Cabal (software)

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Original author(s)Isaac Potoczny-Jones
Developer(s)Duncan Coutts
Initial releaseJanuary 2005; 15 years ago (2005-01)
Stable release[1] / April 2020; 7 months ago (2020-04)
Repository Edit this at Wikidata
Written inHaskell
Operating systemAny Unix-like, Microsoft Windows
Size0.4 megabytes
Available inEnglish
TypeApplication level package manager

The Haskell Cabal (common architecture for building applications and libraries) aids in the packaging and distribution of software packages. It is contained in the Haskell Platform.


Cabal has been introduced to simplify packaging of Haskell software and modules[citation needed]. It was added to the Glasgow Haskell Compiler version 6.4 as default package manager,[2] along GHC's internal manager ghc-pkg. The actual binary cabal[3] and the library Cabal[4] are developed in different packages.

Throughout its development it has gained additional features, such as sandboxes[citation needed], which allow to escape the so-called Cabal hell (see below).


Cabal packages provide a standard set of metadata and build process; thus, it is possible to develop tools to upload Cabal packages to the CPAN-like community repository of software, Hackage, or even allow for automated downloading, compilation, and installation of desired packages from Hackage.[3]


Since Cabal uses a global package repository by default, version conflicts in dependencies can lead to Cabal hell, a state where certain packages cannot get installed without re-installing already existing ones and therefore breaking the other packages.[5][6]

Although version 1.18 introduced sandboxes and improved this dependency hell,[7] non-proper use of sandboxes could still lead to problems, since packages on Hackage might not build or version boundaries on dependencies were too loose.[citation needed] As a result, a more stable (but less bleeding edge) variant of Hackage called Stackage has been created. [8] It was later extended with Haskell LTS[citation needed] and the tool stack,[9][10] which doesn't share its problems.


  1. ^ "Getting The Haskell Cabal". Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  2. ^ "1.4. Release notes for version 6.4". GHC 6.4 user manual. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  3. ^ a b "cabal-install: The command-line interface for Cabal and Hackage". Hackage. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  4. ^ "Cabal: A framework for packaging Haskell software". Hackage. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  5. ^ "Cabal/Survival - HaskellWiki". HaskellWiki. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  6. ^ "How we might abolish Cabal Hell". Well-Typed - The Haskell Consultants. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  7. ^ "[Haskell-cafe] ANN: Cabal v1.18.0 released". Haskell-cafe mailing list. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  8. ^ "Stackage Server". FP Complete. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  9. ^ "ANNOUNCING: first public beta of stack". FP Complete. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  10. ^ "What do Haskellers want? Over a thousand tell us". Package management with cabal is the single worst aspect of using Haskell. Asked if improvements to package management would make a difference to their future choice of Haskell for a project, 38% said it would be "crucial" and a further 29% said it would be "important". Comments connected cabal with words like hell, pain, awful, sucks, frustrating, and hideous. Only this topic showed such grave dissatisfaction.

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