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LTS Haskell: Version your Ecosystem

LTS (Long Term Support) Haskell is a curated set of packages, a more stable companion to Stackage Nightly.

  • Minor version increments (e.g., 5.1 to 5.2) to LTS are produced weekly, typically on Sunday, containing only API compatible changes to existing packages and additional packages.
  • Major version increments (e.g. 5.20 to 6.0) to LTS are produced every 3 to 6 months containing API changes, additional packages, and occasional package removals. (Note that, in the future, a more rigorous release schedule will likely be added.)
  • In contrast, Stackage Nightly releases are produced nightly containing API changes and package changes.

Both Stackage Nightly and LTS Haskell are available from the Stackage homepage. More information is available in our initial blog post.

This repository contains the build plans for all LTS Haskell releases. Each release is available on stackage.org following the URL scheme:

http://www.stackage.org/lts-<major>.<minor>

Similarly, if you would like the newest point release of a release series, just provide the major version in the URL:

http://www.stackage.org/lts-<major>

Finally, to access the most recent LTS Haskell release, use the URL:

http://www.stackage.org/lts

Full Haddocks for each release are available at these URLs as well.

While Stackage Server is currently the only means of using the LTS Haskell package set, we strongly encourage other means of distribution, such as Linux package managers. If you are interested in putting together such a release, please feel free to contact us (via issue tracker, or the Stackage mailing list).

How it works

LTS Haskell builds on top of the versioning guidelines of Haskell's Package Versioning Policy, where authors indicate a breaking changing by bumping either the first or second numbers in the version number, and indicate point releases and bug fixes by changing any of the other numbers.

With LTS Haskell, we start with a new major release, let's say 7.0. 7.0 has selected a set of packages and their version numbers. When it comes time to release 7.1, we select all packages with matching major version numbers, which indicates that they have a backwards-compatible API. We then run a normal build/test process to ensure that everything works as expected, and then release 7.1.

By following the pattern, you can target the 7.X series of releases and have a high degree of confidence that you will continue to get bug fixes and feature enhancements, without needing to change your code to match upstream API changes.

All of this is done using the Stackage code base; you can see the description of the code for more details.

Usage via Stack

The Stack build tool includes built-in support for LTS Haskell, and will prefer using LTS releases whenever possible.

Fast global install for default cabal-install on Linux

For Linux user, If you install cabal-install by default.

The Cabal default path will be $HOME/.cabal.

This is a quick global install for default cabal-install for linux users.

Unix should working as well.

curl -sS http://www.stackage.org/snapshot/lts-1.7/cabal.config\?global\=true >> $HOME/.cabal/config

Possible breakage

It is still possible to have breaking when upgrading to a new point release. Some examples are:

  • A package author may make a mistake and introduce a bug, change semantics, or break the API of his/her code.
  • If you import modules unqualified and without explicit import lists, a newly exposed identifier may conflict with an existing identifier.
  • A new module name may clash with an existing module name.

These are all standard caveats that apply when following PVP versioning. The point here is that, while LTS Haskell greatly reduces the amount of breakage that may occur, you still need to check your code before upgrading.

Intentional breaking changes

In some rare circumstances, a breaking API change may be included within an LTS major version series. This will be at the Stackage curators' discretion, but will be reserved for cases such as major bugs and security fixes. If a major version bump in a package is necessary, and the API change impact is deemed to be minor enough, it is possible for major version changes to be slipped in midstream.

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