[Haskell-cafe] RFC: removing “alternative installation methods” from haskell.org (or finding them owners)

Artem Pelenitsyn a.pelenitsyn at gmail.com
Sun Apr 3 02:58:04 UTC 2022

> * I don't know where you are getting info about which project is used
more or less*
Well, that's why we have the State of Haskell survey, right?..
> Which installation methods do you use for your Haskell compiler?
Here are results for options gathered >10%.
[image: Screenshot from 2022-04-02 22-39-01.png]

Since I'm already writing this, I add my 2c. I've been using HVR's PPA for
years, switched to ghcup and never regretted it.
It's strictly better in terms of 1) UI/UX, 2) maintenance (shout out to
ghcup's maintenance team: it's just amazing).

I believe haskell.org should refer to the most modern, nice-looking,
wide-used (see results above), well-maintained
solutions that deliver reasonably fresh versions of the toolchain. This
contradicts with trying to survey most known
solutions (because e.g. some of those will not be maintained or will have
outdated versions, etc.).

Alternative methods section requires crowdsourcing, and the best way to
handle that imo is a wiki page.
I think the current section for "alternative methods" should be turned into
one and referenced from
the Downloads page with the asterisk "for the curious". If only we had a
healthy functioning wiki, sigh…

Kind regards,

On Sat, 2 Apr 2022 at 18:26, Ivan Perez <ivanperezdominguez at gmail.com>

> I think it's perfect as they are and I'd advise against changing it.
> I personally discourage the use of stack or ghcup, and would certainly
> prefer to see more installation methods based on package-management tools
> that each OS provides. I think there's something to be said in favor of
> using standard package-management tools that install the compiler in global
> space.
> In particular, the PPA-based installation method for Debian/Ubuntu/Mint
> that HVR used to maintain was excellent. It's still my preferred method
> (even though it's not maintained). I don't know where you are getting info
> about which project is used more or less, and I fear there may be a strong
> bias.
> Leaving them there is more fair, makes more people aware of their
> existence, and makes it more likely that newcomers will be able to
> participate in other efforts.
> For Haskell to remain a community project, it's good that we keep
> mentioning less popular projects, even when attention temporarily sways one
> way or another. If you remove other projects from the web page, you create
> an effect of compound interest (or compound attention) towards those
> projects, where they get the most contributions because they are the ones
> that most people are aware of because they are on the front page because
> they get the most contributions, and so on and so forth.
> Ivan
> On Sat, 2 Apr 2022 at 14:51, Tom Ellis <
> tom-lists-haskell-cafe-2017 at jaguarpaw.co.uk> wrote:
>> The Haskell.org committee is considering removing the "alternative
>> installation options" section from the [downloads page of
>> haskell.org](https://www.haskell.org/downloads/) and we seek the
>> opinion of the community. If you would like to share your opinion we
>> prefer that you do so [on the haskell.org issue
>> tracker](https://github.com/haskell-infra/www.haskell.org/issues/170),
>> but failing that, in this email thread is fine too.
>> ### Background
>> The [downloads page of
>> haskell.org](https://www.haskell.org/downloads/) suggests using ghcup
>> and stack to obtain a toolchain. These two tools are widely used in
>> the community, actively maintained and kept up-to-date. The page also
>> provides a number of "alternative installation options" (see below, or
>> on the page itself, for the list).
>> The Haskell.org committee does not have the resources to ensure that
>> these alternative installation options are kept maintained and
>> confirmed working. We don't even know if anyone uses them. Anyone who
>> uses them is likely to be an "advanced user" anyway, since they
>> require more expertise to implement. stack and ghcup presumably work
>> well on all those platforms, are the most well-maintained installation
>> options and most suitable for beginners.
>> ### Possibilities
>> We have a couple of options:
>> 1. Remove all the alternative installation options.
>> 2. Keep (some of) the alternative installation options and find
>> community volunteers to maintain them. The volunteers will be
>> responsible for ensuring verifying on a regular basis that their
>> instructions are still working, submitting timely corrections when
>> necessary, and responding promptly on the issue tracker to questions
>> about their installation instructions.
>> ### What we would like from you
>> * Please share your opinion about removing the alternative
>>   installation options, especially if you are a user of one of them!
>>   * If you are willing to maintain an alternative installation option,
>>   please speak up!
>> ### Current alternative installation options
>> * Linux Ubuntu (confusing (see
>>   https://github.com/haskell-infra/www.haskell.org/issues/16) and
>>   probably outdated)
>>   * Linux Debian (links to https://downloads.haskell.org/~debian/
>>   which doesn't support Debian 11 Bullseye)
>>   * Linux Fedora
>>   * Linux EPEL for RHEL/CentOS/etc
>>   * Linux Arch
>>   * Linux openSUSE Leap
>>   * Linux openSUSE Tumbleweed
>>   * Linux Gentoo
>>   * Windows Chocolatey
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