wither the Platform

Mark Lentczner mark.lentczner at gmail.com
Wed Mar 25 06:21:48 UTC 2015

On Tue, Mar 24, 2015 at 10:09 PM, Gershom B <gershomb at gmail.com> wrote:

> There are different types of beginners, and meeting all their needs (as
> well as the needs of long-timers of various stripes, etc) all at once is a
> tricky task.

Actually, pretty much all other language systems (C++, Java(*), Python,
PHP, Ruby, Scala, etc...) meet *all* users' needs, not just beginners, with
one common tool set + core libs. Different users don't install different
packagings of Python. There isn't a list of choices of Scala installers.

I had a really long post prepared about my reasoning, but I think I'll just
spare you all, and cut to the chase:

*The problem is how GHC is released:* It is released as a compiler, and
minimal base libs, and (strangely) with 1/2 of cabal, haddock, ghc-pkg, no
other tools, and no installer. *This is an insufficient set of things for
most users.*

At minimum it should also have cabal-install, and the libs so many things
are built on: async, mtl, text, parsec, vector, etc..., and also common
tools (like happy, alex, and hscolour). You can argue plus or minus some of
these, the set could be bigger or smaller, ... basically, it should be the

We should consider those additional libs as frozen, and tied to the GHC
release, as the base libs - because that will mean those will be the common
versions people will build and test against. And they will update as
frequently as GHC. (If they aren't as stable as all that, or aren't willing
to be part of that release cycle and constraint, then perhaps they
shouldn't be in that set!)

Yes, I'm arguing that the GHC release and the Platform release should be
one and the same. The vast majority of the pain I think stems from the skew
between these two, and that GHC is not enough. You need something besides
the GHC release. If that something isn't standard, and/or it lags the GHC
release, then all the attendant problems creep in.

We worked really hard last Summer to make the Platform be very quickly
buildable - there is already a 7.10 RC3 Platform out (though I did it by,
ahem, not following Haskell Platform procedure - and, er, well, just did
it!) - I think we should just pare back the definition of the Platform, and
then commit to making it be the way new GHCs are released.

- Mark

(*) Okay, so Java comes in three variants, but they are mostly
distinguished by final deployment environment, not user type.
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