How to start with GHC development?

Tim Watson watson.timothy at
Thu Dec 13 10:24:02 CET 2012

I'm in a very similar position. Have some background knowledge and would love to contribute to ghc in the future hut the barrier to entry is pretty high even though I've some familiarity with compiler theory, have a long history with functional languages like ml/ocaml and a background in c that might mean contributing to the runtime system in the future could be an area where I make myself useful.

More pointers to resources and research materials would be most helpful.


On 13 Dec 2012, at 08:56, Jan Stolarek <jan.stolarek at> wrote:

> Dear list,
> I'm reposting my message from Haskell-cafe here since this seems like a more appropriate place to 
> ask this question. I would like to learn about internals of GHC and contribute to its development 
> in the future. I read a couple of papers that give a very general overview of GHC (chapter from 
> AoS, papers about inliner and multicore support) and I'm thinking what direction should I pursue 
> now. I got the GHC sources and started reading commentary on the wiki, but it seems that entry 
> barrier is very high.
> Aside from the problem of understanding the whole project organization itself, I also don't have 
> background on implementation of functional languages. In fact I have a rather basic knowledge of 
> compilers in general - I only took Stanford's online course on Compilers at Coursera. I was 
> thinking that perhaps I should read SPJs "Implementing Functional Languages: a tutorial" or "The 
> Implementation Of Functional Languages" book to learn more about theory? On the other hand I 
> don't know if getting stuck in theory for next couple of months is a good idea.
> I would greatly appreciate any advice and help.
> Janek
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