[Haskell-cafe] Build regressions due to GHC 7.6

MightyByte mightybyte at gmail.com
Thu Aug 30 08:18:42 CEST 2012

Interesting data point.  I think my initial thoughts can be summarized with
the suggestion that this thread would be better served by a little irony
and a new subject: "Reuse Considered Harmful".

On Thu, Aug 30, 2012 at 1:26 AM, Bryan O'Sullivan <bos at serpentine.com>wrote:

> Since the release of the GHC 7.6 RC, I've been going through my packages
> and fixing up build problems so that people who upgrade to 7.6 will have a
> smooth ride.
> Sad to say, my experience of 7.6 is that it has felt like a particularly
> rough release for backwards incompatibility. I wanted to quantify the pain,
> so I did some research, and here's what I found.
> I maintain 25 open source Haskell packages. Of these, the majority have
> needed updates due to the GHC 7.6 release:
>    - base16-bytestring
>    - blaze-textual
>    - bloomfilter
>    - configurator
>    - criterion
>    - double-conversion
>    - filemanip
>    - HDBC-mysql
>    - mwc-random
>    - pcap
>    - pool
>    - riak-haskell-client
>    - snappy
>    - text
>    - text-format
>    - text-icu
> That's 16 out of 25 packages I've had to update. I've also either reported
> bugs on, or had to fix, several other people's packages along the way
> (maybe four?). So let's say I've run into problems with 20 out of the
> combined 29 packages of mine and my upstreams.
> The reasons for these problems fall into three bins:
>    - Prelude no longer exports catch, so a lot of "import Prelude hiding
>    (catch)" had to change.
>    - The FFI now requires constructors to be visible, so "CInt" has to be
>    imported as "CInt(..)".
>    - bytestring finally got bumped to 0.10, so many upper bounds had to
>    be relaxed (*cf* my suggestion that the upper-bounds-by-default policy
>    is destructive).
> It has been a lot of work to test 29 packages, and then modify, rebuild,
> and release 20 of them. It has consumed most of my limited free time for
> almost two weeks. Worse, this has felt like make-work, of no practical
> benefit to anyone beyond scrambling to restore the status quo ante.
> If over half of my packages needed fixing, I'm alarmed at the thought of
> the effects on the rest of Hackage.
> I'm torn over this. I understand and agree with the impetus to improve the
> platform by tidying things up, and yet just two seemingly innocuous changes
> (catch and FFI) have forced me to do a bunch of running to stand still.
> I don't have any suggestions about what to do; I know that it's hard to
> estimate the downstream effects of what look like small changes. And so I'm
> not exactly complaining. Call this an unhappy data point.
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