GHC 7.8 release?

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Re: GHC 7.8 release?

Michael Snoyman



On Fri, Feb 8, 2013 at 3:55 PM, Ian Lynagh <[hidden email]> wrote:
On Thu, Feb 07, 2013 at 09:42:39AM -0800, Mark Lentczner wrote:
>
> I wish GHC would radically change it's release process. Things like 7.8
> shouldn't be release as "7.8". That sounds major and stable. The web site
> will have 7.8 at the top. The warning to use the platform will fall flat
> because it makes the platform look out of date. Really, "7.8" should be in
> a different release channel, not on the front page. It should bake in that
> channel for six months - where only the third group of people will use it,
> until it is getting close to merge into main, at which point the fourth
> group will start to use it, so that the day it hits main, all the libraries
> just work. Ideally, the first two groups of people will not pay the
> slightest attention to it until it is further baked.

It's a catch-22: We don't want people to use a new release until all the
bugs have been found and fixed, and all the libraries have been updated.
But if people don't use it, then the bugs won't be found and the
libraries won't be updated.

I think you're saying that you'd like the uptake of new GHC versions to
be slower, which would mean fewer people would be using 7.6 now, but in
the last few days I've seen the Debian guys have had to send mails to
maintainers telling them that their packages don't work with 7.6:
    http://lists.debian.org/debian-haskell/2013/02/threads.html
despite 7.6 having been out for 5 months and about to enter the HP.

Perhaps more automatic Hackage building, with a group of people looking
at the logs of failing packages and acting appropriately, is the way
forward. Some cases (such as "installation failed due to dependencies
not being installable") you'd want to be handled automatically.


Thanks
Ian


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This is an issue I'm hoping Stackage will be able to help address. Currently, we're running daily builds of the Stackage package set (currently at about 330 packages) using the most recent Haskell Platform. However, I'm hoping to augment this with GHC 7.6.2 as well (obviously dropping the Haskell Platform version constraints at that point, as they would not be compatible). We could also theoretically include release candidates in this process, which I think would help flesh out bugs and drive support for newer GHCs more quickly.

Michael

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Re: GHC 7.8 release?

Simon Marlow-7
In reply to this post by Simon Peyton Jones
For a while we've been doing one major release per year, and 1-2 minor releases.  We have a big sign at the top of the download page directing people to the platform.  We arrived here after various discussions in the past - there were always a group of people that wanted stability, and a roughly equally vocal group of people who wanted the latest bits.  So we settled on one API-breaking change per year as a compromise.

Since then, the number of packages has ballooned, and there's a new factor in the equation: the cost to the ecosystem of an API-breaking release of GHC.  All that updating of packages collectively costs the community a lot of time, for little benefit.  Lots of package updates contributes to Cabal Hell.  The package updates need to happen before the platform picks up the GHC release, so that when it goes into the platform, the packages are ready.

So I think, if anything, there's pressure to have fewer major releases of GHC.  However, we're doing the opposite: 7.0 to 7.2 was 10 months, 7.2 to 7.4 was 6 months, 7.4 to 7.6 was 7 months.  We're getting too efficient at making releases!

My feeling is that this pace is too fast.  You might argue that with better tools and infrastructure the community wouldn't have so much work to do for each release, and I wholeheartedly agree. Perhaps if we stop releasing GHC so frequently they'll have time to work on it :)  Releasing early and often is great, but at the moment it's having negative effects on the ecosystem (arguably due to deficiencies in the infrastructure).

Does this strike a chord with anyone, or have I got the wrong impression and everyone is happy with the pace?

Cheers,
    Simon

On 07/02/13 18:15, Simon Peyton-Jones wrote:

It’s fairly simple in my mind. There are two “channels” (if I understand Mark’s terminology right):

 

·         Haskell Platform:

o   A stable development environment, lots of libraries known to work

o   Newcomers, and people who value stability, should use the Haskell Platform

o   HP comes with a particular version of GHC, probably not the hottest new one, but that doesn’t matter.  It works.

 

·         GHC home page downloads:

o   More features but not so stable

o   Libraries not guaranteed to work

o   Worth releasing, though, as a forcing function to fix bugs, and as a checkpoint for people to test, so that by the time the HP adopts a particular version it is reasonably solid.

 

So we already have the two channels Mark asks for, don’t we?  One is called the Haskell Platform and one is called the GHC home page. 


That leaves a PR issue: we really don’t want newcomers or Joe Users wanting the “new shiny”. They want the Haskell Platform, and as Mark says those users should not pay the slightest attention until it appears in the Haskell Platform.

 

So perhaps we principally need a way to point people away from GHC and towards HP?  eg We could prominently say at every download point “Stop!  Are you sure you want this?  You might be better off with the Haskell Platform!  Here’s why...”.

 

Have I understood aright?  If so, how could we achieve the right social dynamics? 

 

Our goal is to let people who value stability get stability, while the hot-shots race along in a different channel and pay the price of flat tires etc.

 

PS: absolutely right to use 7.6.2 for the next HP.  Don’t even think about 7.8.

 

Simon

 

 

 

From: Mark Lentczner [[hidden email]]
Sent: 07 February 2013 17:43
To: Simon Peyton-Jones
Cc: [hidden email]; Carter Schonwald; GHC users; Simon Marlow; parallel-haskell; [hidden email]; Edsko de Vries; [hidden email]
Subject: Re: GHC 7.8 release?

 

I'd say the window for 7.8 in the platform is about closed. If 7.8 were to be release in the next two weeks that would be just about the least amount of time I'd want to see for libraries in the platform to get all stable with the GHC version. And we'd also be counting on the GHC team to be quickly responding to bugs so that there could be a point release of 7.8 mid-April. Historically, none of that seems likely.

 

So my current trajectory is to base HP 2013.2.0.0 on GHC 7.6.2.

 

Since 7.8 will seems like it will be released before May, we will be faced again with the bad public relations issue: Everyone will want the new shiny and be confused as to why the platform is such a laggard. We'll see four reactions:

  • New comers who are starting out and figure they should use the latest... Many will try to use 7.8, half the libraries on hackage won't work, things will be wonky, and they'll have a poor experience.
  • People doing production / project work will stay on 7.6 and ignore 7.8 for a few months.
  • The small group of people exploring the frontiers will know how to get things set up and be happy.
  • Eventually library authors will get around to making sure their stuff will work with it.

