Version 14 (modified by simonmar, 9 years ago) (diff)


Troubleshooting the GHC build

Here we keep track of failures that can occur when building GHC, with solutions.

We don't expect anyone to read this page from beginning to end. The only way you get here is by searching, so remember when adding a new entry the most important thing to do is to include the error message verbatim, so searches will find it. If a build failure is caused by a bug in GHC or the build system, please link to the ticket number so we can tell when it's safe to remove the entry and keep this page from getting too crufty.

Missing files (distclean)

If you try make distclean or sh validate and get something like libraries/dph/dph-base/ No such file or directory

it's probably because (alas) make distclean only works on a configured tree.


sh boot

Using autoconf by mistake

If you used autoconf instead of sh boot, you'll get an error when you run ./configure:

...lots of stuff...
creating mk/config.h
mk/config.h is unchanged
configuring in ghc
running /bin/sh ./configure  --cache-file=.././config.cache --srcdir=.
./configure: ./configure: No such file or directory
configure: error: ./configure failed for ghc

Cannot create configure

autoreconf (which gets run by sh boot) seems to create the file configure read-only. So if you need to run sh boot again (which I sometimes do for safety's sake), you get

/usr/bin/autoconf: cannot create configure: permission denied

Solution: delete configure first.

Configure can't find darcs version

When you run your configure script, it falls over with

sh-2.04$ ./configure --with-gcc=c:/mingw/bin/gcc --with-ld=c:/mingw/bin/ld.exe --host=i386-unknown-mingw32
configure: WARNING: If you wanted to set the --build type, don't use --host.
    If a cross compiler is detected then cross compile mode will be used.
checking for GHC version date... -nThe system cannot find the file specified.
configure: error: failed to detect version date: check that darcs is in your path

This error is nothing to do with darcs! The darcs-version test in configure uses sort, and it is picking up the Windows sort (in c:\windows\system32) instead of the MSYS or Cygwin sort.

Solution: either hack the configure script by hand, or (better) make sure that MSYS/Cygwin are in your PATH before Windows. Since c:\windows\system32 is, by default, in the System Environment Variable called PATH, and System Variables come first when searching for paths, you'll have to put MSYS/Cygwin bin directory in the System PATH, before c:\windows\system32.

(Incidentally, find is another program that Windows has too, with different functionality to Unix.)

Argument list too long

You may find this towards the end of compiling the base library:

c:\ghc\ghc-6.6.1\bin\ar.exe: creating libHSbase.a
xargs: c:/ghc/ghc-6.6.1/bin/ar: Argument list too long
make[2]: *** [libHSbase.a] Error 126
make[2]: *** Deleting file `libHSbase.a'
Failed making all in base: 1
make[1]: *** [all] Error 1
make[1]: Leaving directory `/cygdrive/c/GHC6.6.1/ghc-6.6.1/libraries'
make: *** [stage1] Error 2

Sadly the argument list has a limited length in Windows. This may be fixable somehow (Windows expertise welcomed here), but what we do is to set

SplitObjs = NO

in That stops the splitting-up of object files, and dramatically reduces the number of object files involved. Link times are also improved. (Binary size increases though.)

Also, you can arrange for the (huge) list of files to be processed iteratively, rather all at once, and that would probably be a principal solution. xargs feeds the file names to the appropriate command (e.g. ar). In $(GHC_TOP)/mk/ find the place where it is called and add this switch

xargs -n NNN

where NNN is the number of arguments processed at a time. It should be small enough to be less than the limit and large enough for the whole thing not to be too slow.

Note, that it's not good to edit in general.

Space in TMPDIR

One difficulty that comes up from time to time is running out of space in TMPDIR. (It is impossible for the configuration stuff to compensate for the vagaries of different sysadmin approaches to temp space.)

The quickest way around it is setenv TMPDIR /usr/tmp or even setenv TMPDIR . (or the equivalent incantation with your shell of choice).

The best way around it is to say

export TMPDIR=<dir>

in your file. Then GHC and the other tools will use the appropriate directory in all cases.

Warning "warning: assignment from incompatible pointer type"

You may occasionally see a warning from the C compiler when compiling some Haskell code, eg. "warning: assignment from incompatible pointer type". These are usually harmless, but it's a good idea to report it on the mailing list so that we can fix it.

