Cutting down GHC installation to bare minimum

Scott Michel at
Mon May 3 01:58:56 EDT 2010

This is a fascinating argument for the Haskell platform vs. a port-directed
installation system.

Consider if you wanted to customize GHC or another Haskell environment to an
embedded system (e.g., prototype embedded flight software for a space
vehicle)? What would the "bare minimum" core be? How would one go about
achieving that with the current GHC build system? What does an embedded
Haskell environment look like and how does one reliably package it?

Actually, the question isn't so far fetched. NASA was flying variants of
Lisp in the early 90s.


On Tue, Apr 27, 2010 at 6:45 AM, Dave Bayer <bayer at>wrote:

> I agree with the answer that Yitz gave, but let me frame it in a bit of
> context:
> Many people's idea of a programming language is Python, and within 12
> minutes of settling in to a new language they're going to wonder how to
> match a regular expression to a string, or download a web page, and they'll
> get very antsy if this isn't obvious and provided. The nuts and bolts of
> if/then/else statements? Aren't all languages the same? It's the library
> quality that makes a language.
> On the other hand, some of us could amuse ourselves on a long desert island
> stint with just a core Lisp interpreter. That is, till we see Haskell. As a
> "from scratch" mathematical environment, GHC Haskell is fantastic. The only
> downside is that Haskell will ruin you for working in other environments
> (e.g. LaTeX).
> GHC Haskell is released with exactly the libraries it needs to compile
> itself. So one could just install GHC Haskell itself. That's plenty for
> anyone playing in isolation with Haskell as a mathematical environment. If
> you don't want to reinvent every wheel, and have a project in mind that
> interacts in any way with the world, you'll need some other library within
> 12 minutes. In which case the Haskell Platform is the painless way to go.
> On Apr 27, 2010, at 8:55 AM, Yitzchak Gale wrote:
> > leledumbo wrote:
> >> I notice that many of the installed libs aren't required for learning
> >> Haskell. What libs are required so I can get the bare minimum version of
> >> GHC?
> >
> > For most people, the recommended approach is to install
> > the Haskell Platform. This is not a minimal setup - it includes
> > packages you would need for most normal use of Haskell.
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