List of tools needed to build GHC

Here are the gory details about which programs and tools you need in order to build GHC. For instructions tailored to your particular operating system, see Building/Preparation.

In most cases the configure script will tell you if you are missing something.

GHC is required to build GHC, because GHC itself is written in Haskell, and uses GHC extensions. It is possible to build GHC using just a C compiler, and indeed some distributions of GHC do just that, but it isn't the best supported method, and you may encounter difficulties. Full instructions are in Porting GHC.

GHC can be built using either an earlier released version of GHC, or bootstrapped using a GHC built from exactly the same sources. Note that this means you cannot in general build GHC using an arbitrary development snapshot, or a build from say last week. It might work, it might not - we don't guarantee anything. To be on the safe side, start your build using the most recently released stable version of GHC.

In general, we support building with the previous 2 major releases, e.g.:
  • To build 6.8.* you need GHC >= 6.4
  • To build 6.10.* you need GHC >= 6.6
  • To build 7.4.* you need GHC >= 7.0
  • To build 7.6.* you need GHC >= 7.2
  • To build 7.8.* you need GHC >= 7.4
  • To build 7.10.* you need GHC >= 7.6
  • To build 8.0.* you need GHC >= 7.8
  • To build 8.2.* you need GHC >= 7.10
Perl version 5 at least is required. GHC has been known to tickle bugs in Perl, so if you find that Perl crashes when running GHC try updating (or downgrading) your Perl installation. Versions of Perl before 5.6 have been known to have various bugs tickled by GHC, so the configure script will look for version 5.6 or later. Perl should be put somewhere so that it can be invoked by the #! script-invoking mechanism.
GNU C (gcc)
Most GCC versions should work with the most recent GHC sources. Expect trouble if you use a recent GCC with an older GHC, though (trouble in the form of mis-compiled code, link errors, and errors from the ghc-asm script).

If your GCC dies with "internal error"" on some GHC source file, please let us know, so we can report it and get things improved. (Exception: on x86 boxes, you may need to fiddle with GHC's -monly-N-regs option; see the User's Guide).
GNU Make
The GHC build system makes heavy use of features specific to recent versions of GNU make, so you must have at least GNU make 3.80 installed in order to build GHC.
Happy is a parser generator tool for Haskell, and is used to generate GHC's parsers.

If you start from a source tarball of GHC, then you don't need Happy, because we supply the pre-processed versions of the Happy parsers. If you intend to modify the compiler and/or build from a git repository, then you need Happy.

Happy version 1.19.4 or higher is currently required to build GHC. Grab a copy from Happy's Web Page.
Alex is a lexical-analyser generator for Haskell, which GHC uses to generate its lexer.

Like Happy, you don't need Alex if you're building GHC from a source tarball, but you do need it if you're modifying GHC and/or building from a git repository.

Alex version 3.1 or higher is currently required to build GHC. Alex is written in Haskell. Alex distributions are available from Alex's Web Page.
Haddock is a documentation generator for Haskell, used for making the docs for the libraries. If you don't want to build the docs then you don't need haddock.

Haddock is only needed for GHC 6.8.3 and older; GHC 6.10 comes with Haddock. For GHC 6.8 and older you need a 0.* version of haddock; 2.* versions won't work.
autoconf and automake
These are needed if you intend to build from the darcs/git sources, they are not needed if you just intend to build a standard source distribution.

Version 2.52 or later of the autoconf package is required. NB. version 2.13 will no longer work, as of GHC version 6.1. Version 1.9 of automake is known to work, use others at your own risk.

autoreconf (from the autoconf package) recursively builds configure scripts from the corresponding and aclocal.m4 files. If you modify one of the latter files, you'll need autoreconf to rebuild the corresponding configure.
Most installations should have this by default.
Needed if you want to prepare a source distribution with make sdist, and useful for maintaining a separate build tree.
Most Unix installations and MSYS2 on Windows already come with sed, so you're probably OK. GNU sed version 2.0.4 is no good! It has a bug in it that is tickled by the build-configuration. 2.0.5 is OK. Others are probably OK too (assuming we don't create too elaborate configure scripts.)
Required for running the testsuite. Version 2.6 or later is needed. Python3 should also work.
Required for building the documentation.
Required for compiling code with the -fllvm flag enabled (e.g., if you want to build GHC with the perf-llvm build flavour). Version 3.8 or later is required. See also the LLVM installation page.
If libedit is installed, ghci will be built with a nice interactive line-editing interface. Version 2.6.9 and later are known to work; note that the libeditline package listed on some distros is too old. If a suitable version of libedit cannot be found, ghc/ghci will still build fine, just without the nice line-editing capabilities.

If your installation does not have libedit by default, you may either download and build it yourself from the link above, or else install your distro's relevant package (sometimes called "libedit-devel" or "libedit-dev").

GHC does not use libedit on Windows; instead, it uses the console's default line editor.
TODO Document this. I stumbled on this as a new dependency as a user, but I cannot comment further.


See the running NoFib page.

Last modified 3 months ago Last modified on Oct 15, 2016 2:16:49 PM