Wednesday, December 09, 2015

MinGHC is Dead, Long Live Stack

Summary: The MinGHC project has now finished.

The MinGHC project was started to produce a minimal Windows installer which didn't contain many packages, but which could install many packages - in particular the network package. But time has moved on, and Stack now offers everything MinGHC does, but cross-platform and better. To install GHC using Stack, just do stack setup, then stack exec -- my command. Even if you prefer to use Cabal, stack exec -- cabal install hlint is a reasonable approach.

A few final remarks on MinGHC:

  • MinGHC was an experiment started by Michael Snoyman, which myself (Neil Mitchell) and Elliot Cameron joined in with. I had fun working with those guys.
  • The ideas and approaches behind MinGHC got reused in Stack, so the knowledge learnt has transferred.
  • The MinGHC project involved a Shake build system coupled to an NSIS EDSL installer. I think the technologies for building the installer worked out quite nicely.
  • The existing MinGHC installers are not going away, but we won't be making any changes, and probably won't upload new versions for GHC 7.10.3.
  • It's possible to build Windows installers on a Linux box using a Wine version of NSIS. Very cool.
  • I find maintaining such fundamental pieces of an ecosystem, involving installation and system configuration, to be much less fun than just writing Haskell code. Kudos to the Stack and Cabal guys.

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