Platform policy question: API compatability in minor releases

Duncan Coutts duncan.coutts at
Sun May 10 12:41:48 EDT 2009

On Sun, 2009-05-10 at 08:15 -0700, Bryan O'Sullivan wrote:
> On Sun, May 10, 2009 at 6:05 AM, Duncan Coutts
> <duncan.coutts at> wrote:
>         It's a good point though I would resolve it differently. I
>         would suggest that we make it so that you don't actually have
>         to upgrade to each minor bug fix release if the first one you
>         picked worked ok for you. Then we only ask users and distros
>         to upgrade (and thus rebuild everything) every 6 months (or
>         perhaps 4).
> Okay. I do somewhat suspect that you're making rather a lot of work
> for yourself in that case with all those minor releases that probably
> won't see much use, but far be it from me to suggest how you should
> spend your time :-)

Once we've got ~50 packages in the platform I think it's inevitable that
we'll need bug fix releases. Perhaps we can get away with fewer
especially once the process settles down. Time will tell.

Sometimes we just need point releases to fix things for newer OS
platforms that come along many months later. For example ghc-6.10.x has
stopped building from source on OS X 10.5.6+ because of changes on that
platform in basic toolchain programs (stricter ar/ld in this case).
These are exactly the kind of cases where all other users do not need to
upgrade because it already works for them.

As for the amount of work, the aim is to automate everything so that
producing releases is a sensible amount of work. This really is crucial
or release managers will burn out.

> Overall, I'm very happy with this approach, and with your readiness to
> engage in substantive discussion around API stability, scheduling, and
> the like. Thanks so much for your great work!

:-) I hope I'm not being too belligerent.


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