Wither Haskell Platform 2013.4.0.0

Dag Odenhall dag.odenhall at gmail.com
Sun Oct 13 20:00:42 UTC 2013

I think this is a good opportunity to change the schedule for all future
platform releases. Currently the platform uses a time-based release
schedule with two releases each year, but the schedule is out of sync with
the rest of the free software community with the result that the
haskell-platform package on many Linux distributions typically lags behind
one version – and we‘re usually stuck with this outdated version for six
months until the cycle repeats itself and we’re stuck with the “new old”
version. This in turn results in distributions either opting not to track
or ship haskell-platform at all (Arch Linux) or in people installing the
packages from the development branch of the distribution (Fedora) which is
rather contrary to the stability point of haskell-platform.

The obvious solution would be to track a major upstream with time-based
releases that isn't a Linux distribution itself. GNOME is a good candidate
for this. They typically produce new major versions one or two months
before the Linux distributions do, which gives the latter time to package
and test it. It would also be good to have time-based release candidates
for haskell-platform to make this even smoother, especially since there are
much fewer people working on packaging and testing haskell-platform than
there is GNOME.

The primary audience for haskell-platform might be Windows users and
perhaps OS X users, but I think Linux is actually really important to this
goal, because a lot of library-producing and support-providing developers
use Linux, and currently the attitude seems to be “don‘t use
haskell-platform, don’t test your packages against haskell-platform, don‘t
advice beginners to use haskell-platform”. It’s just abstractly “there” for
“others, unspecified”.

But to return to the thread topic: I don‘t really care if there’s a release
with GHC 7.6 now or soon, but whatever happens I strongly feel there should
be a new haskell-platform with GHC 7.8 *no later than March 2014*, and from
then on haskell-platform should continue to track GNOME, more or less.

On Sun, Oct 13, 2013 at 8:29 PM, Mark Lentczner <mark.lentczner at gmail.com>wrote:

> Friends —
> Deep apologies for being so out of touch the last two months(*).
> In theory, we should be rev'ing up to produce Haskell Platform 2013.4.0.0,
> but I'd like to explore our options at this time:
> *1) Proceed as normal:* Such a release would use GHC 7.6.3, as did HP
> 2013.2.0.0, since that is still the current GHC release. Hence all the core
> library versions would remain the same, and by my rough eyeballing it, half
> the platform libraries would remain the same. The only big change might be
> OpenGL/GLUT libs, which has bumped a major version... though I don't know
> if that API change is too great or not. Given the time frame, we are
> unlikely to have any additional packages.
> This stance brings up the issue that 7.6.3, out of the box, won't work
> with Xcode 5, and hence the upcoming release of OS X Mavericks (10.9).
> *2) Delay a month:* This would give us time to consider new packages,
> which would make the release somewhat more valuable. However, a December
> release is hard due to holidays, so likelihood would be late December, or
> January release.
> *3) Ask GHC Central to produce 7.6.4:* This would incorporate the changes
> needed work with Xcode 5. This would clearly involve a month delay as in #2.
> *4) Skip it:* We could just decide that 2013.4.0.0 doesn't offer enough
> value to run the process now, and simply focus our efforts this cycle on
> improving the infrastructure that builds HP.
> Thoughts? I'm particularly interested to hear from HP library maintainers
> to know if there was/is something important to get out in an HP ASAP. I'd
> also like to better understand what our Xcode5 options are, and if/how/when
> we could see the latest cabal in the platform.
> Again, sorry that this small HP timing crisis is mostly my fault,
> — Mark
> (*) At least my excuse is that I was writing music with Haskell for those
> two months!
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