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

Ben Gamari ben at smart-cactus.org
Sun Apr 26 14:46:39 UTC 2020

Anthony Clayden <anthony_clayden at clear.net.nz> writes:


>> I would ask anyone who feels that GHC development is exclusionary to please be in
> touch; I am very interested to know how we can improve.
> I'd like to cite as evidence the survey results Francesco links to:
> I don't think I ever got invited to contribute -- where would that have been?
> There wasn't an invite on the Hugs-users list.

For what it's worth, there was an invitation to respond to the 2019
State of Haskell Survey was sent to this very list [1]. However, I
believe there was only one such announcement so it is understandable
that it could be missed.

> Note I don't use Reddit because I'm not a brogrammer.
> The survey is kinda self-fulfilling: most people don't use GHC on Windows,
> because it's too hard to install.
Indeed the fact that most of our users use Linux or Darwin poses a
significant challenge for Windows support. We often only learn of
regressions on Windows quite late as a result.

However, of all of the problems with Windows that we might have, issues
with installation instructions should be avoidable. It sounds like your
primary concern is that we recommend Chocolatey on
https://haskell.org/platform [2]?

It would be helpful if you could describe what your precise objections
to Chocolatey are; I'll admit I'm not familiar enough with it to know
why someone might prefer to avoid it. I sounds like there may be two
possible reasons:

 * it requires elevated permissions
 * it requires PowerShell, which the user may not be familiar with

The download page [2] is trying to strike a delicate balance: On one
hand we want as few options as possible to avoid confusion; on the other
we do want to be accomodating to user preferences. Perhaps we could
amend the text to say something like:

    The recommended way to get started with Haskell on Windows is by
    using using [Chocolatey] to install `ghc` and `cabal-install` (users
    not interested in Chocolatey should refer to the [alternate Windows
    instructions]). Further details for
    Chocolatey usage are available [here].

    Users should follow the instructions at [haskellstack.org] to
    install `stack`.

    To get started perform these steps:

    1. Configure [Chocolatey] on your machine.

    2. If upgrading from the old-style `haskell-platform` installer, clean
       the cabal configuration by running:

       cabal user-config init -f 

       Then uninstall prior versions of the platform. 

    3. At an elevated command prompt, run:

       choco install haskell-dev

Where [alternate Windows instructions] would describe installation from
a binary distribution. Perhaps this would be an improvement over the
status quo?

> GHC is exclusionary against casual/recreational Haskellers (who are
> more likely on Windows) and those more interested in using it to
> explore PL Theory.

This is sad to hear and a trend that we should try hard to suppress. One
of Haskell's greatest strengths is its diversity of users and


- Ben

[1] https://mail.haskell.org/pipermail/haskell-cafe/2019-November/131633.html
[2] https://www.haskell.org/platform/windows.html#windows
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 487 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://mail.haskell.org/pipermail/haskell-cafe/attachments/20200426/93243bbe/attachment.sig>

More information about the Haskell-Cafe mailing list