08/05/2016

Relocatable Cabal sandboxes

Cabal 1.22 has preliminary support for relocatable packages, which is actually undocumented because I’m a bad patch writer.

Regardless, this preliminary support for relocatable packages partially enables relocatable sandboxes. What’s this partial part you might ask? Well, only the `.cabal-sandbox` directory is relocatable, not the sandbox config file. So basically the part that takes the longest time to build is relocatable. So, how do you go about the creating such a relocatable `.cabal-sandbox `directory? easy:

  • `cd <project_dir>`
  • `cabal sandbox init`
  • cabal install – dependencies-only – enable-relocatable

The created `.cabal-sandbox` directory is relocatable anywhere on the machine, and across machines if ghc is installed in the same directory. Even dynamically linked libraries will work on Linux and OS X because the libraries will use relative RPATHs.

All that’s left to having truly relocatable sandboxes, is to make the .config files also relocatable. And I should write some documentation for the next Cabal release.

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