wither the Platform

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wither the Platform

Mark Lentczner-2
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.

Thoughts?

— Mark


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Re: wither the Platform

Mark Lentczner-2
Eeek! I really really did mean to make the subject whither, not wither!

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Re: wither the Platform

Matthias Hörmann

I can't speak for others but as a regular but enthusiastic Haskell user the platform always (not just since sandboxes) felt outdated and limited to the included packages since the rest of the Haskell ecosystem rapidly moved on after a platform release (or even during its stabilization freeze phase before a release).

The platform is quite similar to Linux distributions like Debian stable or RedHat Enterprise Linux in that sense. Running software not in their repositories on one of those is a bit of a pain and not for the beginner too, just as running packages outside the HP can be when you start out with it.

The majority of the Haskell power users (library authors, people interested in the language development itself,...) on the other hand run Haskell more like a rolling release Linux distribution, dealing with problems due to cutting edge versions as they arise which means cutting Hackage versions do not build on the HP. On the other hand new versions that do compile very rarely seem to cause major issues, offering little incentive to use older versions for power users outside enterprise support environments.

Perhaps Haskell does need some kind of multi-tier system as those Linux distributions use? LTS and Stackage seem to be attempts to do just that.

In any case, I do not think the HP is the best environment for the new Haskell user.

Perhaps listing the possible types of users and their requirements and limitations would be helpful to decide what, if anything, should replace the HP.


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Re: wither the Platform

Francesco Ariis
In reply to this post by Mark Lentczner-2
On Sat, Mar 21, 2015 at 10:54:26AM -0700, Mark Lentczner wrote:
> I'm wondering how we are all feeling about the platform these days....

Thanks for having written this post Mark.

> 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.

I recall trying haskell some years ago, when I was still a Windows user;
the platform was /very/ easy to install, and it served me well in my
first functional steps (namely, going through Learn You a Haskell).

If we compare it with the old Haskell platform [1], the new downloads
section [2] looks more complicated.
The pages for the various OSes are even more intimidating (I don't use
Ubuntu, but my first question would be "What are those commands doing?
Why do I need them?"; same could be said for Win/OSX).

[1] https://www.haskell.org/platform/
[2] https://www.haskell.org/downloads

> 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.

I am not experienced enough to answer this, but whichever action will
be taken, let me say: "think of the children!", i.e. an immediately usable,
easily installable system for those who would like to try Haskell out.

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Re: wither the Platform

Heinrich Apfelmus
In reply to this post by Mark Lentczner-2
Mark Lentczner wrote:

> 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.
>
> Thoughts?

Thanks a lot for your hard work on the platform!

I myself am an avid user of the platform (OS X), because for me, it's
the easiest way to install Haskell on a new machine; I just did so the
other day.

The only time when the platform seems to be a handicap is when a new
version of GHC is being released and I would have to update my packages.
Usually, I don't test them with the new version and rely on pull
requests instead.


Best regards,
Heinrich Apfelmus

--
http://apfelmus.nfshost.com

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Re: wither the Platform

Neil Mitchell
On Windows, the reason I used to use the Platform was that it came
with an installed network library, and installing the network library
on Windows is a real pain (and often fails). Unfortunately it was
incredibly brittle, a single attempt at upgrading network from some
newer package usually trashed my Haskell install and required a wipe
and restart.

Nowadays I use https://github.com/fpco/minghc which can actually
install network, and I've had zero problems. I can get up to the
platform with one invoke of cabal, and if someone decides to require a
new network, it just works.

I think the Platform now gives a worse user experience on Windows, so
the ideas (or names) probably need migrating around.

Thanks, Neil


On Sun, Mar 22, 2015 at 8:47 AM, Heinrich Apfelmus
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> Mark Lentczner wrote:
>>
>> 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.
>>
>> Thoughts?
>
>
> Thanks a lot for your hard work on the platform!
>
> I myself am an avid user of the platform (OS X), because for me, it's the
> easiest way to install Haskell on a new machine; I just did so the other
> day.
>
> The only time when the platform seems to be a handicap is when a new version
> of GHC is being released and I would have to update my packages. Usually, I
> don't test them with the new version and rely on pull requests instead.
>
>
> Best regards,
> Heinrich Apfelmus
>
> --
> http://apfelmus.nfshost.com
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Libraries mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://mail.haskell.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/libraries
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Re: wither the Platform

Benno Fünfstück

I'd like the haskell platform to include all of LTS haskell. That includes a very broad set of packages so you don't need to install many other packages even as an advanced user.

Maybe there could also be a nightly release which includes stackage instead?

It would save a lot of time even for experienced users, since they get stackage precompiled.

However, such a distribution should be designed such that cabal install just works, so it should probably be based on winghc on Windows.

