On the Haskell Platform

Joachim Breitner mail at joachim-breitner.de
Sun May 13 19:35:06 CEST 2012

[Re-Sending, the mailing list is picky about sender e-mail addresses.]

Hi Heinrich,

Am Freitag, den 11.05.2012, 10:23 +0200 schrieb Heinrich Apfelmus:
> With these principles in mind, imagine my surprise, then, to discover 
> that the "Haskell Platform" on Ubuntu 12.04 includes GHC 7.4.1
>    http://packages.ubuntu.com/precise/haskell-platform
> Clearly, this must be a fake Haskell Platform, because the latest real 
> Haskell Platform is still at GHC 7.0.4 at the time of this writing. 
> Unfortunately, my principle 1 is now rendered moot.

the problem with packaging the platform is that distributions have a
one-version-per-package policy, so we can not always have exactly the
version present in the latest platform, e.g. because other packages
require a newer version, or just because the old version is too old and
buggy and our users want newer versions. Therefore, we take the liberty
to diverge a bit. You can see the current status for Debian on 

Furthermore, in the development brach of Debian, unstable, we prepare
the next releases and currently package the versions that we expect for
the platform 2012.2.0.0. You can see that the version you linked to is
such an prerelease by the version number (2012.1.0.0~debian1).

In Debian, we would avoid having such a prerelease in a stable release
(but might decide that it could still be better than having too old
versions of compiler and libraries). I can’t speak for Ubuntu in that

> I don't quite know what to do. I understand that there is a need to get 
> the latest GHC into the standard setup, but creating a "fake" Haskell 
> Platform seems like a mistake to me, as it contradicts the use case 
> "complete Haskell beginner" I described above. Not to mention that I'm 
> stuck with the "real" Haskell Platform on Mac OS X and would have to 
> manage separate cabal installations if I want to thoroughly test my 
> package for all compiler versions. Or is it my principles that need to 
> change?

From a distro point of view I can only say: We made policies and
decisions that lead to us not being able to provide up-to-date libraries
_and_ the latest (or even all) platform versions, so this problem will
likely stay around for a while.

What we can offer, though, is to package your software. A „complete
Haskell beginner“ should maybe use distro-packaged libraries in the
first place, precisely because the distribution takes care of these
issues for him.


Joachim "nomeata" Breitner
  mail at joachim-breitner.de  |  nomeata at debian.org  |  GPG: 0x4743206C
  xmpp: nomeata at joachim-breitner.de | http://www.joachim-breitner.de/

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