I wish GHC would radically change it's release process. Things like 7.8 shouldn't be release as "7.8". That sounds major and stable. The web site will have 7.8 at the top. The warning to use the platform will fall flat because it makes the platform look out of date. Really, "7.8" should be in a different release channel, not on the front page. It should bake in that channel for six months - where only the third group of people will use it, until it is getting close to merge into main, at which point the fourth group will start to use it, so that the day it hits main, all the libraries just work. Ideally, the first two groups of people will not pay the slightest attention to it until it is further baked.

 

While we achievements of the GHC team are great, less than half of those 7.8 features seem interesting from the viewpoint of the aims of the platform. I don't think adding syntactic or type-level features are really all that important for Haskell at this juncture. And while I do like to see improvements in generated code and run-time performance, I think even those are less important than making crucial ecosystem improvements to things like package management, cross-compilation, and libraries.

 

- Mark



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Re: GHC 7.8 release?

José Pedro Magalhães


On Fri, Feb 8, 2013 at 2:28 PM, Simon Marlow <[hidden email]> wrote:

Does this strike a chord with anyone, or have I got the wrong impression and everyone is happy with the pace?

I am happy with the pace; I like the "release early, release often" approach. The HP is not forced to use the
latest GHC, and the GHC download page already clearly directs users to the HP. Slowing down GHC releases
will slow down adoption of new features, because while installing GHC might be "harder" than installing the HP,
installing GHC HEAD is harder. My experience is that almost no one, apart from GHC devs, has HEAD, and
they aren't willing to install it just to play with one new feature. Once a new compiler version is out, however,
many people are happy to try it, even if it has no accompanying HP.


Cheers,
Pedro
 

Cheers,
    Simon


On 07/02/13 18:15, Simon Peyton-Jones wrote:

It’s fairly simple in my mind. There are two “channels” (if I understand Mark’s terminology right):

 

·         Haskell Platform:

o   A stable development environment, lots of libraries known to work

o   Newcomers, and people who value stability, should use the Haskell Platform

o   HP comes with a particular version of GHC, probably not the hottest new one, but that doesn’t matter.  It works.

 

·         GHC home page downloads:

o   More features but not so stable

o   Libraries not guaranteed to work

o   Worth releasing, though, as a forcing function to fix bugs, and as a checkpoint for people to test, so that by the time the HP adopts a particular version it is reasonably solid.

 

So we already have the two channels Mark asks for, don’t we?  One is called the Haskell Platform and one is called the GHC home page. 


That leaves a PR issue: we really don’t want newcomers or Joe Users wanting the “new shiny”. They want the Haskell Platform, and as Mark says those users should not pay the slightest attention until it appears in the Haskell Platform.

 

So perhaps we principally need a way to point people away from GHC and towards HP?  eg We could prominently say at every download point “Stop!  Are you sure you want this?  You might be better off with the Haskell Platform!  Here’s why...”.

 

Have I understood aright?  If so, how could we achieve the right social dynamics? 

 

Our goal is to let people who value stability get stability, while the hot-shots race along in a different channel and pay the price of flat tires etc.

 

PS: absolutely right to use 7.6.2 for the next HP.  Don’t even think about 7.8.

 

Simon

 

 

 

From: Mark Lentczner [[hidden email]]
Sent: 07 February 2013 17:43
To: Simon Peyton-Jones
Cc: [hidden email]; Carter Schonwald; GHC users; Simon Marlow; parallel-haskell; [hidden email]; Edsko de Vries; [hidden email]
Subject: Re: GHC 7.8 release?

 

I'd say the window for 7.8 in the platform is about closed. If 7.8 were to be release in the next two weeks that would be just about the least amount of time I'd want to see for libraries in the platform to get all stable with the GHC version. And we'd also be counting on the GHC team to be quickly responding to bugs so that there could be a point release of 7.8 mid-April. Historically, none of that seems likely.

 

So my current trajectory is to base HP 2013.2.0.0 on GHC 7.6.2.

 

Since 7.8 will seems like it will be released before May, we will be faced again with the bad public relations issue: Everyone will want the new shiny and be confused as to why the platform is such a laggard. We'll see four reactions:

  • New comers who are starting out and figure they should use the latest... Many will try to use 7.8, half the libraries on hackage won't work, things will be wonky, and they'll have a poor experience.
  • People doing production / project work will stay on 7.6 and ignore 7.8 for a few months.
  • The small group of people exploring the frontiers will know how to get things set up and be happy.
  • Eventually library authors will get around to making sure their stuff will work with it.

I wish GHC would radically change it's release process. Things like 7.8 shouldn't be release as "7.8". That sounds major and stable. The web site will have 7.8 at the top. The warning to use the platform will fall flat because it makes the platform look out of date. Really, "7.8" should be in a different release channel, not on the front page. It should bake in that channel for six months - where only the third group of people will use it, until it is getting close to merge into main, at which point the fourth group will start to use it, so that the day it hits main, all the libraries just work. Ideally, the first two groups of people will not pay the slightest attention to it until it is further baked.

 

While we achievements of the GHC team are great, less than half of those 7.8 features seem interesting from the viewpoint of the aims of the platform. I don't think adding syntactic or type-level features are really all that important for Haskell at this juncture. And while I do like to see improvements in generated code and run-time performance, I think even those are less important than making crucial ecosystem improvements to things like package management, cross-compilation, and libraries.

 

- Mark


--
 
 


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Re: GHC 7.8 release?

José Pedro Magalhães
In reply to this post by Simon Marlow-7
(sorry for re-post, but the first one got rejected from some lists due to too many recipients)

On Fri, Feb 8, 2013 at 2:28 PM, Simon Marlow <[hidden email]> wrote:
Does this strike a chord with anyone, or have I got the wrong impression and everyone is happy with the pace?

I am happy with the pace; I like the "release early, release often" approach. The HP is not forced to use the
latest GHC, and the GHC download page already clearly directs users to the HP. Slowing down GHC releases
will slow down adoption of new features, because while installing GHC might be "harder" than installing the HP,
installing GHC HEAD is harder. My experience is that almost no one, apart from GHC devs, has HEAD, and
they aren't willing to install it just to play with one new feature. Once a new compiler version is out, however,
many people are happy to try it, even if it has no accompanying HP.


Cheers,
Pedro


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Re: GHC 7.8 release?

