wither the Platform

Simon Peyton Jones simonpj at microsoft.com
Mon Mar 23 10:01:32 UTC 2015

I notice that in the new Haskell pages, the Platform is definitely not the recommended way to go:

Like Richard, I was astonished by this. I always thought that the Haskell Platform was the route of choice to install GHC, together with a respectable set of libraries.   It’s certainly what I install on a new machine!

Let’s not forget the large but non-vocal set of ill-informed and/or would-be users, who want a simple answer to “How do I install GHC?”.  It may be that the HP formula needs re-visiting, but I think it’s very important that we continue to give a very simple (click here) answer to that question.


From: Libraries [mailto:libraries-bounces at haskell.org] On Behalf Of Mark Lentczner
Sent: 21 March 2015 17:54
To: ghc-devs at haskell.org; Haskell Libraries; haskell-platform at projects.haskell.org; haskell-infrastructure at community.galois.com
Subject: wither the Platform

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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