Table of Contents
This section lists Glasgow Haskell infelicities in its implementation of Haskell 98 and Haskell 2010. See also the “when things go wrong” section (Chapter 10, What to do when something goes wrong) for information about crashes, space leaks, and other undesirable phenomena.
The limitations here are listed in Haskell Report order (roughly).
By default, GHC mainly aims to behave (mostly) like a Haskell 2010
compiler, although you can tell it to try to behave like a
particular version of the language with the
XHaskell98
and
XHaskell2010
flags. The known deviations
from the standards are described below. Unless otherwise stated,
the deviation applies in Haskell 98, Haskell 2010 and
the default modes.
Certain lexical rules regarding qualified identifiers
are slightly different in GHC compared to the Haskell
report. When you have
module
.
reservedop
,
such as M.\
, GHC will interpret it as a
single qualified operator rather than the two lexemes
M
and .\
.
In Haskell 98 mode and by default (but not in
Haskell 2010 mode), GHC is a little less strict about the
layout rule when used
in do
expressions. Specifically, the
restriction that "a nested context must be indented further to
the right than the enclosing context" is relaxed to allow the
nested context to be at the same level as the enclosing context,
if the enclosing context is a do
expression.
For example, the following code is accepted by GHC:
main = do args < getArgs if null args then return [] else do ps < mapM process args mapM print ps
This behaviour is controlled by the
NondecreasingIndentation
extension.
GHC doesn't do the fixity resolution in expressions during parsing as required by Haskell 98 (but not by Haskell 2010). For example, according to the Haskell 98 report, the following expression is legal:
let x = 42 in x == 42 == True
and parses as:
(let x = 42 in x == 42) == True
because according to the report, the let
expression “extends as far to the right as
possible”. Since it can't extend past the second
equals sign without causing a parse error
(==
is nonfix), the
let
expression must terminate there. GHC
simply gobbles up the whole expression, parsing like this:
(let x = 42 in x == 42 == True)
The Haskell Report allows you to put a unary

preceding certain expressions headed by
keywords, allowing constructs like  case x of
...
or  do { ... }
. GHC does
not allow this. Instead, unary 
is
allowed before only expressions that could potentially
be applied as a function.
In its default mode, GHC makes some programs slightly more defined than they should be. For example, consider
f :: [a] > b > b f [] = error "urk" f (x:xs) = \v > v main = print (f [] `seq` True)
This should call error
but actually prints True
.
Reason: GHC etaexpands f
to
f :: [a] > b > b f [] v = error "urk" f (x:xs) v = v
This improves efficiency slightly but significantly for most programs, and
is bad for only a few. To suppress this bogus "optimisation" use fpedanticbottoms
.
In its default mode, GHC does not accept datatype contexts,
as it has been decided to remove them from the next version of the
language standard. This behaviour can be controlled with the
DatatypeContexts
extension.
See Section 7.4.2, “Data type contexts”.
GHC requires the use of hsboot
files to cut the recursive loops among mutually recursive modules
as described in Section 4.7.9, “How to compile mutually recursive modules”. This more of an infelicity
than a bug: the Haskell Report says
(Section 5.7) "Depending on the Haskell
implementation used, separate compilation of mutually
recursive modules may require that imported modules contain
additional information so that they may be referenced before
they are compiled. Explicit type signatures for all exported
values may be necessary to deal with mutual recursion. The
precise details of separate compilation are not defined by
this Report."
The Num
class does not have
Show
or Eq
superclasses.
You can make code that works with both Haskell98/Haskell2010 and GHC by:
Whenever you make a Num
instance
of a type, also make Show
and
Eq
instances, and
Whenever you give a function, instance or class a
Num t
constraint, also give it
Show t
and
Eq t
constraints.
The Bits
class does not have
a Num
superclasses. It therefore
does not have default methods for the
bit
,
testBit
and
popCount
methods.
