Table of Contents
Installing from binary distributions is easiest, and recommended!
(Why binaries? Because GHC is a Haskell compiler written in Haskell,
so you've got to bootstrap it somehow. We provide machine-generated
C-files-from-Haskell for this purpose, but it's really quite a pain to
use them. If you must build GHC from its sources, using a
binary-distributed GHC to do so is a sensible way to proceed. For the
fptools programs, many are written in
Haskell, so binary distributions allow you to install them without
having a Haskell compiler.)
This guide is in several parts:
Installing on Unix-a-likes (Section 2.1, “Installing on Unix-a-likes”).
Installing on Windows (Section 2.2, “Installing on Windows”).
The layout of installed files (Section 2.3, “The layout of installed files”). You don't need to know this to install GHC, but it's useful if you are changing the implementation.
For certain platforms, we provide GHC binaries packaged using the native package format for the platform. This is likely to be by far the best way to install GHC for your platform if one of these packages is available, since dependencies will automatically be handled and the package system normally provides a way to uninstall the package at a later date.
We generally provide the following packages:
RPM source & binary packages for RedHat and SuSE Linux (x86 only) are available for most major releases.
Debian packages for Linux (x86 only), also for most major releases.
On FreeBSD/x86, GHC can be installed using either
the ports tree (
cd /usr/ports/lang/ghc && make
install) or from a pre-compiled package
available from your local FreeBSD mirror.
Other platform-specific packages may be available, check the GHC download page for details.
Binary distributions come in “bundles,” one bundle per file called
. (See the building guide for the definition of a platform.) Suppose that you untar a binary-distribution bundle, thus:
% cd /your/scratch/space % gunzip < ghc-x.xx-sun-sparc-solaris2.tar.gz | tar xvf -
Then you should find a single directory,
ghc-, with the
the raw material from which the
will be made (Section 184.108.40.206, “Installing”).
the configuration script (Section 220.127.116.11, “Installing”).
Contains this file summary.
Contains this description of how to install the bundle.
The announcement message for the bundle.
release notes for the bundle—a longer version
ANNOUNCE. For GHC, the release notes are contained in the User
Guide and this file isn't present.
contains platform-specific executable files to be invoked directly by the user. These are the files that must end up in your path.
contains platform-specific support
files for the installation. Typically there is a subdirectory for
fptools project, whose name is the name of the project with its
version number. For example, for GHC there would be a sub-directory
x.xx is the version number of GHC in the bundle.
These sub-directories have the following general structure:
contains platform-independent support files
for the installation. Again, there is a sub-directory for each
contains HTML documentation files (one sub-directory per project).
OK, so let's assume that you have unpacked your chosen bundles. What
next? Well, you will at least need to run the
script by changing directory into the top-level directory for the
bundle and typing
./configure. That should convert
You can now either start using the tools in-situ without going
through any installation process, just type
make in-place to set the
tools up for this. You'll also want to add the path which
now echo to your
PATH environment variable. This option is useful if
you simply want to try out the package and/or you don't have the
necessary privileges (or inclination) to properly install the tools
locally. Note that if you do decide to install the package `properly'
at a later date, you have to go through the installation steps that
To install a package, you'll have to do the following:
the platform you are going to install for.
the directory in which to install user-invokable binaries.
the directory in which to install platform-dependent support files.
the directory in which to install platform-independent support files.
the directory in which to install Emacs info files.
the directory in which to install HTML documentation.
the directory in which to install DVI documentation.
The values for these variables can be set through invocation of the configure script that comes with the distribution, but doing an optical diff to see if the values match your expectations is always a Good Idea.
Instead of running configure, it is
perfectly OK to copy
Makefile and set all these variables directly
yourself. But do it right!
make install. This
should work with ordinary Unix
make—no need for fancy stuff like GNU
rehash (t?csh or zsh users), so your shell will see the new
stuff in your bin directory.
Once done, test your “installation” as suggested in
Section 18.104.22.168, “Testing that GHC seems to be working
”. Be sure to use a
option, so you can see exactly what pathnames it's using.
If things don't work as expected, check the list of known pitfalls in
the building guide.
When installing the user-invokable binaries, this installation
procedure will install GHC as
x.xx is the version
number of GHC. It will also make a link (in the binary installation
ghc-x.xx. If you install multiple versions
of GHC then the last one “wins”, and “
ghc” will invoke the last
one installed. You can change this manually if you want. But
ghc-x.xx should always invoke GHC version
One likely scenario is that you will grab two binary bundles—basic, and profiling. We don't usually make the rest, although you can build them yourself from a source distribution.
The various GHC bundles are designed to be unpacked into the same directory; then installing as per the directions above will install the whole lot in one go. Note: you must at least have the basic GHC binary distribution bundle, these extra bundles won't install on their own.
The way to do this is, of course, to compile and run this program
(in a file
main = putStr "Hello, world!\n"
Compile the program, using the
-v (verbose) flag to verify that
libraries, etc., are being found properly:
% ghc -v -o hello Main.hs
Now run it:
% ./hello Hello, world!
Some simple-but-profitable tests are to compile and run the notorious
nfib program, using different numeric types. Start with
nfib :: Int -> Int, and then try
Rational and perhaps the overloaded version. Code for this is
ghc/misc/examples/nfib/ in a source distribution.
For more information on how to “drive” GHC, read on...