The only problem I can see with this is the size of such a package, not sure if it would be acceptable?


Neil Mitchell <[hidden email]> schrieb am So., 22. Mär. 2015 10:18:
On Windows, the reason I used to use the Platform was that it came
with an installed network library, and installing the network library
on Windows is a real pain (and often fails). Unfortunately it was
incredibly brittle, a single attempt at upgrading network from some
newer package usually trashed my Haskell install and required a wipe
and restart.

Nowadays I use https://github.com/fpco/minghc which can actually
install network, and I've had zero problems. I can get up to the
platform with one invoke of cabal, and if someone decides to require a
new network, it just works.

I think the Platform now gives a worse user experience on Windows, so
the ideas (or names) probably need migrating around.

Thanks, Neil


On Sun, Mar 22, 2015 at 8:47 AM, Heinrich Apfelmus
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> Mark Lentczner wrote:
>>
>> 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.
>>
>> Thoughts?
>
>
> Thanks a lot for your hard work on the platform!
>
> I myself am an avid user of the platform (OS X), because for me, it's the
> easiest way to install Haskell on a new machine; I just did so the other
> day.
>
> The only time when the platform seems to be a handicap is when a new version
> of GHC is being released and I would have to update my packages. Usually, I
> don't test them with the new version and rely on pull requests instead.
>
>
> Best regards,
> Heinrich Apfelmus
>
> --
> http://apfelmus.nfshost.com
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Libraries mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://mail.haskell.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/libraries
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Re: wither the Platform

Herbert Valerio Riedel
In reply to this post by Mark Lentczner-2
On 2015-03-21 at 18:54:26 +0100, Mark Lentczner wrote:

[...]

> 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.

[...]

> Thoughts?

My biggest complaint about the current HP is that it pollutes the global
package database with additional packages which leak into `cabal
sandbox`es. This causes `cabal sandbox` to provide quite different
sandbox environments for HP environments compared to a non-HP
environment without those additional packages pre-installed.

Currently GHC/Cabal knows about a global package db and a user package
db (the user pkg db is is what gets replaced/shadowed by cabal
sandboxes). Maybe we need a 3rd package db sitting between the global
and the user package db that interacts better with cabal sandboxes?

Cheers,
  hvr
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Re: wither the Platform

Roman Cheplyaka-2
I also thought about it recently. IIRC ghc can already deal with any
number of stacked package dbs; we only need to expose this somehow
through cabal.

On 22/03/15 11:52, Herbert Valerio Riedel wrote:

> On 2015-03-21 at 18:54:26 +0100, Mark Lentczner wrote:
>
> [...]
>
>> 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.
>
> [...]
>
>> Thoughts?
>
> My biggest complaint about the current HP is that it pollutes the global
> package database with additional packages which leak into `cabal
> sandbox`es. This causes `cabal sandbox` to provide quite different
> sandbox environments for HP environments compared to a non-HP
> environment without those additional packages pre-installed.
>
> Currently GHC/Cabal knows about a global package db and a user package
> db (the user pkg db is is what gets replaced/shadowed by cabal
> sandboxes). Maybe we need a 3rd package db sitting between the global
> and the user package db that interacts better with cabal sandboxes?
>
> Cheers,
>   hvr
> _______________________________________________
> Libraries mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://mail.haskell.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/libraries
>

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Re: wither the Platform

Erik Hesselink
In reply to this post by Neil Mitchell
On Sun, Mar 22, 2015 at 10:17 AM, Neil Mitchell <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Windows, the reason I used to use the Platform was that it came
> with an installed network library, and installing the network library
> on Windows is a real pain (and often fails). Unfortunately it was
> incredibly brittle, a single attempt at upgrading network from some
> newer package usually trashed my Haskell install and required a wipe
> and restart.

Slightly OT: If you ever want to prevent cabal from trying to install
a different version of a package (since you know it won't work, or
will break things) you can put something like this in your cabal
config:

  constraint: network installed

I do this for template-haskell, since it's not possible to reinstall
but cabal would occasionally try it. I can imagine it would work well
to prevent the scenario you describe with network.

Erik
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Re: wither the Platform

Herbert Valerio Riedel
On 2015-03-22 at 11:17:21 +0100, Erik Hesselink wrote:

[...]

> I do this for template-haskell, since it's not possible to reinstall
> but cabal would occasionally try it. I can imagine it would work well
> to prevent the scenario you describe with network.

