wither the Platform

Neil Mitchell ndmitchell at gmail.com
Sun Mar 22 09:17:54 UTC 2015

On Windows, the reason I used to use the Platform was that it came
with an installed network library, and installing the network library
on Windows is a real pain (and often fails). Unfortunately it was
incredibly brittle, a single attempt at upgrading network from some
newer package usually trashed my Haskell install and required a wipe
and restart.

Nowadays I use https://github.com/fpco/minghc which can actually
install network, and I've had zero problems. I can get up to the
platform with one invoke of cabal, and if someone decides to require a
new network, it just works.

I think the Platform now gives a worse user experience on Windows, so
the ideas (or names) probably need migrating around.

Thanks, Neil

On Sun, Mar 22, 2015 at 8:47 AM, Heinrich Apfelmus
<apfelmus at quantentunnel.de> wrote:
> Mark Lentczner wrote:
>> 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.
>> Thoughts?
> Thanks a lot for your hard work on the platform!
> I myself am an avid user of the platform (OS X), because for me, it's the
> easiest way to install Haskell on a new machine; I just did so the other
> day.
> The only time when the platform seems to be a handicap is when a new version
> of GHC is being released and I would have to update my packages. Usually, I
> don't test them with the new version and rely on pull requests instead.
> Best regards,
> Heinrich Apfelmus
> --
> http://apfelmus.nfshost.com
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