wither the Platform

Mark Lentczner mark.lentczner at gmail.com
Sat Mar 21 17:54:26 UTC 2015

I'm wondering how we are all feeling about the platform these days....

I notice that in the new Haskell pages, the Platform is definitely not the
recommended way to go: The main download pages suggests the compiler and
base libraries as the first option - and the text for the Platform (second
option) pretty much steers folks away from it. Of the per-OS download
pages, only the Windows version even mentions it.

Does this mean that we don't want to consider continuing with it? It is a
lot of community effort to put out a Platform release - we shouldn't do it
if we don't really want it.

That said, I note that the other ways to "officially get" Haskell look, to
my eye, very ad hoc. Many of the options involve multiple steps, and
exactly what one is getting isn't clear. It hardly looks like there is now
an "official, correct" way to setup Haskell.

The Platform arose in an era before sandboxes and before curated library
sets like Stackage and LTS. Last time we set direction was several years
ago. These new features and development have clearly changed the landscape
for use to reconsider what to do.

I don't think the status quo for the Platform is now viable - mostly as
evidenced by waning interest in maintaining it. I offer several ways we
could proceed:

*1) Abandon the Platform.* GHC is release in source and binary form. Other
package various installers, with more or less things, for various OSes.

*2) Slim the Platform.* Pare it back to GHC + base + a smaller set of
"essential" libs + tools. Keeps a consistent build layout and installation
mechanism for Haskell.

*3) Re-conceive the Platform.* Take a very minimal install approach,
coupled with close integration with a curated library set that makes it
easy to have a rich canonical, stable environment. This was the core idea
around my "GPS Haskell" thoughts from last September - but there would be
much to work out in this direction.


— Mark
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