Posts for the month of January 2015

GHC Weekly News - 2015/01/27

Hi *,

It's time for some GHC Weekly news!

  • Austin took the time the past week to check `./validate --slow` failures, and is planning on filing bugs and fixes for the remaining failures soon. Afterwords, we'll immediately begin enabling --slow on Phabricator, so developers get their patches tested more thoroughly.
  • The 7.10 release looks like it will likely not have a 3rd Release Candidate, and will be released in late Feburary of 2015, as we originally expected.
  • The 7.10 branch currently has two showstopping bugs we plan on hitting before the final release. And we'd really like for users to test so we can catch more!
  • Austin Seipp will likely be gone for the coming week in a trip to New York City from the 28th to the 4th, meaning (much to the dismay of cheering crowds) you'd better catch him beforehand if you need him! (Alternatively Austin will be held back due to an intense snowstorm developing in NYC. So, we'll see!)
  • Austin is planning on helping the LLVM support in HEAD soon; after coordinating with Ben Gamari, we're hoping to ship GHC 7.12 with (at least) LLVM 3.6 as an officially supported backend, based on the documentation described in https://ghc.haskell.org/trac/ghc/wiki/ImprovedLLVMBackend - lots of thanks to Ben for working with upstream to file bugs and improve things!

And in other news, through chatter on the mailing list and Phabricator, we have:

  • Peter Trommler posted his first version of a native Linux/PowerPC 64bit code generator! There's still a lot more work to do, but this is a significantly improved situation over the unregisterised C backend. Curious developers can see the patch at Phab:D629.
  • A long, ongoing thread started by Richard Eisenberg about the long-term plans for the vectorisation code have been posted. The worry is that the vectoriser as well as DPH have stagnated in development, which costs other developers any time they need to build GHC, make larger changes, or keep code clean. There have been a lot of varied proposals in the thread from removing the code to commenting it out, to keeping it. It's unclear what the future holds, but the discussion still rages on. https://www.haskell.org/pipermail/ghc-devs/2015-January/007986.html
  • Alexander Vershilov made a proposal to the GHC team: can we remove the transformers dependency? It turns out to be a rather painful dependency for users of the GHC API and of packages depending on transformers, as you cannot link against any version other than the one GHC ships, causing pain. The alternative proposal involves splitting off the transformers dependency into a package of Orphan instances. The final decision isn't yet clear, nor is a winner in clear sight yet! https://www.haskell.org/pipermail/ghc-devs/2015-January/008058.html
  • Simon Marlow has started a long thread about the fate of records in future GHC versions. Previously, Adam Gundry had worked on OverloadedRecordFields. And now Nikita Volkov has introduced his records library which sits in a slightly different spot in the design space. But now the question is - how do we proceed? Despite all prior historical precedent, it looks like there's finally some convergence on a reasonable design that can hit GHC in the future. https://www.haskell.org/pipermail/ghc-devs/2015-January/008049.html

Closed tickets the past two weeks include: #9889, #9384, #8624, #9922, #9878, #9999, #9957, #7298, #9836, #10008, #9856, #9975, #10013, #9949, #9953, #9856, #9955, #9867, #10015, #9961, #5364, #9928, and #10028.

GHC Weekly News - 2015/01/19

Hi *,

It's time for some more GHC news! The GHC 7.10 release is closing in, which has been the primary place we're focusing our attention. In particular, we're hoping RC2 will be Real Soon Now.

Some notes from the past GHC HQ meetings this week:

  • GHC 7.10 is still rolling along smoothly, and it's expected that RC2 will be cut this Friday, January 23rd. Austin sent out an email about this to ghc-devs, so we can hopefully get all the necessary fixes in.
  • Currently, GHC HQ isn't planning on focusing many cycles on any GHC 7.10 tickets that aren't highest priority. We're otherwise going to fix things as we see fit, at our leisure - but a highest priority bug is a showstopper for us. This means if you have something you consider a showstopper for the next release, you should bump the priority on the ticket and yell at us!
  • We otherwise think everything looks pretty smooth for 7.10.1 RC2 - our libraries are updated, and most of the currently queued patches (with a few minor exceptions) are done and merged.

