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Revision as of 12:10, 6 March 2009

The cabal-install package provides the cabal command-line tool which simplifies the process of managing Haskell software by automating the fetching, configuration, compilation and installation of Haskell libraries and programs. Those packages must be prepared using Cabal and should be present at Hackage.


1 Usage

Once you have the tool installed then installing other packages easy. To install Cabal packages from Hackage use:

 cabal install foo

Other common variations:

 cabal install                     Package in the current directory
 cabal install foo                 Package from the hackage server
 cabal install foo-1.0             Specific version of a package
 cabal install 'foo < 2'           Constrained package version
 cabal install foo bar baz         Several packages at once
 cabal install foo --dry-run       Show what would be installed

Occasionally you need to update the list of available packages:

 cabal update

You can edit the cabal configuration file to set defaults:


Or on Windows the config file lives at:

 C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\cabal\config

2 Installation

2.1 Windows

Get a pre-built cabal.exe from:

You must put the cabal.exe in a directory that is on your %PATH%, for example C:\Program Files\Haskell\bin.

2.2 Unix

Download the latest cabal-install tarball from:

It includes a shell script that you can run to download and install the other dependencies.

Note this assumes you have the zlib C library and its header files installed. Those header files are usually in a native system package like zlib-devel (On debian-based systems it is zlib1g-dev). You should also have the Haskell packages parsec and network installed. If you installed GHC via your native system package manager then you may also need to use it to install these two packages. (On debian-based systems they are called libghc6-parsec-dev and libghc6-network-dev.)

 tar -zxf cabal-install-0.6.2.tar.gz 
 cd cabal-install-0.6.2

If this completes successfully you will have the cabal binary in ~/.cabal/bin. You should either add this directory to your $PATH or copy the cabal program to some location that is on your $PATH, eg ~/bin.

By default the cabal tool will install programs in ~/.cabal/bin. If you decided not to put this directory on your $PATH then you can get cabal to symlink binaries into another directory, eg ~/bin. To use this feature edit ~/.cabal/config and see the symlink-bindir field.

3 See also