Building the Glasgow tools can be complicated, mostly because there are so many permutations of what/why/how, e.g., ``Build Happy with HBC, everything else with GHC, leave out profiling, and test it all on the `real' NoFib programs.'' Yeeps!
Happily, such complications don't apply to most people. A few common ``strategies'' serve most purposes. Pick one and proceed as suggested:
If your only purpose is to install some of the
then the easiest thing to do is to get a binary distribution. In the
binary distribution everything is pre-compiled for your particular
machine architecture and operating system, so all you should have to
do is install the binaries and libraries in suitable places. Section
Installing a Binary Distribution describes how to do this.
A binary distribution may not work for you for two reasons. First, we may not have built the suite for the particular architecture/OS platform you want. That may be due to lack of time and energy (in which case you can get a source distribution and build from it; see below). Alternatively, it may be because we haven't yet ported the suite to your architecture, in which case you are considerably worse off.
The second reason a binary distribution may not be what you want is if you want to read or modify the souce code.
You have a supported platform, but (a) you like the warm fuzzy feeling of compiling things yourself; (b) you want to build something ``extra''---e.g., a set of libraries with strictness-analysis turned off; or (c) you want to hack on GHC yourself.
A source distribution contains complete sources for the
suite. Not only that, but the more awkward machine-independent steps
are done for you. For example, if you don't have
you'll find it convenient that the source distribution contains the
result of running
flex on the lexical analyser specification. If
you don't want to alter the lexical analyser then this saves you
having to find and install
flex. You will still need a working
version of GHC on your machine in order to compile (most of) the
We make source distributions more frequently than binary distributions; a release that comes with pre-compiled binaries is considered a major release, i.e., a release that we have some confidence will work well by having tested it (more) thoroughly.
Source-only distributions are either bugfix releases or snapshots of current state of development. The release has undergone some testing. Source releases of 3.xx can be compiled up using 2.10 or later. Compiling with version 0.29 won't work any more: we use Haskell 1.4 features in the compiler.
need a working GHC to use a source distribution. What if you don't
have a working GHC? Then you have no choice but to ``bootstrap'' up
from the intermediate C (
.hc) files that we provide. Building GHC
on an unsupported platform falls into this category. Please see
Booting From C.
Once you have built GHC, you can build the other Glasgow tools with it.
In theory, you can (could?) build GHC with another Haskell compiler (e.g., HBC). We haven't tried to do this for ages and it almost certainly doesn't work any more (for tedious reasons).
We make source distributions slightly more often than binary distributions; but still infrequently. If you want more up-to-the minute (but less tested) source code then you need to get access to our CVS repository.
fptools source code is held in a CVS repository. CVS is a
pretty good source-code control system, and best of all it works over
The repository holds source code only. It holds no mechanically generated files at all. So if you check out a source tree from CVS you will need to install every utility so that you can build all the derived files from scratch.
Giving you access to the repository entails some systems administration at our end; and we are a bit nervous about being submerged in bug reports about our current working copy (which is, by definition, in flux). So we are a bit cautious about offering CVS access. Feel free to ask though!
If you are going to do any building from sources (either from a source distribution or the CVS repository) then you need to read all of this manual in detail.