[Haskell-cafe] Cabal

Gregory Crosswhite gcross at phys.washington.edu
Sun Nov 8 23:28:19 EST 2009

I have rarely encountered problems when creating or installing  
packages using Cabal.  In fact, the opposite is the case:  I find it  
annoying when installing packages that haven't been cabalized because  
they don't pull in all of their dependencies automatically.

It looks like there was a problem building readline, perhaps because  
it had trouble finding libreadline on your system.  If this is the  
case, then the problem has nothing to do with Cabal but merely with  
the fact that a single dependent package failed to install.  Have you  
tried building readline by itself and seeing the error message that it  


On Nov 8, 2009, at 7:29 PM, Philippos Apolinarius wrote:

> I made small improvements in the Small Japi Binding, and asked how  
> to make it available. I received a few private messages advising me  
> to build and package the library using a tool called cabal. Since I  
> have used installation tools for PLT, R  and LaTeX libraries, I  
> thought cabal was something similar. However, I noticed that there  
> are a lot of complaints against cabal.  Therefore, I decided to  
> install cabal, and try it. It seems that it is easier to install  
> packages by hand than using cabal.  Here is a typical cabal session:
> D:\ghc\ghcapi>cabal update
> Downloading the latest package list from hackage.haskell.org
> D:\ghc\ghcapi>cabal install mkcabal
> Resolving dependencies...
> Downloading pcre-light-0.3.1...
> Configuring pcre-light-0.3.1...
> Downloading readline-
> Configuring readline-
> cabal: Error: some packages failed to install:
> mkcabal-0.4.2 depends on readline- which failed to install.
> pcre-light-0.3.1 failed during the configure step. The exception was:
> exit: ExitFailure 1
> readline- failed during the configure step. The exception was:
> exit: ExitFailure 1
> As one can see, it is much more difficult to use than R installation  
> tools, or MikTeX installation tools.  If cabal is so difficult, why  
> use it? I am sure that I have done something very stupid mistake,  
> but believe me, a lot of people is trying to use cabal and failing.  
> I am not  sure that it is a good idea to distribute libraries using  
> cabal. However, this is irrelevant, because I am sure that creating  
> a package with cabal is well beyond my powers. It is much easier to  
> write a complete JAPI library, than packaging it in cabal.
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