GHC 6.4 release candidates available (breakage on suse 9.2 x86 or x86-64)

Malcolm Wallace Malcolm.Wallace at
Thu Feb 24 06:12:06 EST 2005

Just a quick comment on a couple of things Brian Strand writes:

> Or is ghc/Haskell established enough that
> the existence of some Haskell compiler is taken for granted nowadays?

Ghc is not written in pure Haskell - it is written in Ghc Haskell,
i.e. it uses many extensions and internal libraries not available
in all other Haskell implementations.  Thus, you really need ghc to
bootstrap ghc.

> Would it be unreasonable to include the unregisterised .hc files with
> a source distribution (or .hc files for "popular" platforms), so that
> a Haskell novice such as myself could do a "./configure && make &&
> make install"?  If configure detected no ghc, perhaps it could do the
> bootstrap automagically.

This is what nhc98 does - supplies platform independent .hc files for
bootstrapping via gcc if no existing Haskell compiler is installed.
However, nhc98 uses a bytecode VM, so it produces code that is 3x
- 15x slower than ghc, (currently) lacks many of the lower-level
libraries, and implements very few language extensions.  Thus it has
a smaller user base, and smaller maintainer base too (therefore not
much ongoing development).

Ideally, if ghc were implemented in something closer to Haskell'98,
it would be possible to double-bootstrap up from gcc -> nhc98 ->
ghc unregisterised -> ghc registerised, on almost any new platform.
But the amount of work required to 98-ify ghc is considerable (there
are 148 kLoC to check), and it is hard to say whether it would
be worthwhile.  Maybe someone fancies tackling it as a medium-size


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