Ian Lynagh-2
In reply to this post by Simon Marlow-7
On Fri, Feb 08, 2013 at 02:28:20PM +0000, Simon Marlow wrote:
>
> So I think, if anything, there's pressure to have fewer major
> releases of GHC.  However, we're doing the opposite: 7.0 to 7.2 was
> 10 months, 7.2 to 7.4 was 6 months, 7.4 to 7.6 was 7 months. We're
> getting too efficient at making releases!

7.2 was billed as a "technology preview" rather than a regular stable
release. However, it still required just as much effort as a regular
stable release, both for us (we probably spent just as much time trying
to make it bug-free, making builds, making docs, etc) and for the
community (libraries still needed to adjust dependencies etc).

One result of that extra effort was that the 7.4 release got delayed,
and the delay was magnified by pushing it over the Christmas period.

7.6 was released roughly according to the regular yearly release plan
(although the 7.4 delay made the gap between the two shorter).


So in my opinion, 7.2 was a bad idea (but I don't think anyone knew that
before we tried it), and I'd agree that we'd be better sticking to
not-more-than-yearly major releases.

I wouldn't oppose less-than-yearly (e.g. every 18 months) if that makes
life easier for distros, library maintainers, the HP, etc. But I
wouldn't advocate it either; from GHC's point of view, historically
we've always had enough new stuff to justify a new major release after a
year.


Thanks
Ian
--
Ian Lynagh, Haskell Consultant
Well-Typed LLP, http://www.well-typed.com/

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Re: GHC 7.8 release?

Serge D. Mechveliani
In reply to this post by Simon Marlow-7
On Fri, Feb 08, 2013 at 02:28:20PM +0000, Simon Marlow wrote:
> [..]
> So I think, if anything, there's pressure to have fewer major
> releases of GHC.  However, we're doing the opposite: 7.0 to 7.2 was
> 10 months, 7.2 to 7.4 was 6 months, 7.4 to 7.6 was 7 months. We're
> getting too efficient at making releases!
>
> My feeling is that this pace is too fast.
> [..]


The GHC versions appear too fast (last 13 years).
If asked, I would ask to make them to appear 5 times slower.

Regards,

------
Sergei

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Re: GHC 7.8 release?

Johan Tibell-2
In reply to this post by Simon Marlow-7
On Fri, Feb 8, 2013 at 6:28 AM, Simon Marlow <[hidden email]> wrote:
For a while we've been doing one major release per year, and 1-2 minor releases.  We have a big sign at the top of the download page directing people to the platform.  We arrived here after various discussions in the past - there were always a group of people that wanted stability, and a roughly equally vocal group of people who wanted the latest bits.  So we settled on one API-breaking change per year as a compromise.

Since then, the number of packages has ballooned, and there's a new factor in the equation: the cost to the ecosystem of an API-breaking release of GHC.  All that updating of packages collectively costs the community a lot of time, for little benefit.  Lots of package updates contributes to Cabal Hell.  The package updates need to happen before the platform picks up the GHC release, so that when it goes into the platform, the packages are ready.

So I think, if anything, there's pressure to have fewer major releases of GHC.  However, we're doing the opposite: 7.0 to 7.2 was 10 months, 7.2 to 7.4 was 6 months, 7.4 to 7.6 was 7 months.  We're getting too efficient at making releases!

I think we want to decouple GHC "major" releases (as in, we did lots of work) from API breaking releases. For example, GCC has lots of major (or "big") releases, but rarely, if ever, break programs.

I'd be delighted to see a release once in a while that made my programs faster/smaller/buggy without breaking any of them.

-- Johan


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Re: GHC 7.8 release?

Manuel M T Chakravarty
I completely agree with Johan. The problem is to change core APIs too fast. Adding, say, SIMD instructions or having a new type extension (that needs to be explicitly activated with a -X option) shouldn't break packages.

I'm all for restricting major API changes to once a year, but why can't we have multiple updates to the code generator per year or generally release that don't affect a large number of packages on Hackage?

Manuel

Johan Tibell <[hidden email]>:
On Fri, Feb 8, 2013 at 6:28 AM, Simon Marlow <[hidden email]> wrote:
For a while we've been doing one major release per year, and 1-2 minor releases.  We have a big sign at the top of the download page directing people to the platform.  We arrived here after various discussions in the past - there were always a group of people that wanted stability, and a roughly equally vocal group of people who wanted the latest bits.  So we settled on one API-breaking change per year as a compromise.

Since then, the number of packages has ballooned, and there's a new factor in the equation: the cost to the ecosystem of an API-breaking release of GHC.  All that updating of packages collectively costs the community a lot of time, for little benefit.  Lots of package updates contributes to Cabal Hell.  The package updates need to happen before the platform picks up the GHC release, so that when it goes into the platform, the packages are ready.

So I think, if anything, there's pressure to have fewer major releases of GHC.  However, we're doing the opposite: 7.0 to 7.2 was 10 months, 7.2 to 7.4 was 6 months, 7.4 to 7.6 was 7 months.  We're getting too efficient at making releases!

I think we want to decouple GHC "major" releases (as in, we did lots of work) from API breaking releases. For example, GCC has lots of major (or "big") releases, but rarely, if ever, break programs.

I'd be delighted to see a release once in a while that made my programs faster/smaller/buggy without breaking any of them.

-- Johan


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Re: GHC 7.8 release?

Carter Schonwald

+10^100 to Johan and Manuel. Breaking changes on pieces that aren't experimental is the main compatibility / new version pain,

and I say this as someone who's spent time before and around the 7.4 and 7.6 releases testing out lots of major packages and sending a few patches to various maintainers.

If there's a path to having a release strategy as Manuel suggests, and having an intermediate release  with the new vector primops, type extensions and such goodness, then I'm all for it.  A lot of these bits are things ill start using almost immediately in production / real software, esp if I'm not needing to patch every stable library beyond maybe relaxing versioning constraints.

-Carter

On Feb 8, 2013 9:05 PM, "Manuel M T Chakravarty" <[hidden email]> wrote:
I completely agree with Johan. The problem is to change core APIs too fast. Adding, say, SIMD instructions or having a new type extension (that needs to be explicitly activated with a -X option) shouldn't break packages.

I'm all for restricting major API changes to once a year, but why can't we have multiple updates to the code generator per year or generally release that don't affect a large number of packages on Hackage?

