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

Ivan Lazar Miljenovic ivan.miljenovic at gmail.com
Thu Jan 23 04:24:13 UTC 2014

On 23 January 2014 15:06, Antoine Latter <aslatter at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 4:02 AM, Oren Ben-Kiki <haskell-oren at ben-kiki.org>
> wrote
>> 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 do this all the time and haven't ran into a problem yet. Is there
> something in particular you expect to break?
> I install GHC from my distro database and use that to bootstrap my way into
> whatever Haskell dev environment I feel is suitable.
> At the moment that looks like "sudo apt-get install cabal-install" (or
> whatever the appropriate syntax is) followed by "cabal update && cabal
> install cabal-install".
> I guess this would break if Debian slipped in a new version of GHC behind my
> back, but they're pretty cautious about that sort of thing, and the fix
> would be re-building my user-install of cabal-install.

I think the issue here is that we typically put "$HOME/.cabal/bin" at
the front of our PATH so that we get the "new" cabal-install that we
received from "cabal install cabal-instal"... but if the distro
updates it to an even newer version, we won't see that newer version
as it's located later in the PATH, and thus we can't rely on our
distro packagers to figure out when there's a newer version of various

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Ivan Lazar Miljenovic
Ivan.Miljenovic at gmail.com

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