Wither Haskell Platform 2013.4.0.0

Matthias Kilian kili at outback.escape.de
Sun Oct 13 20:54:03 UTC 2013

On Sun, Oct 13, 2013 at 10:00:42PM +0200, Dag Odenhall wrote:
> 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.

I don't understand the term "before the Linux distributions do".
Do all Linux distributions agree on the same release schedule? I
doubt so. And there are other operating systems with their completely
own (and different) release schedules. For example, in OpenBSD the
next release will happen in a little bit more than two weeks, but
the versions of all readily built haskell packages for that release
had been set in stone more than two months ago.

Apart from that, I think neither haskell-platform nor ghc nor anyone
else should even *try* to adjust their release schedule in favor
of *any* operating system. Because that would introduce additional
burdens and pressure on the (relatively small) group of people who
are actively working and coordinating on ghc, core libraries,

Those working on Haskell should pick a schedule which they think
matches their needs best.

Operating system distributors then have to cope with that. If the
haskell schedules doesn't fit nicely into a distributros schedule
-- mayhbe bad luck, but what's the problem? This is the rule for
*any* software project.

And end-users always have the choice between using distribution
packages or using binaries from haskell.org (well, at least for a
few OS platforms) or building everything themselves.

Look at debian: I guess a lot of people are using debian-stable, or even
old-stable. I'm not sure, but I doubt those are even close to
haskell-platform-2013.2.0.0 and/or ghc-7.6.3. (Correct me if I'm wrong)

> 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.

I can only speak for myself, as the OpenBSD maintainer of (most)
Haskell packages: I wouldn't have the time to test release candidates.
When there's a new release of ghc, I start update the OpenBSD port
when I've enough time to do so. And start to update depending
libraries. Same for haskell-platform. And if something goes wrong,
I just add local patches to our (OpenBSDs) ports. That's a quick&dirty
approach, but it's less work (for me *and* Haskell developers) than
going through a release candidate phase (and remember: I'm doing
this when I have enough spare time, which might be weeks after a
release candidate had been published).

It would be interesting to hear from other people (like Joachim
from Debian) how they deal with this ;-)

> 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”.

Where are you seeing this attitude? From some mails I got as the
OpenBSD Haskell guy I had the impression that there are quite some
users who *want* to use haskell-platform, because it's kind of
"certified" combination of compiler, tools and libraries. Some users
even don't want the latest and greatest haskell-platform, they're
just happy with something which isn't completely rotten.

For library authors not building/testing against the haskell-platform:
well, that's a completely other issue, and I'm not going to blame
anyone about it in *this* mail.

> 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*,

Why that pressure? Just wait how the new ghc goes, and if it's in
a pretty state, update it in haskell-platform.


Personally I learned Unix 22 years ago on a BSD system. I have some
expectations of a Unix system based on that experience. When I log
into a BSD system, I feel at home. When I log into a typical Linux
distro, I feel alienated.		-- Otto Moerbeek

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