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Upgrading MSYS2

When installing GHC on Windows, Stack will also install MSYS2. MSYS2 provides a Unix shell and environment, and is necessary for such things as running configure scripts. This section explains the steps required to upgrade the MSYS2 version used by Stack.

  1. Download latest installer(s) from MSYS2's website. Historically, there were separate installers for 32 bit (i686) and 64 bit (x86_64). On 17 May 2020, the MSYS2 project announced it did not plan to release any further i686 installers. An installer is an executable, versioned by a date in the format YYYYMMDD - for example, msys2-x86_64-20220503.exe.

  2. Run the installer and install to the default location (C:\msys64 for the 64 bit version; the location for the 32 bit version was C:\msys32). Do not use the installed version; it will create a .bash_history file if you do.

  3. Create an .tar.xz archive file for each relevant directory (eg C:\msys64). That is best done using the same 7z executable in Stack's 'programs' directory (stack path --programs) that will be used to extract files from the archive. That can be done in two steps: the first to create a .tar archive, and the second to create a .tar.xz archive. If the current working directory is Stack's 'programs' directory:

    ./7z a msys2-YYYYMMDD-x86_64.tar C:\msys64
    ./7z a msys2-YYYYMMDD-x86_64.tar.xz msys2-YYYYMMDD-x86_64.tar
    rm msys2-YYYYMMDD-x86_64.tar # Tidy up


    Previously, the advice was that creating the archive file required a version of tar that supported the compression option --xz. The version of tar that is supplied with Windows (C:\Windows\System32\tar.exe) does not support that option, but MSYS2 can supply a version that does (using its pacman tool). Using the existing Stack-supplied MSYS2, in PowerShell and located in a folder with write permissions (so the .tar.xz file can be created), it was advised to command:

    stack exec -- pacman -S tar
    stack exec -- tar cJf msys2-YYYYMMDD-x86_64.tar.xz C:\msys64

    However, in the case of msys2-20220503 that resulted in an archive that could not extracted on a terminal that did not have elevated rights ('Run as administrator') due to errors ERROR: Cannot create symbolic link : A required privilege is not held by the client.

  4. Test that the Stack-supplied 7z executable can extract the files in the archive that has been created without error:

    ./7z x msys2-YYYYMMDD-x86_64.tar.xz
    ./7z x msys2-YYYYMMDD-x86_64.tar
  5. Create a new release tagged and named msys2-YYYYMMDD in the master branch of the commercialhaskell/stackage-content GitHub repository, uploading the tarball file(s) into that release.

  6. Changes need to be made to the stackage-content/stack/stack-setup-2.yaml file, to switch over to using the newly uploaded files. For example (extract):

    # For upgrade instructions, see:
        version: "20200517"
        url: ""
        content-length: 79049224
        sha256: 9152ddf50c6bacfae33c1436338235f8db4b10d73aaea63adefd96731fb0bceb
        version: "20220503"
        url: ""
        content-length: 93835868
        sha256: c918f66e984f70add313ee3a5c5b101132cd93d5a3f8e3555e129e2d3dcb3718

    The content-length: key's value is the size of the file in bytes. It can be obtained from the Length field of the dir command. The sha256: key's value can be obtained from the command (in PowerShell):

    (Get-FileHash msys2-YYYYMMDD-x86_64.tar.xz -Algorithm SHA256).Hash.ToLower()

    The sha256: key only accepts lowercase hash results as values.

  7. The changed stack-setup-2.yaml file should be tested locally. This can be done by:

    • temporarily disabling the existing local copy of MSYS2 by changing the name of the msys2-YYYYMMDD.installed file in the stack path --programs directory; and

    • executing the command:

      stack setup --setup-info-yaml <path to local copy of stack-setup-2.yaml>

    If all is well, the command should proceed to download the updated version of MSYS2 that has been specified.

  8. Raise a pull request on commercialhaskell/stackage-contents for the changes to the locally-tested stack-setup-2.yaml file.