Can't compile GHC

Jan-Willem Maessen jmaessen at
Mon May 9 22:28:21 EDT 2005

On May 9, 2005, at 4:55 PM, Bennett Todd wrote:

> 2005-05-09T16:09:16 Daniel Carrera:
>> I think it should be if you want Haskell to grow in acceptance.
>> The first barrier that new potential users hit is the one that
>> causes most people to give up and move on to a different project.
>> That first barrier should be made as low as possible.
> This is a first barrier only for users on platforms that don't
> currently have ghc maintainers.
> Given how tricksy it is getting a working ghc build, even on a
> "supported" platform, doing so is relegated to the few and devoted;
> new users are only welcome on the platforms for which pre-built ghc
> binaries are available.

I'll echo this.  The Darwinports GHC build is the first time I've ever 
gotten GHC to build out of the box.  Previous attempts have required 
multiple hours of hacking, even with a same-version binary installed on 
the same platform.  Part of that was being burdened with variously 
non-standard machine configurations.  But mostly it's because the 
fptools build structure was historically pretty fragile, and stuff 
broke badly if it didn't get built in just the right order with just 
the right versions of things.  On many occasions I just gave up and 
kept the sources around for reference only (eg to look things up in the 
library code when the docs were fuzzy...).

My perception is that this is improving with time.  But it's still a 
big time investment.  Certainly I don't expect to ever have the time to 
coax GHC to build from source on Solaris nowadays.

-Jan-Willem Maessen

> I agree with you, Daniel, that this is a terribly unfortunate state
> of affairs, but as has already been said, the folks who are doing
> the actual work (I ain't one of 'em) have decided that making ghc
> easier to bootstrap onto a supported platform is not a priority for
> them, they're content that virtually all ghc users should have to
> download prebuilt binaries, or source packages on platforms where
> devoted souls have built working automated builds.
> -Bennett
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