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

lennart spitzner hexagoxel at hexagoxel.de
Sun Apr 26 18:44:21 UTC 2020

On 25/04/2020 11:20, lonetiger at gmail.com wrote:
> Yes, this was changed recently as it provides a way to manage all 3 components individually.
> As in should you want to you can have any number of versions of GHC installed at the same time.
> By decoupling the components it allows for quicker updates and releases and for a better user experience.
> Platform was for instance still using GHC 8.6.5 and cabal 3.0.
> For the record these packages aren’t new, they’re only now being recommended.

How many windows haskell users
a) need multiple GHCs installed at the same time?
b) mind using ghc-8.6 and cabal-3.0?
c) are interested in quicker updates?
d) have confirmed that this change, overall, provides the better user experience?

To me this feels like a change was introduced
1) that disrupts existing workflows that have worked fine in the past
2) that nonetheless was not announced at all, really (chocolatey was mentioned once in a sidenode of a sidenote to a ghc release on the haskell mailinglist, but certainly not as a "ANNOUNCE: we (plan to) switch recommendations to this")
3) that may be a net positive, but it certainly has its trade-offs
4) without asking the relevant userbase for any sort of feedback before making the change

and then, when people give feedback after the fact, in a respectful manner, the response to me reads like this:

- "just ignore the step 1 subscribe-newsletter spam, it is optional"
- "why, don't you know how to use powershell?"
- "you can just use binary releases" (but those are not currently advertised at all from haskell.org)
- "yeah there is a ChocolateyGUI.msi" (but haskell.org is not recommending that because..?)
- "you don't like the change? then please explain in detail what is bad about Chocolatey"

No, this is not about Chocolatey! On a glance, it seems like a sensible tool, despite the dark pattern, IF you are interested in installing multiple up-to-date ghcs. But what does the userbase want?

Have the windows haskell users been asked about this via haskell(-cafe)@haskell.org (or other windows-focussed lists)? Why not?

Maybe the main answer to all of this is the sad "we don't have any volunteer time, and maintaining the installer is a time-sink. Asking users and shepherding a consensus would take even more effort. Chocolatey is the most cost-effective solution to the problem at hand, just from a maintenance perspective."


If this is the case, I urge you to approach the problem differently. There may be a circle of "too few contributors -> hard to communicate on problems with diverse user-groups with conflicting interests -> people complaining about breakage without contributing". But you don't break that cycle by stopping on the communication front and implementing solutions that make the most sense to you.

> Increasingly, GHC HQ is a cult/elite that doesn't want any new members.
> The difficulties in trying to use GHC just show how exclusive it has become.

Is exactly what this will feel like to those that are not enabled to influence the direction of the project. And I can fully empathise with this.

-- lennart

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