[Haskell-cafe] GHC maintenance on Arch

Eric Velten de Melo ericvmelo at gmail.com
Mon Oct 29 12:20:51 CET 2012

In his defense, from the perspective of a more or less newbie in the
subject matter, I had quite a bit of trouble using Haskell under Arch.
Not that it is so much better in other systems, I wouldn't know.

I often was in the position to decide whether to use cabal-install,
arch-haskell repositories or official repositories and many times the
thing that worked for me was a mix of everything, which is quite
sub-optimal, although more or less working for me at the moment. I'm
not saying that this is because the way Arch works or the way Cabal is
designed is wrong. Maybe it is because I'm not figuring it out. Some
people say you should not use cabal-install as a package manager,
because it is not supposed to be one. Again, other people say
arch-haskell repositories are very buggy at the moment and one should
install only cabal-install and ghc from the official repositories and
only use cabal-install for the rest.

Just telling my experience so far: I often have had to struggle
between cabal dependency hell and non-working packages in the
repositories. Either something is very wrong with the way things are
right now or I'm doing everything wrong (which is more likely).

I am still not in the condition of proposing things myself, but I
don't think this is fair treatment so far to someone that is proposing
a compromise solution to a problem he found. Anyway, hopefully this
would be better clarified in the arch-haskell mailing list.

2012/10/29 Magnus Therning <magnus at therning.org>:
> Hello Timothy,
> Now I'm going to run the risk of upsetting you quite a bit by being
> completely blunt.
> You come across in your mail like someone who has thought through your
> own situation, but fail to see the larger picture.  You do know *your*
> Haskell needs, and you know what *you* would want from a project like
> ArchHaskell.  Then however you completely fail to realise that these
> are *your needs*, not anyone else's, but still you suggest that
> ArchHaskelll is broken because it doesn't provide a system that solves
> *your* problems.
> I suggest you take your insights of your situation and try to find a
> solution that works for you, and it sounds like you're on the way
> already with cabal-install.  If you have suggestions on how to improve
> ArchHaskell *within the goals of the project* (which includes the
> general goals of ArchLinux) that would make ArchHaskell more usable to
> you, then you are more than welcome.  However, if all you do is
> suggest that we completely change the goals of ArchHaskell because
> they don't align with your needs, then we thank you for your input,
> but ask you to not hold your breath for any changes.
> /M
> On Sun, Oct 28, 2012 at 9:49 PM,  <timothyhobbs at seznam.cz> wrote:
>> Hello,
>> Who is in charge of the ghc and haskell packages on Arch linux?  The current
>> system isn't working.
>> Arch linux tends to update packages very quickly.
>> For ghc, always having the latest ghc isn't a good thing.  At least if you
>> actually want to get some work done.  A majority of the time the latest GHC
>> is unusable. This is because the packages in hackage simply don't keep up.
>> With the current ghc version(7.6.1) even some basic packages in hackage are
>> not upgraded yet.
>> Right now, a large number of other haskell related packages are in the arch
>> repos. Other than gtk2hs, I think these packages are pointless duplications.
>> In the other cases, it has been my experience that it is simpler to maintain
>> these packages through cabal rather than through pacman.  Support for these
>> packages in Arch should probably be dropped.
>> If you want to get work done in Arch with haskell, you should only install
>> ghc and cabal-install(right now, you'll have to search the Internet for the
>> old binaries, because the arch repos usually don't keep the old versions
>> around).  Then you should add these packages to "IgnorePkg =" in pacman.conf
>> this way things won't break every couple of months.  You can then choose to
>> upgrade when you wish.
>> I hope that someone who is involved with the haskell Arch stuff reads this.
>> The current model needs to be rethought.  Linux should be sane by default,
>> but I've lost many many hours learning that arch's relationship with haskell
>> is not so :(  Probably the best solution would be to make Arch automatically
>> keep two versions of ghc around at any given time.
>> Thank you for your time,
>> Timothy Hobbs
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> --
> Magnus Therning                      OpenPGP: 0xAB4DFBA4
> email: magnus at therning.org   jabber: magnus at therning.org
> twitter: magthe               http://therning.org/magnus
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