[xmonad] xmonad for the Haskell unwashed?

Brent Yorgey byorgey at seas.upenn.edu
Tue Sep 27 21:42:28 CEST 2011

On Tue, Sep 27, 2011 at 10:14:31AM -0400, Allen S. Rout wrote:
> Hi; I'm contemplating a tiling WM, and am drawn to xmonad because its
> customisation language is its implementation language;  I'm long
> accustomed to this in e.g. EMACS, so I feel it'd be a good fit.
> But a friend, who's otherwise an outspoken Haskell advocate, put
> xmonad down in favor of awesome for reasons I'll summarize as
> 'dependency hell'.
> I'm interested in the perspective of the xmonad clan on this: If I
> pick up xmonad simply because I want a hackable WM, how much Haskell
> janitorial work will I be taking on?  Is there a straightfoward and
> broadly accepted base of package repositories?   Are the participants
> in the module ecosystem pretty careful not to break stuff?    Do
> current versions of various xmonad packages all depend on the current
> versions of their dependencies?

Your friend must have stumbled upon a particularly bad combination of
things; most people do not have that much trouble, I think.  For the
optimal xmonad experience with the least dependency hell:

  1. Install the latest Haskell Platform
     (http://hackage.haskell.org/platform/).  It may be available through
     your OS's package manager.  This includes GHC and a bunch of
     common libraries and tools.

     (In particular, xmonad *doesn't* yet work well with GHC 7.2.1, so
     avoid that for now; use GHC 7.0.3 which is what comes with the
     latest Platform release.)

  2. Run

       cabal install xmonad-contrib

     and sit back and watch xmonad and all its dependencies compile
     automatically.  If you have trouble with this step (which I
     doubt) you can get help on this mailing list or in the #xmonad
     IRC channel on freenode.

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