Manuel

Johan Tibell <[hidden email]>:
On Fri, Feb 8, 2013 at 6:28 AM, Simon Marlow <[hidden email]> wrote:
For a while we've been doing one major release per year, and 1-2 minor releases.  We have a big sign at the top of the download page directing people to the platform.  We arrived here after various discussions in the past - there were always a group of people that wanted stability, and a roughly equally vocal group of people who wanted the latest bits.  So we settled on one API-breaking change per year as a compromise.

Since then, the number of packages has ballooned, and there's a new factor in the equation: the cost to the ecosystem of an API-breaking release of GHC.  All that updating of packages collectively costs the community a lot of time, for little benefit.  Lots of package updates contributes to Cabal Hell.  The package updates need to happen before the platform picks up the GHC release, so that when it goes into the platform, the packages are ready.

So I think, if anything, there's pressure to have fewer major releases of GHC.  However, we're doing the opposite: 7.0 to 7.2 was 10 months, 7.2 to 7.4 was 6 months, 7.4 to 7.6 was 7 months.  We're getting too efficient at making releases!

I think we want to decouple GHC "major" releases (as in, we did lots of work) from API breaking releases. For example, GCC has lots of major (or "big") releases, but rarely, if ever, break programs.

I'd be delighted to see a release once in a while that made my programs faster/smaller/buggy without breaking any of them.

-- Johan


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RE: GHC 7.8 release?

Simon Peyton Jones

If there's a path to having a release strategy as Manuel suggests, and having an intermediate release  with the new vector primops, type extensions and such goodness, then I'm all for it.  A lot of these bits are things ill start using almost immediately in production / real software, esp if I'm not needing to patch every stable library beyond maybe relaxing versioning constraints.

Let me suggest once more a possible path, along the lines you suggest

·        For people who value stability: use the Haskell Platform.  Ignore GHC releases.

·        For people who want as many features as possible: use GHC releases.

·        For people who want to live on the bleeding edge: build HEAD from source

 

The Haskell Platform decides which GHC release to use, advertises that to package authors who do whatever updates are needed.  HP may perfectly sensibly skip an entire release entirely.

 

In short, I think we already have the situation that you desire.  Perhaps we just need to market it better? 

 

Or am I mistaken?

Simon

 

From: Carter Schonwald [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: 09 February 2013 02:45
To: Manuel Chakravarty
Cc: GHC Users List; [hidden email]; Andreas Voellmy; Simon Peyton-Jones; Edsko de Vries; Mark Lentczner; Johan Tibell; parallel-haskell
Subject: Re: GHC 7.8 release?

 

+10^100 to Johan and Manuel. Breaking changes on pieces that aren't experimental is the main compatibility / new version pain,

and I say this as someone who's spent time before and around the 7.4 and 7.6 releases testing out lots of major packages and sending a few patches to various maintainers.

If there's a path to having a release strategy as Manuel suggests, and having an intermediate release  with the new vector primops, type extensions and such goodness, then I'm all for it.  A lot of these bits are things ill start using almost immediately in production / real software, esp if I'm not needing to patch every stable library beyond maybe relaxing versioning constraints.

-Carter

On Feb 8, 2013 9:05 PM, "Manuel M T Chakravarty" <[hidden email]> wrote:

I completely agree with Johan. The problem is to change core APIs too fast. Adding, say, SIMD instructions or having a new type extension (that needs to be explicitly activated with a -X option) shouldn't break packages.

 

I'm all for restricting major API changes to once a year, but why can't we have multiple updates to the code generator per year or generally release that don't affect a large number of packages on Hackage?

 

Manuel

 

Johan Tibell <[hidden email]>:

On Fri, Feb 8, 2013 at 6:28 AM, Simon Marlow <[hidden email]> wrote:

For a while we've been doing one major release per year, and 1-2 minor releases.  We have a big sign at the top of the download page directing people to the platform.  We arrived here after various discussions in the past - there were always a group of people that wanted stability, and a roughly equally vocal group of people who wanted the latest bits.  So we settled on one API-breaking change per year as a compromise.

Since then, the number of packages has ballooned, and there's a new factor in the equation: the cost to the ecosystem of an API-breaking release of GHC.  All that updating of packages collectively costs the community a lot of time, for little benefit.  Lots of package updates contributes to Cabal Hell.  The package updates need to happen before the platform picks up the GHC release, so that when it goes into the platform, the packages are ready.

So I think, if anything, there's pressure to have fewer major releases of GHC.  However, we're doing the opposite: 7.0 to 7.2 was 10 months, 7.2 to 7.4 was 6 months, 7.4 to 7.6 was 7 months.  We're getting too efficient at making releases!

 

I think we want to decouple GHC "major" releases (as in, we did lots of work) from API breaking releases. For example, GCC has lots of major (or "big") releases, but rarely, if ever, break programs.

 

I'd be delighted to see a release once in a while that made my programs faster/smaller/buggy without breaking any of them.

 

-- Johan

 


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Re: GHC 7.8 release?

Simon Marlow-7
In reply to this post by Manuel M T Chakravarty
I agree too - I think it would be great to have non-API-breaking
releases with new features.  So let's think about how that could work.

Some features add APIs, e.g. SIMD adds new primops.  So we have to
define non-API-breaking as a minor version bump in the PVP sense; that
is, you can add to an API but not change it.

As a straw man, let's suppose we want to do annual API releases in
September, with intermediate non-API releases in February.  Both would
be classed as "major", and bump the GHC major version, but the Feb
releases would only be allowed to bump minor versions of packages.
(except perhaps the version of the GHC package, which is impossible to
keep stable if we change the compiler).

So how to manage the repos.  We could have three branches, but that
doesn't seem practical.  Probably the best way forward is to develop new
features on separate branches and merge them into master at the
appropriate time - i.e. API-breaking feature branches could only be
merged in after the Feb release.

Thoughts?

