[Haskell-cafe] Re: Haskell-friendly Linux Distribution

Jason Dagit dagit at codersbase.com
Mon Mar 29 22:55:06 EDT 2010

On Sun, Mar 28, 2010 at 4:53 AM, Joachim Breitner <nomeata at debian.org>wrote:

> Hi,
> Am Sonntag, den 28.03.2010, 09:04 +0100 schrieb Magnus Therning:
> > I have to say it looks like Debian has gotten their act together
> > somewhat when it comes to Haskel development.  Many of the reasons for
> > my deserting Debian seem have been taken care of.
> so, what is missing for you to come back :-)

The reason I started telling everyone to avoid GHC in apt was the way it was
packaged.  Casual Haskell users would install GHC but get something like
1/10th of the libraries GHC installs when you do a source install and none
of the profiled libraries.  Everything seems fine and working.  A few days
later, this casual user tries to build something and cannot find the
libraries they need.  Usually they would struggle to find them and when when
they did find out where to get them the answer was often, "It should have
come with ghc".  They're baffled.  If they are lucky they figure out which
apt package to install.  Now fast forward a few weeks.  This casual user is
now trying to profile something, oh wait, some problem again.  If it had
been an install from the ghc source then only additional packages on hackage
would need to be hunted down and installed.

Basically, it was a monumental headache for casual users to hunt down the
full package list to reconstruct what you'd get from the source install.
 So, at some point, I just started telling all my friends to avoid the ghc
in apt and go straight for the tarballs from GHC HQ.  This advice seemed to
save a lot of head scratching later.

To me, until there is one obvious package to install to get the same set of
files as a normal ghc install I will continue to discourage people from
getting ghc from apt :)  I've heard virtual packages could be used to fix
the problem.  That would be nice as long as the virtual package is easy to
find and the name tips people off that it's the GHC they really want.

I hope you find my feedback useful :)

PS It's been several years since I checked on GHC in debian, maybe my
concerns have already been addressed.
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