Some notes from the mailing list include:

  • Austin has alerted everyone that soon, Phabricator will run all builds with ./validate --slow, which will increase the time taken for most builds, but will catch a wider array of bugs in commits and submitted patches - there are many cases the default ./validate script still doesn't catch. https://www.haskell.org/pipermail/ghc-devs/2015-January/008030.html
  • Johan Tibell asked about some clarifications for the HsBang datatype inside GHC. In response, Simon came back with some clarifications, comments, and refactorings, which greatly helped Johan. ttps://www.haskell.org/pipermail/ghc-devs/2015-January/007905.html
  • Richard Eisenberg had a question about the vectoriser: can we disable it? DPH seems to have stagnated a bit recently, bringing into question the necessity of keeping it on. There hasn't been anything done yet, but it looks like the build will get lighter, with a few more modules soon: https://www.haskell.org/pipermail/ghc-devs/2015-January/007986.html
  • Jan Stolarek has a simple question: what English spelling do we aim for in GHC? It seems that while GHC supports an assortment of British and American english syntactic literals (e.g. SPECIALIZE and SPECIALISE), the compiler sports an assortment of British/American identifiers on its own! https://www.haskell.org/pipermail/ghc-devs/2015-January/007999.html

Closed tickets the past few weeks include: #9966, #9904, #9969, #9972, #9934, #9967, #9875, #9900, #9973, #9890, #5821, #9984, #9997, #9998, #9971, #10000, #10002, #9243, #9889, #9384, #8624, #9922, #9878, #9999, #9957, #7298, and #9836.

GHC Weekly News - 2015/01/07

Hi *, it's time for another GHC Weekly News! This week's edition will actually be covering the last two/three weeks; your editor has missed the past few editions due to Holiday madness (and also some relaxation, which is not madness). It's also our first news posting in 2015!

So let's get going without any further delay!

GHC HQ met this week after the Christmas break; some of our notes include:

  • Since Austin is back, he'll be spending some time finishing up all the remaining binary distributions for GHC 7.8.4 and GHC 7.10.1 RC1 (mostly, FreeBSD and OS X builds).
  • We've found that 7.10.1 RC1 is working surprisingly well for users so far; to help users accomodate the changes, Herbert has conveniently written a migration guide for users for their most common problems when upgrading to 7.10.1: https://ghc.haskell.org/trac/ghc/wiki/Migration/7.10
  • We're aiming to release the 2nd Release Candidate for GHC 7.10.1 on January 19th. We're hoping this will be the last RC, with 7.10.1 final popping up in the middle of February.
  • GHC HQ may tentatively be working to release another GHC 7.8 release, but only for a specific purpose: to allow it to compile with 7.10.1. This will make it significantly easier for users to compile old GHCs (perhaps on newer platforms). However, we're not yet 100% decided on this, and we will likely only do a 'very minor release' of the source tarball, should this be the case. Thanks to Edward Yang for helping with this.
  • For future GHC releases on Windows, we're looking into adopting Neil Mitchell's new binary distribution of GHC, which is a nice installer that includes Cabal, MSYS and GHC. This should significantly lower the burden for Windows users to use GHC and update, ship or create packages. While we're not 100% sure we'll be able to have it ready for 7.10.1, it looks promising. Thanks Neil! (For more info, read Neil's blog post here: http://neilmitchell.blogspot.co.at/2014/12/beta-testing-windows-minimal-ghc.html )

There's also been some movement and chatter on the mailing lists, as usual.

  • Joachim Breitner made an exciting announcement: he's working on a new performance dashboard for GHC, so we can more easily track and look at performance results over time. The current prototype looks great, and Joachim and Austin are working together to make this an official piece of GHC's infrastructure: https://www.haskell.org/pipermail/ghc-devs/2015-January/007885.html
  • Over the holiday, Simon went and implemented a nice new feature for GHC: detection of redundant constraints. This means if you mention Ord in a type signature, but actually use nothing which requires that constraint, GHC can properly warn about it. This will be going into 7.12: https://www.haskell.org/pipermail/ghc-devs/2015-January/007892.html
  • Now that GHC 7.10 will feature support for DWARF based debugging information, Johan Tibell opened a very obvious discussion thread: what should we do about shipping GHC and its libraries with debug support? Peter chimed in with some notes - hopefully this will all be sorted out in time for 7.10.1 proper: https://www.haskell.org/pipermail/ghc-devs/2015-January/007851.html

Closed tickets the past few weeks include: #8984, #9880, #9732, #9783, #9575, #9860, #9316, #9845, #9913, #9909, #8650, #9881, #9919, #9732, #9783, #9915, #9914, #9751, #9744, #9879, #9876, #9032, #7473, #9764, #9067, #9852, #9847, #9891, #8909, #9954, #9508, #9586, and #9939.