stability vs. latest features (was: Re: darcs patch: GenT monad transformer variant of Gen (QuickCheck 2))

Seth Kurtzberg seth at
Wed Aug 15 09:42:21 EDT 2007

I think one has to be realistic about the state of the language and the
speed of the development of the compiler, bundled libraries, unbundled
libraries, and related tools.

While I've been able to do substantial commercial development in Haskell
using GHC, I don't expect seamless updates.  Sure, this adds work, but my
opinion is that it is manageable and that the majority of changes are
worthwhile.  Like anyone else, I might have made somewhat different choices
in a few cases, but I don't think that any sort of blanket condemnation is

Seth Kurtzberg
Software Engineer
Specializing in Security, Reliability, and the Hardware/Software Interface

-----Original Message-----
From: libraries-bounces at [mailto:libraries-bounces at]
On Behalf Of Duncan Coutts
Sent: Wednesday, August 15, 2007 9:34 AM
To: Malcolm Wallace
Cc: libraries at
Subject: Re: stability vs latest features (was: Re: darcs patch: GenT monad
transformer variant of Gen (QuickCheck 2))

On Wed, 2007-08-15 at 13:26 +0100, Malcolm Wallace wrote:

> Isaac Dupree <isaacdupree at> wrote:
> > Personally, I don't see the need for new versions of libraries to stay
> > compatible with such old versions of GHC (is there a specific old-ghc 
> > use case I'm unaware of?).
> Yes.  The default version of ghc provided by our local tech support
> people for the use of all students and staff (i.e. those who are not
> specifically researching Haskell) is ghc-6.2.2.

But that version of GHC comes with libraries that work with it. I'm
talking about libs that get bundled with the implementation, it should
be ok for them to depend on the versions of other libs that get bundled
with the implementation.

For programs or libraries distributed independently it's up to the
package author to decide how much effort they want to go to to ensure
the package builds with a wide range of implementations and library

Cabal configurations should make this situation better. Cabal does
support ghc back to 6.2.2 and with a suitable .cabal file it should be
possible to make most progs work with a range of compiler versions.

BTW, re ghc on Sparc Solaris, it does build from source, we've got ghc
6.4.1 on our Sparc Solaris9 machines in Oxford.


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