Cheers,
        Simon

On 09/02/13 02:04, Manuel M T Chakravarty wrote:

> I completely agree with Johan. The problem is to change core APIs too
> fast. Adding, say, SIMD instructions or having a new type extension
> (that needs to be explicitly activated with a -X option) shouldn't break
> packages.
>
> I'm all for restricting major API changes to once a year, but why can't
> we have multiple updates to the code generator per year or generally
> release that don't affect a large number of packages on Hackage?
>
> Manuel
>
> Johan Tibell <[hidden email] <mailto:[hidden email]>>:
>> On Fri, Feb 8, 2013 at 6:28 AM, Simon Marlow <[hidden email]
>> <mailto:[hidden email]>> wrote:
>>
>>     For a while we've been doing one major release per year, and 1-2
>>     minor releases.  We have a big sign at the top of the download
>>     page directing people to the platform.  We arrived here after
>>     various discussions in the past - there were always a group of
>>     people that wanted stability, and a roughly equally vocal group of
>>     people who wanted the latest bits.  So we settled on one
>>     API-breaking change per year as a compromise.
>>
>>     Since then, the number of packages has ballooned, and there's a
>>     new factor in the equation: the cost to the ecosystem of an
>>     API-breaking release of GHC.  All that updating of packages
>>     collectively costs the community a lot of time, for little
>>     benefit.  Lots of package updates contributes to Cabal Hell.  The
>>     package updates need to happen before the platform picks up the
>>     GHC release, so that when it goes into the platform, the packages
>>     are ready.
>>
>>     So I think, if anything, there's pressure to have fewer major
>>     releases of GHC.  However, we're doing the opposite: 7.0 to 7.2
>>     was 10 months, 7.2 to 7.4 was 6 months, 7.4 to 7.6 was 7 months.
>>     We're getting too efficient at making releases!
>>
>>
>> I think we want to decouple GHC "major" releases (as in, we did lots
>> of work) from API breaking releases. For example, GCC has lots of
>> major (or "big") releases, but rarely, if ever, break programs.
>>
>> I'd be delighted to see a release once in a while that made my
>> programs faster/smaller/buggy without breaking any of them.
>>
>> -- Johan
>


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Re: GHC 7.8 release?

Brandon Allbery
In reply to this post by Simon Peyton Jones
On Sat, Feb 9, 2013 at 6:27 AM, Simon Peyton-Jones <[hidden email]> wrote:

In short, I think we already have the situation that you desire.  Perhaps we just need to market it better? 

 

Or am I mistaken?


Except the current question is about how ghc releases interact with the Platform; this thread was set off by a question about getting 7.6.2 into the next Platform....

And the main issue there is that ghc releases tend to break things and need a lot of testing in general to make it into the Platform; while this would be expected anyway, even a point release (7.6.2 vs. 7.6.1) of ghc tends to be moderately violent with respect to the Platform.  Ideally, such a point release should not be difficult to slot in because it should be compatible modulo bug fixes, but with ghc's release strategy nobody has any confidence in it being that simple.

--
brandon s allbery kf8nh                               sine nomine associates
[hidden email]                                  [hidden email]
unix, openafs, kerberos, infrastructure, xmonad        http://sinenomine.net

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Re: GHC 7.8 release?

Ian Lynagh-2
In reply to this post by Simon Marlow-7
On Sat, Feb 09, 2013 at 12:06:12PM +0000, Simon Marlow wrote:
>
> As a straw man, let's suppose we want to do annual API releases in
> September, with intermediate non-API releases in February.

That's a non-API release 5 months after the API release.

6.10.2 was 5   months after 6.10.1 (.3 was 1 month later, .4 a further 2)
6.12.2 was 4   months after 6.12.1 (.3 was 2 months later)
 7.0.2 was 3.5 months after  7.0.1 (.3 was 1 month later, .4 a further 3)
 7.2.2 was 3   months after  7.2.1
 7.4.2 was 4   months after  7.4.1
 7.6.2 was 4.5 months after  7.6.2

so if we do non-API releases, then perhaps it would make sense to stop
doing minor releases (unless a release turns out to just be broken).


Thanks
Ian


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Re: GHC 7.8 release?

Manuel M T Chakravarty
In reply to this post by Simon Peyton Jones
<base href="x-msg://26/">
Simon Peyton-Jones <[hidden email]>:

If there's a path to having a release strategy as Manuel suggests, and having an intermediate release  with the new vector primops, type extensions and such goodness, then I'm all for it.  A lot of these bits are things ill start using almost immediately in production / real software, esp if I'm not needing to patch every stable library beyond maybe relaxing versioning constraints.

Let me suggest once more a possible path, along the lines you suggest
·        For people who value stability: use the Haskell Platform.  Ignore GHC releases.
·        For people who want as many features as possible: use GHC releases.
·        For people who want to live on the bleeding edge: build HEAD from source
 
The Haskell Platform decides which GHC release to use, advertises that to package authors who do whatever updates are needed.  HP may perfectly sensibly skip an entire release entirely.
 
In short, I think we already have the situation that you desire.  Perhaps we just need to market it better? 
 
Or am I mistaken?

There is one kink: for GHC releases to be *useful* substitutes for the HP for people who want medium stability, they must not change (expect maybe add to) the APIs in GHC versions that do not coincide with HP releases. 

Why? If they change APIs, many of the packages on Hackage will not build with these intermediate GHC releases, which makes them useless for anything, but testing GHC.

Otherwise, I am perfectly happy with your suggestion. However, this is not the status quo. All (major) GHC releases do break critical packages on Hackage.

Manuel



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Re: GHC 7.8 release?

Manuel M T Chakravarty
In reply to this post by Simon Marlow-7
Simon Marlow <[hidden email]>:
> I agree too - I think it would be great to have non-API-breaking releases with new features.  So let's think about how that could work.
>
> Some features add APIs, e.g. SIMD adds new primops.  So we have to define non-API-breaking as a minor version bump in the PVP sense; that is, you can add to an API but not change it.
>
> As a straw man, let's suppose we want to do annual API releases in September, with intermediate non-API releases in February.  Both would be classed as "major", and bump the GHC major version, but the Feb releases would only be allowed to bump minor versions of packages. (except perhaps the version of the GHC package, which is impossible to keep stable if we change the compiler).
>
> So how to manage the repos.  We could have three branches, but that doesn't seem practical.  Probably the best way forward is to develop new features on separate branches and merge them into master at the appropriate time - i.e. API-breaking feature branches could only be merged in after the Feb release.
>
> Thoughts?

That sounds sensible to me.

Related to this, then, is the management of branches, which, I think, we can improve in two ways:

(1) Make all library packages into submodules.
(2) Fork-instead-of-branch and use GitHub pull requests.