Why isn't it possible to reinstall TH (unless you also need to depend on
the `ghc` package)? We even explicitly allowed template-haskell to be
reinstallable again in Cabal as there didn't seem any reason to forbid
it anymore (it's no different than e.g. `bytestring` which is
reinstallable as well):

  https://github.com/haskell/cabal/commit/ffd67e5e630766906e6f4c6655c067a79f739150

Cheers,
  hvr
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Re: wither the Platform

Erik Hesselink
On Sun, Mar 22, 2015 at 11:24 AM, Herbert Valerio Riedel <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 2015-03-22 at 11:17:21 +0100, Erik Hesselink wrote:
>
> [...]
>
>> I do this for template-haskell, since it's not possible to reinstall
>> but cabal would occasionally try it. I can imagine it would work well
>> to prevent the scenario you describe with network.
>
> Why isn't it possible to reinstall TH (unless you also need to depend on
> the `ghc` package)? We even explicitly allowed template-haskell to be
> reinstallable again in Cabal as there didn't seem any reason to forbid
> it anymore (it's no different than e.g. `bytestring` which is
> reinstallable as well):
>
>   https://github.com/haskell/cabal/commit/ffd67e5e630766906e6f4c6655c067a79f739150

This was based on my experiences from some time ago. Looking at it
now, I think it was just that the dependencies for template-haskell
were too loose, i.e. it allowed different major versions of base. When
a new version of GHC was released and I was trying it out, it would
always try to install the older version, and this never worked. Now
that you fixed these constraints (thanks!) it seems you can reinstall,
as long as it's the same (major) version. It still prints this ominous
warning even in a sandbox:

    Warning: The following packages are likely to be broken by the reinstalls:
    ghc-7.8.3

But everything seems to be fine when passing --force. So I guess I can
remove the constraint...

Erik
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Re: wither the Platform

Edward Kmett-2
In reply to this post by Herbert Valerio Riedel
The original reason for the cabal hack that prevented it from trying to reinstall template-haskell is that almost every time someone did this it broke, silently. Then five packages later something would use template haskell, and you'd get completely nonsensical error messages, and someone _else_ would get the bug report. Sure there might have been a scenario in which an expert who is working on ghc may want to reinstall the template-haskell to get a new point release, but TH has never worked across multiple GHC versions, and old versions shipped with very wide bounds.

Now, of course, maintainers and the trustees have the ability to retroactively narrow bounds (and you've already done so for template-haskell), so this view is dated. template-haskell should just be reinstallable like everything else now.

-Edward

On Sun, Mar 22, 2015 at 6:24 AM, Herbert Valerio Riedel <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 2015-03-22 at 11:17:21 +0100, Erik Hesselink wrote:

[...]

> I do this for template-haskell, since it's not possible to reinstall
> but cabal would occasionally try it. I can imagine it would work well
> to prevent the scenario you describe with network.

Why isn't it possible to reinstall TH (unless you also need to depend on
the `ghc` package)? We even explicitly allowed template-haskell to be
reinstallable again in Cabal as there didn't seem any reason to forbid
it anymore (it's no different than e.g. `bytestring` which is
reinstallable as well):

  https://github.com/haskell/cabal/commit/ffd67e5e630766906e6f4c6655c067a79f739150

Cheers,
  hvr
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Re: wither the Platform

M Farkas-Dyck
In reply to this post by Mark Lentczner-2
On 21/03/2015, Mark Lentczner <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I'm wondering how we are all feeling about the platform these days....

I say leave it to the operating system distributions.
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Re: wither the Platform

Yitzchak Gale
In reply to this post by Mark Lentczner-2
Mark Lentczner wrote:

> 1) Abandon the Platform…
>
> 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.

I vote for (3) but in a way that it would *not* be much work.
We should definitely do the Platform, but with much *less* work.

The most important reason we need the Platform is as
a default selection of quality basic libraries. We should not abandon
that concept. Curated package sets do not replace that - the
Platform is not just packages that build together. Nor do OS
packagers. The platform is a community-wide set of basic default
packages that are mature, well tested, all work together well,
and stable.

The second most important role of the Platform is a web site
where you can get a clear picture of how to download and install
a default Haskell installation for your platform, and a simple view
of where we are in the parade of releases. That should also continue.

The hardest work of the Platform was its role as a way to bootstrap a
Haskell installation. That is what made it so hard for HP to keep up
with GHC releases, and what consequently gave people the impression
that HP is always old. That work doesn't need to be done as part of the
Platform anymore. We should leverage other good work people are
doing to create installers, and stop doing it as part of the HP process.

The most important part of an HP release should be a cabal package
that provides the packages in the platform, at the right versions, with
a specification of the recommended GHC version as a pre-requisite.

Perhaps we can also provide an HP-branded slick installer for some
platforms that does everything in one click, built as a thin wrapper of
some existing installer. But that should not delay the official release
of an HP version. It's just a nice-to-have extra.

Once we pare down the work needed for an HP release, we should
release new versions of HP quite often - *more* often than GHC
releases, not less often.

