[Haskell-cafe] Somewhat random history question

Lennart Augustsson lennart at augustsson.net
Sun Nov 11 14:44:38 EST 2007

It's interesting that the article completely fails to mention hbc
which I know they used during the GHC bootstrap.  Oh well. :)

On Nov 11, 2007 2:41 PM, Richard Kelsall <r.kelsall at millstream.com> wrote:
> Andrew Coppin wrote:
> > "...if GHC is written in Haskell, how the heck did they compile GHC in
> > the first place?"
> The paper "A History of Haskell: Being Lazy With Class" by Paul Hudak,
> John Hughes, Simon Peyton Jones and Philip Wadler is a good read.
> http://research.microsoft.com/~simonpj/papers/history-of-haskell/index.htm
> A snippet
> "GHC was begun in January 1989 at the University of Glasgow, as soon
> as the initial language design was fixed. The first version of GHC was
> written in LML by Kevin Hammond, and was essentially a new front end to
> the Chalmers LML compiler. This prototype started to work in June 1989,
> just as Peyton Jones arrived in Glasgow to join the burgeoning
> functional programming group there. The prototype compiler implemented
> essentially all of Haskell 1.0 including views (later removed), type
> classes, the deriving mechanism, the fullmodule system, and binary I/O
> as well as both streams and continuations. It was reasonably robust
> (with occasional spectacular failures), but the larger Haskell prelude
> stressed the LML prelude mechanism quite badly, and the added complexity
> of type classes meant the compiler was quite a lot bigger and slower
> than the base LML compiler.
> ...
> GHC proper was begun in the autumn of 1989, by a team consisting
> initially of Cordelia Hall, Will Partain, and Peyton Jones. It was
> designed from the ground up as a complete implementation of Haskell in
> Haskell, bootstrapped via the prototype compiler. The only part that was
> shared with the prototype was the parser, which at that stage was still
> written in Yacc and C. The first beta release was on 1 April 1991 (the
> date was no accident), but it was another 18 months before the first
> full release (version 0.10) was made in December 1992."
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