Re (1): submodules make tracking of synchronised branches across multiple repos simpler. Yes, they also have their pitfalls, but given that we are already using submodules extensively, we need to deal with those pitfalls anyway. So, why not reap the benefits, too?

Re (2): we should encourage contributors to fork the GHC repos on GitHub and work in those. That makes it easy for everybody to build forks (which will be longer-lived under the above policy) and creating a fork doesn't require any special privileges in GHC repos. Finally, we can use GitHub pull requests to track contributions that are pending integration. This is IMHO also much nicer than attaching patches at Trac tickets.

Manuel

> On 09/02/13 02:04, Manuel M T Chakravarty wrote:
>> I completely agree with Johan. The problem is to change core APIs too
>> fast. Adding, say, SIMD instructions or having a new type extension
>> (that needs to be explicitly activated with a -X option) shouldn't break
>> packages.
>>
>> I'm all for restricting major API changes to once a year, but why can't
>> we have multiple updates to the code generator per year or generally
>> release that don't affect a large number of packages on Hackage?
>>
>> Manuel
>>
>> Johan Tibell <[hidden email] <mailto:[hidden email]>>:
>>> On Fri, Feb 8, 2013 at 6:28 AM, Simon Marlow <[hidden email]
>>> <mailto:[hidden email]>> wrote:
>>>
>>>    For a while we've been doing one major release per year, and 1-2
>>>    minor releases.  We have a big sign at the top of the download
>>>    page directing people to the platform.  We arrived here after
>>>    various discussions in the past - there were always a group of
>>>    people that wanted stability, and a roughly equally vocal group of
>>>    people who wanted the latest bits.  So we settled on one
>>>    API-breaking change per year as a compromise.
>>>
>>>    Since then, the number of packages has ballooned, and there's a
>>>    new factor in the equation: the cost to the ecosystem of an
>>>    API-breaking release of GHC.  All that updating of packages
>>>    collectively costs the community a lot of time, for little
>>>    benefit.  Lots of package updates contributes to Cabal Hell.  The
>>>    package updates need to happen before the platform picks up the
>>>    GHC release, so that when it goes into the platform, the packages
>>>    are ready.
>>>
>>>    So I think, if anything, there's pressure to have fewer major
>>>    releases of GHC.  However, we're doing the opposite: 7.0 to 7.2
>>>    was 10 months, 7.2 to 7.4 was 6 months, 7.4 to 7.6 was 7 months.
>>>    We're getting too efficient at making releases!
>>>
>>>
>>> I think we want to decouple GHC "major" releases (as in, we did lots
>>> of work) from API breaking releases. For example, GCC has lots of
>>> major (or "big") releases, but rarely, if ever, break programs.
>>>
>>> I'd be delighted to see a release once in a while that made my
>>> programs faster/smaller/buggy without breaking any of them.
>>>
>>> -- Johan
>>
>
> --
>
>
>
>
>


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Re: GHC 7.8 release?

S. Doaitse Swierstra
In reply to this post by Manuel M T Chakravarty
Although it will definitely solve all problems, it would help if hackage would automatically send out mails to maintainers of packages which do not compile with specific ghc versions.

I have ran a couple of time into the situation where new GHC releases did nor compile my packages anymore, and I only found out by this being pointed out to me. I do not go over the hackage pages of my packages on a daily basis.

The changes I had to make were usually minor, and fixing the problems was easy (except for the case where I had to a add a complicated local type, when let bindings were no longer polymorphic),

 Doaitse


On Feb 10, 2013, at 10:50 , Manuel M T Chakravarty <[hidden email]>
 wrote:

<base href="x-msg://26/">
Simon Peyton-Jones <[hidden email]>:

If there's a path to having a release strategy as Manuel suggests, and having an intermediate release  with the new vector primops, type extensions and such goodness, then I'm all for it.  A lot of these bits are things ill start using almost immediately in production / real software, esp if I'm not needing to patch every stable library beyond maybe relaxing versioning constraints.

Let me suggest once more a possible path, along the lines you suggest
·        For people who value stability: use the Haskell Platform.  Ignore GHC releases.
·        For people who want as many features as possible: use GHC releases.
·        For people who want to live on the bleeding edge: build HEAD from source
 
The Haskell Platform decides which GHC release to use, advertises that to package authors who do whatever updates are needed.  HP may perfectly sensibly skip an entire release entirely.
 
In short, I think we already have the situation that you desire.  Perhaps we just need to market it better? 
 
Or am I mistaken?

There is one kink: for GHC releases to be *useful* substitutes for the HP for people who want medium stability, they must not change (expect maybe add to) the APIs in GHC versions that do not coincide with HP releases. 

Why? If they change APIs, many of the packages on Hackage will not build with these intermediate GHC releases, which makes them useless for anything, but testing GHC.

Otherwise, I am perfectly happy with your suggestion. However, this is not the status quo. All (major) GHC releases do break critical packages on Hackage.

Manuel



--
 
 


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Re: GHC 7.8 release?

Roman Cheplyaka-2
In reply to this post by Manuel M T Chakravarty
* Manuel M T Chakravarty <[hidden email]> [2013-02-10 21:17:07+1100]
> Re (2): we should encourage contributors to fork the GHC repos on
> GitHub and work in those. That makes it easy for everybody to build
> forks (which will be longer-lived under the above policy) and creating
> a fork doesn't require any special privileges in GHC repos. Finally,
> we can use GitHub pull requests to track contributions that are
> pending integration. This is IMHO also much nicer than attaching
> patches at Trac tickets.

FYI, it is also possible to create pull requests from one branch to
another. So, for people who already have push-access to the main repo
it is not strictly necessary to fork in order to submit a pull request.

Roman

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RE: GHC 7.8 release?

Simon Peyton Jones
In reply to this post by Ian Lynagh-2

We seem to be circling ever closer to consensus here! Yay!

 

Indeed!  Good :-)

 

However, I’m not getting the bit about API changing vs non-API changing. 

 

Firstly I don’t know which APIs are intended.  The GHC API is essentially GHC itself, so it changes daily.  Maybe you mean the base package?  Or what? 

