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[project @ 1997-03-20 23:24:35 by sof]

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The Glasgow Haskell Compiler -- version 2.02
We are pleased to announce the first release of the Glasgow Haskell
Compiler (GHC, version 2.02) for *Haskell 1.4*. Sources and binaries
are freely available by anonymous FTP and on the World-Wide Web;
details below.
Haskell is "the" standard lazy functional programming language; the
current language version is 1.3, agreed in May, 1996. The Haskell
Report is online at
GHC 2.02 is a beta-quality release:
* It is reliable.
It has been extensively tested against a large suite of Haskell 1.2
programs, but not so extensively tested against Haskell 1.4 programs
because we don't have a comprehensive set (Donations of Haskell 1.4
programs to our test suite are most welcome).
* It should generate good code.
All the optimisations that GHC 0.29 used to do are back in, with
the exception of specialisation. It ought to be the case that
GHC 2.02 outperforms GHC 0.29, because it has a much better
handle on cross-module inlining, but there's a good chance that
there are performance "holes" lurking. We have yet to make
a systematic comparison. (Please send us programs where 2.02
does noticeably worse than 0.29.)
* It is more expensive than it should be.
GHC 2.02 has received even less attention to its own performance.
At present it eats more space and time than GHC 0.29, especially
for very small programs. We'll work on this.
* A couple of Haskell 1.4 features are incompletely supported,
notably polymorphic strictness annotations, and Unicode.
If you want to use Haskell 1.4, this is a good moment to switch. If
you don't need the Haskell 1.4 extensions, then stay with GHC 0.29.
If you want to hack on GHC itself, then 2.02 is definitely for you.
The release notes comment further on this point.
GHC 2.02 is substantially changed from 2.01. Changes worth noting
* The whole front end, which deals with the module system, has
been rewritten. The interface file format has changed.
* GHC 2.02 comes complete with Green Card, a C foreign language
interface for GHC. Green card is a pre-processor that
scans Haskell source files for Green Card directives, which
it expands into tons of "ccall" boilerplate that marshalls
your arguments to and from C.
* GHC 2.02 is available for Windows NT. From now on, Windows NT
will be a fully supported platform for GHC.
* GHC 2.02 supports full cross moudule inlining. Unlike 0.29 and
its predecessors, inlining can happen even if the inlined body
mentions a function or type that is not itself exported. This is
one place Haskell 1.4's new module system really pays off.
* Like 2.01, GHC 2.02 aborts a compilation if it decides that
nothing that the module imports *and acually uses* has changed.
This decision is now taken by the compiler itself, rather than
by a Perl script (as in 2.01) which sometimes got it wrong.
* The ghc/lib libraries are much more systematically organised.
* There's a completely new "make" system. This will mainly affect people
who want the source distribution, who will hopefully find it much, much,
easier than grappling with the old Jmakefiles. Even for binary
installation, the procedure is a little simpler, though.
Please see the release notes for a complete discussion of What's New.
To run this release, you need a machine with 16+MB memory (more if
building from sources), GNU C (`gcc'), and `perl'. We have seen GHC
2.01 work on these platforms: alpha-dec-osf2, hppa1.1-hp-hpux9,
sparc-sun-{sunos4,solaris2}, mips-sgi-irix5, and
i386-unknown-{linux,solaris2,freebsd}. Similar platforms should work
with minimal hacking effort. The installer's guide give a full
what-ports-work report.
Binaries are distributed in `bundles', e.g. a "profiling bundle" or a
"concurrency bundle" for your platform. Just grab the ones you need.
Once you have the distribution, please follow the pointers in
ghc/README to find all of the documentation about this release. NB:
preserve modification times when un-tarring the files (no `m' option
for tar, please)!
We run mailing lists for GHC users and bug reports; to subscribe, send
mail to; the msg body should be:
subscribe glasgow-haskell-<which> Your Name <>
Please send bug reports about GHC to
Simon Peyton Jones
Dated: March 1997
Relevant URLs on the World-Wide Web:
GHC home page
Glasgow FP group page
comp.lang.functional FAQ
How to get GHC 2.02:
This release is available by anonymous FTP from the main Haskell
archive sites, in the directory pub/haskell/glasgow: ( ( (
The Glasgow site is mirrored by (, in
These are the available files (.gz files are gzipped) -- some are `on
demand', ask if you don't see them:
ghc-2.02-src.tar.gz The source distribution; about 3MB.
ghc-2.02.ANNOUNCE This file.
ghc-2.02.{README,RELEASE-NOTES} From the distribution; for those who
want to peek before FTPing...
ghc-2.02-ps-docs.tar.gz Main GHC documents in PostScript format; in
case your TeX setup doesn't agree with our
DVI files...
ghc-2.02-<platform>.tar.gz Basic binary distribution for a particular
<platform>. Unpack and go: you can compile
and run Haskell programs with nothing but one
of these files. NB: does *not* include
profiling (see below).
<platform> ==> alpha-dec-osf2
<platform> ==> as above
<bundle> ==> prof (profiling)
conc (concurrent Haskell)
par (parallel)
gran (GranSim parallel simulator)
ticky (`ticky-ticky' counts -- for implementors)
prof-conc (profiling for "conc[urrent]")
prof-ticky (ticky for "conc[urrent]")
ghc-2.02-hc-files.tar.gz Basic set of intermediate C (.hc) files for the
compiler proper, the prelude, and `Hello,
world'. Used for bootstrapping the system.
About 4MB.
ghc-2.02-<bundle>-hc-files.tar.gz Further sets of .hc files, for
building other "bundles", e.g., profiling.
ghc-2.02-hi-files-<blah>.tar.gz Sometimes it's more convenient to
use a different set of interface files than
the ones in *-src.tar.gz. (The installation
guide will advise you of this.)
This is the root directory for functional-programming tools
distributed by the Computing Science Department at Glasgow University.
Simon Peyton Jones <> is the ringleader of this
effort. The tools are:
ghc the Glasgow Haskell compilation system
hslibs collection of Haskell libraries
haggis the Haggis GUI toolkit
happy the Happy Haskell parser generator
nofib the NoFib Haskell benchmarking suite
literate the Glasgow "literate programming" system
mkworld configuration system (derived from X11 imake)
glafp-utils shared utility programs
The "literate" stuff is usually distributed *with* other systems, but
not necessarily. Components which are always part of a distribution
(never stand-alone) are "glafp-utils" and "mkworld" (a configuration
There is usually an ANNOUNCE* file with any distribution. Please
consult that, or the <piece>/README file, to find out how to proceed.
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