RFC: External library infrastructure

Simon Marlow simonmar@microsoft.com
Tue, 12 Nov 2002 15:36:24 -0000

Hi Folks,

It has occurred to us that the GHC community really needs an
infrastructure (i.e. like a build system, but more) that people can use
for shipping their own libraries independently of GHC.

Several people have asked recently if they can ship their libraries with
GHC - for a while we were quite receptive to this, but GHC is getting
rather "heavy" both in terms of build time and maintenance effort, and
we feel it's time to cut back a bit.  But we don't want to leave library
developers out in the cold.

Suppose we had an infrastructure which someone could plug their library
source code into, and immediately get

 - a source tarball which will configure/build/install on
   a Unix/cygwin system with GHC installed, and provide a GHC
   package when installed.

 - skeleton binary packages for RPM, Windows installer,
   *BSD ports, Gentoo ebuild, etc.  The binary packages
   will require some programmer intervention (such as setting
   the dependencies correctly), but much of the work can be
   done automatically.

Furthermore, we'd provide links to compatible library packages from the
GHC web pages.

It doesn't particularly matter whether fptools is used as a starting
point, or we pick another existing build system or start from scratch.
The important thing is that someone who wants to ship a library can pick
up this infrastructure and quickly provide all the above functionality
with very little extra work.