[Haskell-cafe] When did it become so hard to installHaskellonWindows?

lonetiger at gmail.com lonetiger at gmail.com
Sat Apr 25 09:30:36 UTC 2020

And to be clear, if it because you don’t want to use a commandline and want an installer
Chocolatey also provides a GUI overlay, It is after all. A bog standard package manager.


Is the latest release. It has the familiar “Click and installer asks for UAC and magic happens in background”.

That Pedro may be looking for as well.

Afterwards you just check the box for Haskell-dev and click install.

If you want GHC 8.6.5, you click the all versions button and install that. Haskell-dev is nothing but a wrapper to
Install msys2, ghc and cabal.  Select those 3 components and you get the same thing.

So whether you install Haskell-dev and then downgrade to GHC 8.6.5 or you install GHC 8.6.5 + msys2, both should work

From: lonetiger at gmail.com
Sent: Saturday, April 25, 2020 10:20
To: Jack Kelly
Cc: dreixel at gmail.com; haskell
Subject: RE: [Haskell-cafe] When did it become so hard to installHaskellonWindows?

Hi Jack,

What made it remarkably tough for students to set up on their machines?

You can still use Haskell-dev if you want older GHCs. Just install it and then
Downgrade the ghc.

I would be quite interested to figure out what the pain points were.

Surely if they are new to Windows they would have come from a platform where
they know what a package manager is.

Would providing a binary to automate the steps work for you? I have been reluctant to
do so because I don’t want to hide what the installer is doing.


Sent from Mail for Windows 10

From: Jack Kelly
Sent: Saturday, April 25, 2020 10:15
To: lonetiger at gmail.com
Cc: dreixel at gmail.com; haskell
Subject: Re: [Haskell-cafe] When did it become so hard to install HaskellonWindows?

I appreciate that these things are standard tools for Windows
developers, but it's worth noting how much harder it can make things
for completely new people (either new developers or new to Windows).

At the start of the year, I prepared install instructions for university
students who would be using Haskell as part of a first year CS
course. We needed to use GHC 8.6.5 because certain libraries were not
available for GHC 8.8.x (their base upper bounds hadn't updated, which
ruled out haskell-dev), and tried to use Chocolatey as an experiment.

It was remarkably tough to get students set up on their own machines. I
was planning on recommending the Haskell Platform installer for Semester
2 this year, and am disappointed to find that it no longer exists.

If it becomes too hard for students to install Haskell on their own
Windows machines, it may become too hard for us to use Haskell as an
educational tool, and I'd consider that a tragedy.

-- Jack

<lonetiger at gmail.com> writes:

> Hi Pedro,
> I’m the maintainer of those chocolatey packages.
> ➢ First, I have to subscribe to a newsletter? Really? I guess this is
> entirely optional, but the instructions don't make it sound so.
> Step 1 is completely optional and you don’t have to subscribe to any news letter.
> ➢ Then I have to know what powershell.exe is, use an administrative prompt, and enter scary commands in it.
> Powershell has been the standard shell in Windows for well over the
> past decade. Every single script from Microsoft or third parties come
> with powershell for automation.
> It’s understandable that you may not know it since your primary
> platform isn’t Windows. But it’s been included in every single Windows
> version for the past 13 years.
> An administrative prompt is nothing different than running sudo or
> clicking on that installer that you *assumed* not to be scary because
> you didn’t see the actions it was performing.
> That scary looking command is nothing but a curl command allowing the
> one time execution of a script from a remote source. As in a script
> that’s not physically on your machine.
> So what exactly makes this scary? Is it because
> Set-ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Scope Process -Force;
> [System.Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol =
> [System.Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol -bor 3072; iex
> ((New-Object
> System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString('https://chocolatey.org/install.ps1'))
> Is more verbose than
> curl -sSL https://path.to.some.script/ | sh
> or because the technologies used while completely standard on Windows aren’t known to the casual user?
> Thanks,
> Tamar
> From: José Pedro Magalhães
> Sent: Saturday, April 25, 2020 04:24
> To: haskell
> Subject: [Haskell-cafe] When did it become so hard to install Haskell onWindows?
> Hi,
> I haven't used Haskell in my personal computer in a while. I decided
> to install it again. I used the Haskell Platform in the past, so I
> went for that again - and a quick Google search on "install haskell
> windows" brings up the HP page, so I thought I was on the right track.
> At the HP page for Windows, I'm greeted with this:
> In the past I'd just download an installer which would take care of
> things - now it seems to be more complicated. But fine, I followed the
> link to configure Chocolatey. That's where it starts getting really
> scary:
> First, I have to subscribe to a newsletter? Really? I guess this is
> entirely optional, but the instructions don't make it sound so. Then I
> have to know what powershell.exe is, use an administrative prompt, and
> enter scary commands in it.
> I gave up at this stage. But going back to the HP page, it appears
> that even this wouldn't be enough, because I would still need to
> follow "the instructions at haskellstack.org to install stack". The
> link to haskellstack.org takes me to a 403 Forbidden.
> I honestly don't want this to sound like a rant. I genuinely would
> like to understand why this multi-step, multi-tool, multi-website
> process was introduced, how it is superior to a single installer, and
> whether this is really the process we want newcomers to the language
> have to follow.
> Thanks,
> Pedro
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