64-bit windows version?

Simon Marlow simonmarhaskell at gmail.com
Thu Jun 21 11:48:23 EDT 2007

Peter Tanski wrote:

> The make system does work well and must be kept in order to port GHC to 
> a new posix platform--too many parallel projects (pun intended) work 
> with the current system.  I have not kept a good count of monthly 
> configuration-based bugs but there are at least a few a month, for known 
> platforms, including OS X (a significant user base) and Mingw.  If I 
> could change one feature of the current system I would set up a wiki 
> page with specific build requirements (I mean location, program/library 
> with function declaration), and for known systems use autoconf only to 
> determine what the $(build) system is and to ensure those programs are 
> available, then jump into make which would call pre-set configuration 
> makefiles for that system.

So you'd hard-wire a bunch of things based on the platform name?  That sounds 
like entirely the wrong approach to me.  It makes the build system too brittle 
to changes in its environment: exactly the problem that autoconf was designed to 

> I spent a good amount of time writing the replacement library build 
> system in GNU Make (min. 3.8--the current min is 3.79.1) to blend 
> seamlessly with the current system.  It does use a custom "configure" 
> script written in Python (more consistently portable, no temporary files 
> of any kind in $(srcdir))--John, that is where I originally used 
> Interscript: to bake configuration settings into the setup files.   The 
> configuration determines what system it is on and the relative-path 
> location of certain requirements if they are not already available--for 
> testing the processor type and os support (when it can't read from 
> something cool like /proc/cpuinfo) it does build small programs but all 
> building is done in the build directory which may be located anywhere 
> you want.  It then sets those parameters for configuration files that 
> already contain other presets for that platform; general guesses may go 
> into the main GHC autoconf and I will keep them very simple (new 
> architectures get the generic C library by default).  I simply can't 
> convince myself that it is better to use a guess-based system for 
> architectures I already know, especially when it also makes 
> cross-compiling more complex than necessary.  For Windows it uses a VS 
> project and calls that from a DOS-batch file (for setup parameters) so 
> you can run it from the command line.

Adding a dependency on Python is already something I want to avoid.  One way we 
try to keep the GHC build system sane is by keeping the external dependencies to 
a minimum (yes I know the testsuite requires Python, but the build itself doesn't).

However, I admit I don't fully understand the problem you're trying to solve, 
not having tried to do this myself.  The GHC build system now uses Cabal to 
build libraries (actually Cabal + make + a bit of autoconf for some libraries). 
  Why can't this method work for building libraries on Windows native?  We must 
port Cabal to Windows native anyway, and then you have a library build system.

> What I hope you would agree on for Windows-GHC is a build that ran 
> parallel to the autoconf-make system.

What I hope is that we don't have to do this :-)

> Of course that would require some 
> maintenance when things change in the main system but I could write 
> update scripts for trivial changes; I believe anything more complex 
> should be carefully checked in any case.  VS is troublesome (its project 
> files are written in XML, but that may be automated).  If you would 
> rather use a Make-like system I could do it in Jam and then you would 
> add only a few extra Jamfiles to the current system.

If we were to use something other than GNU make, we should do it wholesale, or 
not at all, IMO.


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