[Haskell-cafe] starting GHC development -- two questions

Edward Z. Yang ezyang at MIT.EDU
Fri Aug 9 00:37:50 CEST 2013

Hello Ömer,

First off, welcome to the wonderful world of GHC development!  I
recommend that you subscribe to the ghc-devs mailing list and
direct GHC specific questions there:


> While doing this, I think one feature would greatly help me finding my
> way through GHC source, which is huge: I want to see definition of
> some symbols. Normally what I would do for this is to load source into
> GHCi and run :info command. But in the case of GHC, even if it's
> possible to load GHC into GHCi, I don't think it will be faster than
> running "ack --haskell someSymbol" and searching through results
> manually.
> First idea came to my mind was to generate tags files and then
> navigate from within vim(my editor of choice). tags file can be added
> to Makefile as a goal and then tags can be regenerated after each
> build. Did anyone else try this before?

GHC has a 'make tags' command but I've never gotten it to work.  I have
always just run 'hasktags .' in the compiler/ directory, which works
pretty well for me.  (If you're in the RTS, run ctags, etc instead)

> My second question is do we have any low-hanging fruits in trac, to
> help new people start contributing to GHC? I know several open source
> projects using that approach and it's really helpful for beginners.
> I just skimmed over trac and most issues look way too advanced for a starter.

We've been discussing putting together an easy bugs list.  As a proxy,
you can search on the 'Difficulty' keyword:

For example, this bug seems like a good beginner bug to get your feet
wet with the RTS: http://ghc.haskell.org/trac/ghc/ticket/750

This one will give you some experience wrangling the test suite:

Moving up to the moderate category, here is a nontrivial bug involving
profiling and the optimizer: http://ghc.haskell.org/trac/ghc/ticket/609

As with all open source projects, there is always lots of
infrastructural work to be done, so if that's your sort of thing, there
are plenty of bugs in that category.


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