[Haskell-cafe] Re: 1,000 packages, so let's build a few!

Duncan Coutts duncan.coutts at worc.ox.ac.uk
Mon Feb 2 04:49:15 EST 2009

On Mon, 2009-02-02 at 13:49 +0900, Benjamin L.Russell wrote:
> On Sun, 01 Feb 2009 15:01:28 +0000, Duncan Coutts
> <duncan.coutts at worc.ox.ac.uk> wrote:
> >On Sat, 2009-01-31 at 16:50 -0800, Don Stewart wrote:
> >
> >> Windows people need to set up a windows at haskell.org to sort out their
> >> packaging issues, like we have for debian, arch, gentoo, freebsd and
> >> other distros.
> >> 
> >> Unless people take action to get things working well on their platform,
> >> it will be slow going.
> >
> >Actually instead of going off into another mailing list I would
> >encourage them to volunteer on the cabal-devel mailing list to help out.
> >There is lots we could do to improve the experience on Windows and half
> >the problem is we do not have enough people working on it or testing
> >things.
> That sounds like a great idea, but what specifically should Windows
> users do to help out?  If we try to install a package on Windows and
> encounter a bug that we can't figure out, would it be sufficient to
> subscribe at http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/cabal-devel and
> to submit a bug report to cabal-devel at haskell.org ?

So on cabal-devel we are concerned with bugs and missing features in
Cabal that make life hard for windows users. We cannot directly fix
individual packages, there are too many and that is the job of the
package maintainers. 

We are interested in solving the more systemic problems however. So for
example working out if we can replace many of the configure scripts:

Or just improving the error message when we fail to run configure

Or support in the cabal-install planner for non-Haskell dependencies (so
we can track dependencies on sh.exe or libs that are not available on
Windows.) The point is to make best use of the available information to
work out which packages have no hope of building on Windows.

We also have a collection of tickets that primarily affect Windows:

many of these need help from windows users, either to decide what the
solution should be or to test the solution.

Having more Cabal volunteers who use Windows would be great. I've
recently been trying to solve some permissions problems on Windows which
is pretty hard without having proper access to a Windows system. There
are also some important tickets that are just sitting around waiting for
some policy decision to be made. The couple people who used to advise us
on these questions (like what default install locations should be etc)
have not had time recently so these things just sit around with no
decisions made.

So actually just having more Windows users subscribed to cabal-devel and
commenting on tickets would be very useful, even if you do not have much
time for hacking.


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