Another thing we should fix is the (now false) impression that HP
gets in the way of installing other packages and versions due to
cabal hell. We should make "require-sandbox" the default setting
in the cabal config file. I would go further - I would add a cabal
feature to create a sandbox automatically unless "--user" or
"--global" is specified explicitly. I would make "foo installed" a
default constraint (that is easy to override) for all platform packages,
which solves virtually all cabal hell problems (assuming you are
using a sandbox) and will not keep things old if we release often.

Thanks,
Yitz
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Re: wither the Platform

Michael Snoyman
In reply to this post by Mark Lentczner-2
It should go without saying that the first sentiment we all likely have is gratitude for all the work Mark has put into the platform, as well as all of the other contributors and maintainers the platform has had over the years. It hasn't just been work on producing the platform itself, but also for setting up an expectation in the Haskell world for high quality, reliable libraries. Even if the current incarnation of the platform is in jeopardy, I hope that we continue with that attitude going forward.

I spend a lot of time working on Stackage, and obviously there's quite a bit of overlap between Stackage, Haskell Platform, and LTS Haskell. For purposes of this discussion, I think it's important to separate out different features of the platform, and see how we may continue or discontinue each individually:

1. A quality-approved set of libraries. As I see it, the process of coming up with recommended libraries can continue completely independently of any other work.
2. A method for installing GHC and build tools. I personally think that it makes sense to separate out this aspect of the platform from all others. MinGHC is an example of such a project: a minimal set of functionality for bootstrapping a more complete Haskell development environment.
3. Prebuilt binary package databases. As I've mentioned in the past, and others have here, there are problems with the current approach of putting the packages in the global package database. I'd personally rather see this aspect of the platform give way to more robust solutions.

And as we've already discussed in the past regarding GPS, there's definitely room to add *more* to the platform with better build dependency solving. LTS Haskell was specifically an effort to try to advance that aspect of GPS.

Putting this together, I think it leads to a new approach for the platform: minimalistic installers, curated package sets (ala LTS), recommended packages (ala the current platform set), and a robust means for installing these (e.g., cabal sandboxes). The Haskell world has advanced since the initial HP work, maybe all that's needed now is upgrading to the newest tooling available.

I realize I haven't put down any concrete "next steps" here. I definitely have more ideas than I could put into this (already quite long) email. I think a smaller task force dedicated to improving the tooling situation is the best next step, and I'd be happy to kick off such an effort with other interested individuals.

On Sat, Mar 21, 2015 at 7:54 PM Mark Lentczner <[hidden email]> wrote:
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.

Thoughts?

— Mark

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RE: wither the Platform

Simon Peyton Jones
In reply to this post by Mark Lentczner-2

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.

 

Simon

 

From: Libraries [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Mark Lentczner
Sent: 21 March 2015 17:54
To: [hidden email]; Haskell Libraries; [hidden email]; [hidden email]
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.

 

Thoughts?

 

— Mark

 


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Re: wither the Platform

Thomas Miedema
From the downloads page on the GHC homepage:

Stop!

For most users, we recommend installing the Haskell Platform instead of GHC. The current Haskell Platform release includes a recent GHC release as well as some other tools (such as cabal), and a larger set of libraries that are known to work together.




On Mon, Mar 23, 2015 at 11:01 AM, Simon Peyton Jones <[hidden email]> wrote:

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.

 

Simon

 

From: Libraries [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Mark Lentczner
Sent: 21 March 2015 17:54
To: [hidden email]; Haskell Libraries; [hidden email]; [hidden email]
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.

 

Thoughts?

 

— Mark

 


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Re: wither the Platform

Herbert Valerio Riedel
On 2015-03-23 at 11:20:36 +0100, Thomas Miedema wrote:

[...]

> For most users, we recommend installing the Haskell Platform
> <http://hackage.haskell.org/platform/> instead of GHC. The current Haskell
> Platform release includes a recent GHC release as well as some other tools
> (such as cabal), and a larger set of libraries that are known to work
> together.

Btw, I've always wondered a little bit about the last part, namely "set
of libraries that are known to work together"... what is actually meant
by that? Does it simply refer to providing a selection of
package-versions that form a valid coherent/simultaneous Cabal install
plan?

Cheers,
  hvr
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Re: wither the Platform

Mark Lentczner-2
In reply to this post by Simon Peyton Jones
On Mon, Mar 23, 2015 at 3:01 AM, Simon Peyton Jones <[hidden email]> wrote:

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!


I do too...! But follow the new Haskell.org pages like you are a user "just want to install Haskell"... you'll never end up with the Platform.

It looks like the Platform deprecated on the Haskell.org site for Linux and OS X in June, and for Windows in Jan.
Infrastructure team: Was there a discussion and decision to do that somewhere?

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.


As evidenced by yourself, and those that spoke up here, there is also a vocal, well-informed set of users who want such a thing as well.

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