Warning "ar: filename GlaIOMonad__1_2s.o truncated to GlaIOMonad_"

Similarly, archiving warning messages like the following are not a problem:

ar: filename GlaIOMonad__1_2s.o truncated to GlaIOMonad_
ar: filename GlaIOMonad__2_2s.o truncated to GlaIOMonad_

Cpp variations

GHC's sources go through cpp before being compiled, and cpp varies a bit from one Unix to another. One particular gotcha is macro calls like this:

SLIT("Hello, world")

Some cpps treat the comma inside the string as separating two macro arguments, so you get

:731: macro `SLIT' used with too many (2) args

Alas, cpp doesn't tell you the offending file! Workaround: don't put weird things in string args to cpp macros.

Cabal/Distribution/Compat/FilePath.hs: No such file or directory

You may see this:

  error: Cabal/Distribution/Compat/FilePath.hs: No such file or directory
make[1]: *** [depend] Error 1
make: *** [stage1] Error 1

Possible Solution:: Be sure you have run sh darcs-all get to get all necessary packages. Don't forget to run sh boot again after you pull in new packages.

xargs: /usr/bin/ar: terminated by signal 11

You may see this when compiling libraries:

(echo Control/Concurrent_stub.o System/CPUTime_hsc.o System/Time_hsc.o ;
/usr/bin/find Control/Applicative_split Control/Arrow_split
Control/Concurrent_split Control/Concurrent/Chan_split 
   ...long mess...
Text/PrettyPrint/HughesPJ_split Text/Printf_split Text/Read_split
Text/Read/Lex_split Text/Show_split Text/Show/Functions_split -name '*.o'
-print) | xargs /usr/bin/ar q libHSbase.a
/usr/bin/ar: creating libHSbase.a
xargs: /usr/bin/ar: terminated by signal 11
make[2]: *** [libHSbase.a] Error 125
make[2]: *** Deleting file `libHSbase.a'
make[1]: *** [all] Error 1

What is happening is that the ghc build system is linking thousands and thousands of tiny .o files into libHSbase.a. GNU ar isn't optimised for this use-case and it takes far more memory than it really needs to. So what happens is that ar takes >500Mb of memory and your virtual machine / virtual server probably isn't configured with that much memory and so the linux kernel OOM killer terminates the ar process.

To make this worse, since there are so many .o files, it takes several invocations of ar to link them all. On each invocation ar is building the symbol index (-q is ignored) and this is what takes the most time and memory. It's a good deal quicker to use a custom program (100 lines of Haskell) to build libHSbase.a and then use ranlib just once to build the symbol index.

[Duncan Coutts] I submitted a patch to gnu binutils to make ar take less memory when linking 1000's of files so it now only takes around 100Mb rather than 500Mb when linking libHSbase.a. That patch is included in version 2.17 I think (in other words most systems don't have it yet).

What you can do in the mean time is either configure your virtual machine with more memory or turn off the split-objs feature when you configure ghc. Just add SplitObjs=NO to your mk/ file (which may not exist to start with). (The Gentoo ebuild does this automatically)

Crippled ld

It turns out that on both Cygwin and MSYS, the ld has a limit of 32kbytes on its command line. Especially when using split object files, the make system can emit calls to ld with thousands of files on it. Then you may see something like this:

(cd Graphics/Rendering/OpenGL/GL/QueryUtils_split && /mingw/bin/ld -r -x -o ../QueryUtils.o *.o)
/bin/sh: /mingw/bin/ld: Invalid argument

The solution is either to switch off object file splitting (set SplitObjs to NO in your, or to make the module smaller.

CYGWIN environment variable in MSYS

When using MSYS, check that the CYGWIN environment variable is not set. It's a bad bug that MSYS is affected by this, but if you have CYGWIN set to "ntsec ntea", which is right for Cygwin, it causes the MSYS ssh to bogusly fail complaining that your .ssh/identity file has too-liberal permissinos.

ToDo: what's the error message for this?

