GHC 5.02 is released

Julian Seward (Intl Vendor)
Fri, 21 Sep 2001 10:33:16 -0700

    The (Interactive) Glasgow Haskell Compiler -- version 5.02

We are pleased to announce a new major release of the Glasgow Haskell
Compiler (GHC), version 5.02. =20

This is the first version of GHC that has all of the following:

  * An interactive read-eval-print loop, similar to Hugs.
    You can load a mixture of compiled and interpreted modules;
    in particular, you automatically use the precompiled libraries,
    so your "interpreted" programs often run pretty fast.

  * Works solidly on Windows platforms.  Installation is simple
    (Installshield); you don't have to install anything else;=20
    and GHC does not get confused if you also happen to=20
    have (say) Cygwin installed.

  * Implements the changes adopted for the (now almost finalised)
    Revised Haskell 98 Language and Library Reports.

  * The ability to emit "External Core", a documented typed=20
    intermediate language, suitable for slurping up into other
    tools.  [Andrew Tolmach's work.]

  * A particularly thorough pre-release test programme.
    Some releases are more solid than others; this one is
    at the solid end of the spectrum.  We fondly hope.

So if you have been waiting to upgrade your GHC 4.08, this is=20
the moment.=20

How to get it
The easy way is to go to the WWW page, which should be self-explanatory:

We supply binary builds in the native package format for various
flavours of Linux and BSD, and in InstallShield form for Windows
folks.  Everybody else gets a .tar.gz which can be installed where you

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

The source distribution is freely available via the World-Wide Web,
under a BSD-style license.  See below for download details.  Pre-built
packages for Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris and Win32 are also available.

More details about what's new

5.02 incorporates many small refinements and bug fixes over the previous

stable release (5.00.2).  There are no major language changes.

   - Implements Haskell 98 (revised)

   - Ability to emit External Core.  GHC can't read External Core
     back in.  Yet.

   - Much improved support for Windows platforms.  Binary builds are
     now entirely freestanding.  There's no need to install Cygwin or
     Mingwin to use it.  It's a one-click-install-and-off-you-go story

   - Several small changes to bring GHC into line with the newest
Haskell 98=20

   - GHCi (the interactive system) now works on Windows.

   - Partial FFI support in GHCi.  At the moment, foreign import (both
     static and dynamic) is supported on x86 and sparc platforms.

   - A compacting garbage collector, to try and reduce space use.

   - Ability to disconnect built-in numeric syntax from the supplied=20
     Prelude. This allows you to define your own arithmetic packages,
     which Haskell98 doesn't quite support.

   - Experimental: partial support for hierarchical module names.

   - Experimental: following heroic hacking by Ken Shan, 5.02 now
     works on Alpha (Tru64 only).  Many 64-bit bugs have been shaken
     out.  At the moment only the batch-mode compiler works -- no GHCi
     or native code generator yet.

We've found and fixed more bugs than you could possibly imagine.  A
big thank-you to all those who reported bugs in the 5.00.X series.  We
claim to have fixed almost all reported bugs.  In general we've spent
a large amount of effort trying to improve the stability of the
system relative to 5.00.X.  (Famous last words ...)

For full details see the release notes:

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, 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

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 64+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

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the web interfaces at

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

Please report bugs using our SourceForge page at

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