Making GHC work on BSD

Matthias Kilian kili at
Tue Sep 9 14:55:11 EDT 2008

On Mon, Sep 08, 2008 at 01:22:15PM +0100, Simon Peyton-Jones wrote:
> We'd like GHC to be buildable on BSD, but at the moment it isn't.
> We support GHC on Linux, Windows, Mac, but we really need help
> with BSD.

The current plans for OpenBSD (and I can only speak for OpenBSD
here) are to provide a separate port/package with a trimmed down
GHC 6.6.1 and use this to bootstrap GHC 6.10.  This allows us to
get a clean build without HC bootstrapping (and without ugly hacks
like having to download a precompiled binary for bootstrapping).
And we'll recycle the the 6.6.1 port once HC bootstrapping works

> Alas, we didn't get much response to Simon's message below.  (One,
> I think -- thank you to that person!  I think it was Kili, but
> I'm not sure.)

I'm not sure, either. For the GHCi problem with mremap: well, it
wouldn't be a catastrophic failure if it can't be fixed for the GHC
6.10 release, IMHO. We already had a broken GHCi on amd64 in the
past (due to some real stupidity on my side, for which Don helped
out), and the number of complaints I got was rather small ;-)

BTW: I've only an i386 here, so fixing bugs happening on amd64 is

> So this message is to say: if you'd like GHC on BSD, please help!
> No help probably means no GHC.  Time is short before GHC 6.10.

If it isn't completely broken and just has some annoyances and bugs,
you don't have to despair if bug fixes don't happen before the
release. And at least on i386, the current GHC (6.9.20080908) can
be built from GHC 6.6.1 up to stage2, and a second GHC can be built
with this first build (I've still some problem with the make logic
when trying to install this second build, but that's probably a
PEBCAK). GHCi seems work fine, too.

Any bugs hitting the release can be fixed for us (OpenBSD) after
the release. Either upstream, in your repository, or, should any
necessary fixes be too intrusive for other platforms, as simple
patches in our ports tree.

I may sound like a lazy slacker, but unfortunately I've just not
enough spare time to work on GHC. And given the frustration I had
during the last months, I'll also pass maintainership of our official
GHC related ports to someone else, but I'll work on GHC head instead;
doing both at the same time just isn't possible for now.


ps: OpenBSD-4.4 will ship in october, with still GHC 6.6.1; we've
time until feburary 2008 to get GHC 6.10 ready to with OpenBSD-4.5.

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