Forgetting to install automake

If you get a message like this:

Can't locate object method "path" via package "Autom4te::Request" (perhaps you forgot to load "Autom4te::Request"?) at /usr/bin/autom4te line 81.
Can't locate object method "path" via package "Autom4te::Request" (perhaps you forgot to load "Autom4te::Request"?) at /usr/bin/autom4te line 81.
autoreconf: /usr/bin/autoconf failed with exit status: 1

then you have probably not got automake installed (or at least findable).

Vista installer detection

Vista has a "feature" called "installer detection" which tries to elevate permissinos for executables named things like Setup and Install. There are lots of programs called Setup in a GHC build, and if you see permission-denied errors relating to programs called Setup you may need to disable installer detection. Go to Start -> All Programs -> Accessories > Run and enter secpol.msc. Then under Security Settings -> Local Policies -> Security Options, disable UAC: Detect application installations and prompt for elevation. Then reboot.

We added a workaround for install-detection in GHC 6.8.1 (see #1271), so if you're using that version or later you shouldn't encounter this issue.

Cygwin: failure to use native path to gcc when configuring

It's very important that you specify a native Windows path for gcc, not a Cygwin path, because GHC (which uses this path to invoke gcc) is a Windows program and won't understand a Cygwin path. For example, you want to say something like --with-gcc=c:/mingw/bin/gcc.exe and not --with-gcc=/cygdrive/c/mingw/bin/gcc.exe or --with-gcc=/mingw/bin/gcc.exe. If you get this wrong, the failure might come with no error message whatsoever. GHC simply fails silently when first invoked, typically leaving you with this:

make[4]: Leaving directory `/cygdrive/e/ghc-stage1/ghc/rts/gmp'
../../ghc/compiler/ghc-inplace -optc-mno-cygwin -optc-O 
-optc-Wall -optc-W -optc-Wstrict-prototypes -optc-Wmissing-prototypes 
-optc-Wmissing-declarations -optc-Winline -optc-Waggregate-return 
-optc-Wbad-function-cast -optc-Wcast-align -optc-I../includes 
-optc-I. -optc-Iparallel -optc-DCOMPILING_RTS 
-optc-fomit-frame-pointer -O2 -static 
-package-name rts -O -dcore-lint -c Adjustor.c -o Adjustor.o
make[2]: *** [Adjustor.o] Error 1
make[1]: *** [all] Error 1
make[1]: Leaving directory `/cygdrive/e/ghc-stage1/ghc'
make: *** [all] Error 1

getCurrentDirectory: resource exhausted (Too many open files)

By default, Mac OS X limits the number of open files to 256. This may cause problems when applying patches in step 3 of Getting a GHC source tree using darcs with darcs 1.0.9.

$ darcs pull -a
Pulling from ""...
This is the GHC darcs repository (HEAD branch)

For more information, visit the GHC developer wiki at
darcs: getCurrentDirectory: resource exhausted (Too many open files)

If this happens, try increasing the number of open files allowed by typing in $ ulimit -n unlimited and try pulling again. If this fails, close all terminal windows, restart, and try again.

If this still doesn't work, try pulling 100 patches at a time using the darcs pull command (notice the lack of the -a flag). Hold down 'y' until 100 or so patches are accepted, then hit 'd' to skip the rest; repeat until all patches are applied. If this fails, try with less than 100 patches at a time (e.g., 50).

This issue has been reported as issue 560 in the darcs bug tracking system.

Ubuntu: dash vs bash

In Ubuntu 6.10 the default system shell /bin/sh was changed to dash (The Debian Almquist Shell) instead of bash, see DashAsBinSh. This has been reported to break the GHC build. Until the GHC scripts are updated, the easiest way to fix this problem is to (as root) change the /bin/sh link back to /bin/bash. There should be minimal effect on the rest of the system, bar a small speed penalty for script heavy processes due to bash slowness.

c:\msys\1.0\bin\make.exe: * couldn't commit memory for cygwin heap, Win32 error 0

This error occurs when using the new build system with MSYS on Windows. It is a temporary error; just type make again to continue the build. Hopefully this is a bug in MSYS that will be fixed at some point.

/usr/bin/patch: Permission denied

This happened to me with MSYS on Windows Server 2003. Exact cause unknown, but it seems that Windows Server 2003 was upset by the patch.exe.manifest supplied with MSYS alongside patch.exe to work around the installer-detection nonsense on Vista. Workaround: remove /usr/bin/patch.exe.manifest.