 

I suspect you mean that a “non-API-changing” release absolutely guarantees to compile any package that compiled with the previous version.  If so, that is a very strong constraint indeed. We do observe it for patch releases for GHC (e g 7.6.2 should compile anything that 7.6.1 compiles).  But I think it would be difficult to guarantee for anything beyond a patch release.  Every single commit (and the commit rate is many/day) would have to be evaluated against this criterion.  And if it failed the criterion, it would have to go on a API-breaking HEAD. In effect we’d have two HEADs.  I can’t see us sustaining this.  And I don’t yet really see why it’s necessary.  If you don’t want an API-breaking change, stick with the patch releases.

 

So, we have a channel for non-API-breaking changes already: the patch releases.  So that means we already have all three channels!

·        Haskell Platform

·        Patch-level releases

·        New releases


if that’s so, all we need is better signposting.   And I’m all for that!

 

Have I got this right?


Simon

 

From: Mark Lentczner [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: 09 February 2013 17:48
To: Simon Marlow; Manuel M T Chakravarty; Johan Tibell; Simon Peyton-Jones; Mark Lentczner; [hidden email]; Carter Schonwald; [hidden email]; Edsko de Vries; [hidden email]; glasgow-haskell-users
Subject: Re: GHC 7.8 release?

 

We seem to be circling ever closer to consensus here! Yay!

 

I think the distinction of non-API breaking and API breaking release is very important. Refining SPJ's trifecta:

 

Haskell Platform comes out twice a year. It is based on very stable version of GHC, and intention is that people can just assume things on Hackage work with it. These are named for the year and sequence of the release: 2013.2, 2013.2.1, 2013.4,...

 

Non-API breaking releases can come out as often as desired. However, the version that is current as of mid-Feb. and mid-Aug. will be the ones considered for HP inclusion. By non-API breaking we mean the whole API surface including all the libraries bundled with GHC, as well as the operation of ghc, cabal, ghc-pkg, etc. Additions of features that must be explicitly enabled are okay. Additions of new APIs into existing modules are discouraged: Much code often imports base modules wholesale, and name clashes could easily result. These should never bump the major revision number: 7.4.1, 7.4.2...

 

API breaking releases happen by being released into a separate channel when ready for library owners to look at them. This channel should probably go through several stages: Ready for core package owners to work with, then HP package owners, then all package owners. I'd imagine this is a several month process. At the end of which, the release can go into the main channel. Such a merge shouldn't happen more than once a year... I think even once every two years is fine (!) To avoid confusion, I'd suggest that while in the separate channel, these release be named with odd number: 7.9, 7.11,..., and when moved to the main channel renamed to even: 7.10, 7.12... 

 

This idea of three channels needs to be much more clearly communicated. The warning on the download page is a failure: Googling "ghc" takes you to the home page of GHC which immediately trumpets the "Lastest News" of a release of GHC 7.6.2. Once a user has read that and decided to download, then "STOP!" box is a) going to be skipped as they scan for the download link, and b) if read and followed, causes the "WTF? Why is HP so back rev?" So we need to change the front page so that the three channels are clearly communicated and targeted at the right users.

 

- Mark

 

(BTW: The first few links on the GHC web site are out of date: The second nav link is to a survey that is 7 years old. The License page is 8 years out of date. The FAQ is over a year old.)

 

On Sat, Feb 9, 2013 at 8:24 AM, Ian Lynagh <[hidden email]> wrote:

On Sat, Feb 09, 2013 at 12:06:12PM +0000, Simon Marlow wrote:
>
> As a straw man, let's suppose we want to do annual API releases in
> September, with intermediate non-API releases in February.

That's a non-API release 5 months after the API release.

6.10.2 was 5   months after 6.10.1 (.3 was 1 month later, .4 a further 2)
6.12.2 was 4   months after 6.12.1 (.3 was 2 months later)
 7.0.2 was 3.5 months after  7.0.1 (.3 was 1 month later, .4 a further 3)
 7.2.2 was 3   months after  7.2.1
 7.4.2 was 4   months after  7.4.1
 7.6.2 was 4.5 months after  7.6.2

so if we do non-API releases, then perhaps it would make sense to stop
doing minor releases (unless a release turns out to just be broken).


Thanks
Ian

 


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RE: GHC 7.8 release?

Simon Peyton Jones
In reply to this post by Brandon Allbery

, even a point release (7.6.2 vs. 7.6.1) of ghc tends to be moderately violent with respect to the Platform.  Ideally, such a point release should not be difficult to slot in because it should be compatible modulo bug fixes, but with ghc's release strategy nobody has any confidence in it being that simple.

 

Well our clear intention for point releases (7.6.1 to 7.6.1) is that they should break nothing. I am concerned that in your experience point releases are “moderately violent”. We go to some pains to make sure that we don’t break anything.    If we don’t succeed on this point-release policy, please do tell us when the release candidate comes out.  If we don’t know we are causing pain, we can’t stop inflicting it :-)

 

(Major releases are another matter.  There, things are likely to break.)

 

Simon

 

From: Brandon Allbery [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: 09 February 2013 13:41
To: Simon Peyton-Jones
Cc: Carter Schonwald; Manuel Chakravarty; parallel-haskell; Mark Lentczner; GHC Users List; [hidden email]; Edsko de Vries
Subject: Re: GHC 7.8 release?

 

On Sat, Feb 9, 2013 at 6:27 AM, Simon Peyton-Jones <[hidden email]> wrote:

In short, I think we already have the situation that you desire.  Perhaps we just need to market it better? 

 

Or am I mistaken?

 

Except the current question is about how ghc releases interact with the Platform; this thread was set off by a question about getting 7.6.2 into the next Platform....

 

And the main issue there is that ghc releases tend to break things and need a lot of testing in general to make it into the Platform; while this would be expected anyway, even a point release (7.6.2 vs. 7.6.1) of ghc tends to be moderately violent with respect to the Platform.  Ideally, such a point release should not be difficult to slot in because it should be compatible modulo bug fixes, but with ghc's release strategy nobody has any confidence in it being that simple.

 

--

brandon s allbery kf8nh                               sine nomine associates

[hidden email]                                  [hidden email]

unix, openafs, kerberos, infrastructure, xmonad        http://sinenomine.net


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Re: GHC 7.8 release?

