wither the Platform

Jeremy voldermort at hotmail.com
Tue Mar 24 08:48:07 UTC 2015

Roman Cheplyaka-2 wrote
> It solves a problem few people seem to have.
> Most people want a compiler (ghc), a package manager (cabal), and
> libraries they can install (hackage/stackage).
> Instead, they are being sold HP which has its own versioning, releases
> on its own irregular schedule, and brings a small arbitrary set of
> packages frozen at an arbitrary point in time. These packages often
> interfere with users' desire to install their own packages.


I've avoided HP for just these reasons, only using it on Windows for the
installer, and will probably use MinGHC for future installs.

The platform's primary goal was to mimic the comprehensive standard
libraries shipped with other languages (aka batteries included). This seemed
like a good idea at the time, but a fundamental difference between picking
"approved" libraries off hackage and "real" standard libraries has made it
unusable for real work.

New versions of Python's batteries are released with a new version of the
interpreter (i.e. the Python platform). New releases of the Java standard
libraries are released with new versions of the JDK. New releases of the
.NET framework are tied to a new version of the .NET platform. New libraries
are uploaded to Hackage whenever the authors feel like it, with whatever
dependencies they want.

While HP was trying to treat a blessed, very small subset of Hackage (at
specific versions) as if it was part of a co-ordinated GHC platform release,
Microsoft have been moving in the opposite direction, moving non-essential
.NET libraries into out-of-band NuGet packages.

In summary, we should stop making installers that fossilize a handful of
packages into the global package database, and concentrate on how we can
help users identify the best packages for what they want to do.
(Task-oriented wiki pages and adding reviews to Hackage may help here.) If
we want to help them avoid cabal-hell, this is a problem better solved by
sandboxes and/or Stackage.

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