RFC: include a cabal-install executable in future GHC releases

Oren Ben-Kiki haskell-oren at ben-kiki.org
Wed Jan 22 10:02:46 UTC 2014

I don't think that "apt-get install cabal" actually solves the core issue
that sparked this thread for several reasons.

As someone who had to install GHC from scratch without having sudo access
on a (non-Debian) machine, I can testify that the fact that the cabal
binary is not part of the GHC distribution, and doesn't have an easily
located downloadable binary, has caused me a lot of trouble. AFAIK there
isn't any clear description of how someone is supposed to deal with such a
situation (unless something has been added in the past year).

For example, The problem of handling the distro's package manager (whatever
it is) with a language's package is a separate and thorny issue, which I
think can't be "perfectly" solved short of unrealistic rewrite-the-world
solutions. E.g., what happens if you do apt-get install cabal" and then use
cabal to update itself to the newest version? What happens if you then
"apt-get upgrade" and there's a newer version than the one apt installed,
but it is older than the one you installed manually? etc.

I think that "something" need to be done to make it easier to set up GHC +
cabal, independently of HP (unless HP becomes the "one true way" to install
Haskell, which I doubt is the case).

On Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 11:25 AM, Simon Marlow <marlowsd at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 21/01/2014 08:42, harry wrote:
>> Agreed. The significant barrier here isn't that cabal-install isn't
>> delivered
>> with GHC (that's HP's job), it's that there isn't a pre-build binary for
>> linux at all, and that the binaries aren't linked to from the GHC download
>> site.
> Your Linux distro already provides a cabal-install that will work with the
> latest GHC, just "apt-get install cabal" or equivalent, then "cabal install
> cabal-install" to update it if necessary.
> Cheers,
> Simon
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