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

Tom Ellis tom-lists-haskell-cafe-2017 at jaguarpaw.co.uk
Mon Apr 4 13:28:56 UTC 2022

On Mon, Apr 04, 2022 at 10:03:11AM +0100, Julian Bradfield wrote:
> On 2022-04-03, MigMit <migmit at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I think I remember myself as an inexperienced user. I might've
> > walked away from Haskell, if I was given an instruction like "to
> > install thing X, first install thing A, then use it to install
> > think K, and then use that to install thing X". The longer the way
> > between becoming curious about something and actually producing an
> > executable, the less new users you have.
> We use Haskell in our first-year course. Almost all students turn up
> with bog-standard commodity hardware: Windows laptops, Macs, or
> Chromebooks, with a small proportion of Linux laptops (those people
> are usually ok). Every year it takes the first two weeks of semester
> to handhold them all through the process of getting Haskell installed
> and working. I don't do Windows or Mac, so I don't even know why some
> (but not all) have problems - but they do.
> They don't have the choice to walk away, but it wastes valuable
> learning time, and gives a negative impression. Some of them then find
> out that they like Haskell, and some that they hate it - I suspect
> more would like it if they weren't put off by the initial hurdle of
> getting the damn thing working at all.
> Having a one-click install for the popular architectures would do a
> lot for new users, especially if it includes popular stuff like
> QuickCheck (I suppose QuickCheck is popular - I don't do Haskell, I
> just have to tutor it:) )

Hello Julian,

Thanks very much for sharing this perspective.  The more different
perspectives we hear the better idea we have of how to improve the
situation for a broad range of users and use cases.

However, I'm a bit puzzled by the experience of your students.  The
Downloads page[1] already contains a link to ghcup which is a
one-click installer (or rather a one-click-to-paste-into-the-terminal
installer) for the popular architectures.  It should work as well on
Windows and Mac as it does on Linux.

If there is any way you could share more detailed experience reports
with us I would be very grateful.  Perhaps there's something we can
fix or improve, but I don't know yet what!


[1] https://www.haskell.org/downloads/

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