Simon Marlow-7
In reply to this post by Simon Peyton Jones
On 10/02/13 15:36, Simon Peyton-Jones wrote:

> We seem to be circling ever closer to consensus here! Yay!
>
> Indeed!  Good :-)
>
> However, I’m not getting the bit about API changing vs non-API changing.
>
> Firstly I don’t know which APIs are intended.  The GHC API is
> essentially GHC itself, so it changes daily.  Maybe you mean the base
> package?  Or what?
>
> I suspect you mean that a “non-API-changing” release absolutely
> guarantees to compile any package that compiled with the previous
> version.  If so, that is a very strong constraint indeed. We do observe
> it for patch releases for GHC (e g 7.6.2 should compile anything that
> 7.6.1 compiles).  But I think it would be difficult to guarantee for
> anything beyond a patch release.  Every single commit (and the commit
> rate is many/day) would have to be evaluated against this criterion.
> And if it failed the criterion, it would have to go on a API-breaking
> HEAD. In effect we’d have two HEADs.  I can’t see us sustaining this.
> And I don’t yet really see why it’s necessary.  If you don’t want an
> API-breaking change, stick with the patch releases.
>
> So, we have a channel for non-API-breaking changes already: the patch
> releases.  So that means we already have all three channels!

Mark is asking for major GHC releases every year at the most, preferably
less frequently.  That means major GHC releases in the sense that we do
them now, where libraries change, and a wave of package updates are
required to get everything working.

Johan, Manuel and Carter are saying that they want releases that add
features but don't break code, i.e. a non-API-breaking release, as a way
to get the new bits into the hands of the punters sooner.  This is
something that we don't do right now, and it would entail a change to
our workflow and release schedule.

It doesn't mean no API changes at all - we would have to allow APIs to
be extended, because many feature additions come with new primops, or
new supporting code in the ghc-prim or base packages.  The package
version policy states precisely what it means to extend an API
(http://www.haskell.org/haskellwiki/Package_versioning_policy) and most
third-party packages will still work so long as we only bump the minor
versions of the packages that come with GHC.

The GHC package itself would have to be exempt, because it contains
every module in GHC, and hence would be impossible to keep stable if we
are modifying the compiler to add new features.

Of course it's not practical to maintain an extra branch of GHC for
non-API-breaking development - two branches is already plenty.  So there
would need to be an API-freeze for a while between the major release and
the non-API-breaking release, during which time people developing API
changes would need to work on branches.

Is it workable?  I'm not sure, but I think it's worth a try.  I wouldn't
want to see this replace the patchlevel bugfix releases that we already
do, and as Ian points out, there isn't a lot of room in the release
schedule for more releases, unless we stretch out the timescales, doing
major releases less frequently.

Cheers,
        Simon


> ·Haskell Platform
>
> ·Patch-level releases
>
> ·New releases
>
>
> if that’s so, all we need is better signposting.   And I’m all for that!
>
> Have I got this right?
>
>
> Simon
>
> *From:*Mark Lentczner [mailto:[hidden email]]
> *Sent:* 09 February 2013 17:48
> *To:* Simon Marlow; Manuel M T Chakravarty; Johan Tibell; Simon
> Peyton-Jones; Mark Lentczner; [hidden email]; Carter
> Schonwald; [hidden email]; Edsko de Vries; [hidden email];
> glasgow-haskell-users
> *Subject:* Re: GHC 7.8 release?
>
> We seem to be circling ever closer to consensus here! Yay!
>
> I think the distinction of non-API breaking and API breaking release is
> very important. Refining SPJ's trifecta:
>
>     *Haskell Platform* comes out twice a year. It is based on very
>     stable version of GHC, and intention is that people can just assume
>     things on Hackage work with it. These are named for the year and
>     sequence of the release: 2013.2, 2013.2.1, 2013.4,...
>
>     *Non-API breaking releases* can come out as often as desired.
>     However, the version that is current as of mid-Feb. and mid-Aug.
>     will be the ones considered for HP inclusion. By non-API breaking we
>     mean the whole API surface including all the libraries bundled with
>     GHC, as well as the operation of ghc, cabal, ghc-pkg, etc. Additions
>     of features that must be explicitly enabled are okay. Additions of
>     new APIs into existing modules are discouraged: Much code often
>     imports base modules wholesale, and name clashes could easily
>     result. These should never bump the major revision number: 7.4.1,
>     7.4.2...
>
>     *API breaking releases* happen by being released into a separate
>     channel when ready for library owners to look at them. This channel
>     should probably go through several stages: Ready for core package
>     owners to work with, then HP package owners, then all package
>     owners. I'd imagine this is a several month process. At the end of
>     which, the release can go into the main channel. Such a merge
>     shouldn't happen more than once a year... I think even once every
>     two years is fine (!) To avoid confusion, I'd suggest that while in
>     the separate channel, these release be named with odd number: 7.9,
>     7.11,..., and when moved to the main channel renamed to even: 7.10,
>     7.12...
>
> This idea of three channels needs to be much more clearly communicated.
> The warning on the download page is a failure: Googling "ghc" takes you
> to the home page of GHC which immediately trumpets the "Lastest News" of
> a release of GHC 7.6.2. Once a user has read that and decided to
> download, then "STOP!" box is a) going to be skipped as they scan for
> the download link, and b) if read and followed, causes the "WTF? Why is
> HP so back rev?" So we need to change the front page so that the three
> channels are clearly communicated and targeted at the right users.
>
> - Mark
>
> (BTW: The first few links on the GHC web site are out of date: The
> second nav link is to a survey that is 7 years old. The License page is
> 8 years out of date. The FAQ is over a year old.)
>
> On Sat, Feb 9, 2013 at 8:24 AM, Ian Lynagh <[hidden email]
> <mailto:[hidden email]>> wrote:
>
> On Sat, Feb 09, 2013 at 12:06:12PM +0000, Simon Marlow wrote:
>  >
>  > As a straw man, let's suppose we want to do annual API releases in
>  > September, with intermediate non-API releases in February.
>
> That's a non-API release 5 months after the API release.
>
> 6.10.2 was 5   months after 6.10.1 (.3 was 1 month later, .4 a further 2)
> 6.12.2 was 4   months after 6.12.1 (.3 was 2 months later)
>   7.0.2 was 3.5 months after  7.0.1 (.3 was 1 month later, .4 a further 3)
>   7.2.2 was 3   months after  7.2.1
>   7.4.2 was 4   months after  7.4.1
>   7.6.2 was 4.5 months after  7.6.2
>
> so if we do non-API releases, then perhaps it would make sense to stop
> doing minor releases (unless a release turns out to just be broken).
>
>
> Thanks
> Ian
>


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