-line GHC-related resources

Relevant URLs on the World-Wide Web:

GHC home page   
Haskell home page
comp.lang.functional FAQ

 System requirements

To compile programs with GHC, you need a machine with 32+MB memory, GNU
and perl. This release is known to work on the following platforms:

  * i386-unknown-{linux,freebsd,mingw32}
  * sparc-sun-solaris2

Ports to the following platforms should be relatively easy (for a
wunderhacker), but haven't been tested due to lack of time/hardware:

  * hppa1.1-hp-hpux{9,10}
  * i386-unknown-solaris2
  * alpha-dec-osf{2,3}
  * mips-sgi-irix{5,6}
  * {rs6000,powerpc}-ibm-aix

The builder's guide included in distribution gives a complete
run-down of what ports work; an on-line version can be found at

 Mailing lists

We run mailing lists for GHC users and bug reports; to subscribe, use
the web interfaces at

There are several other haskell and ghc-related mailing lists on; for the full list, see

Please send bug reports about GHC to;
GHC users hang out on  Bleeding
edge CVS users party on