You can make code that works with both Haskell2010 and GHC by:
Whenever you make a Bits
instance
of a type, also make a Num
instance, and
Whenever you give a function, instance or class a
Bits t
constraint, also give it
a Num t
constraint, and
Always define the bit
,
testBit
and
popCount
methods in
Bits
instances.
The following extra instances are defined:
instance Functor ((>) r) instance Monad ((>) r) instance Functor ((,) a) instance Functor (Either a) instance Monad (Either e)
This code fragment should elicit a fatal error, but it does not:
main = print (array (1,1) [(1,2), (1,3)])
GHC's implementation of array
takes the value of an
array slot from the last (index,value) pair in the list, and does no
checking for duplicates. The reason for this is efficiency, pure and simple.
Tuples are currently limited to size 100. HOWEVER:
standard instances for tuples (Eq
,
Ord
, Bounded
,
Ix
Read
, and
Show
) are available
only up to 16tuples.
This limitation is easily subvertible, so please ask if you get stuck on it.
splitAt
semanticsRead
ing integersGHC's implementation of the
Read
class for integral types accepts
hexadecimal and octal literals (the code in the Haskell
98 report doesn't). So, for example,
read "0xf00" :: Int
works in GHC.
A possible reason for this is that readLitChar
accepts hex and
octal escapes, so it seems inconsistent not to do so for integers too.
isAlpha
The Haskell 98 definition of isAlpha
is:
isAlpha c = isUpper c  isLower c
GHC's implementation diverges from the Haskell 98
definition in the sense that Unicode alphabetic characters which
are neither upper nor lower case will still be identified as
alphabetic by isAlpha
.
hGetContents
Lazy I/O throws an exception if an error is
encountered, in contrast to the Haskell 98 spec which
requires that errors are discarded (see Section 21.2.2
of the Haskell 98 report). The exception thrown is
the usual IO exception that would be thrown if the
failing IO operation was performed in the IO monad, and can
be caught by System.IO.Error.catch
or Control.Exception.catch
.
This section documents GHC's take on various issues that are left undefined or implementation specific in Haskell 98.
Char
type
Following the ISO10646 standard,
maxBound :: Char
in GHC is
0x10FFFF
.
In GHC the Int
type follows the
size of an address on the host architecture; in other words
it holds 32 bits on a 32bit machine, and 64bits on a
64bit machine.
Arithmetic on Int
is unchecked for
overflow, so all operations on Int
happen
modulo
2^{n}
where n
is the size in bits of
the Int
type.
The fromInteger
function (and hence
also fromIntegral
) is a special case when
converting to Int
. The value of
fromIntegral x :: Int
is given by taking
the lower n
bits of (abs
x)
, multiplied by the sign of x
(in 2's complement n
bit
arithmetic). This behaviour was chosen so that for example
writing 0xffffffff :: Int
preserves the
bitpattern in the resulting Int
.
Negative literals, such as 3
, are
specified by (a careful reading of) the Haskell Report as
meaning Prelude.negate (Prelude.fromInteger 3)
.
So 2147483648
means negate (fromInteger 2147483648)
.
Since fromInteger
takes the lower 32 bits of the representation,
fromInteger (2147483648::Integer)
, computed at type Int
is
2147483648::Int
. The negate
operation then
overflows, but it is unchecked, so negate (2147483648::Int)
is just
2147483648
. In short, one can write minBound::Int
as
a literal with the expected meaning (but that is not in general guaranteed).
The fromIntegral
function also
preserves bitpatterns when converting between the sized
integral types (Int8
,
Int16
, Int32
,
Int64
and the unsigned
Word
variants), see the modules
Data.Int
and Data.Word
in the library documentation.
Operations on Float
and
Double
numbers are
unchecked for overflow, underflow, and
other sad occurrences. (note, however, that some
architectures trap floatingpoint overflow and
lossofprecision and report a floatingpoint exception,
probably terminating the
program).