If you're like me, you want to contribute to GHC and even have a few small tasks in mind, but since you're an occasional contributor you don't pull, build, and validate it every day. Thus when you come back to it periodically, getting it validating again can be a chore. For example, most recently it failed on my RHEL 6 work machine and Mac OS 10.8 laptop, but worked on my Ubuntu machine.
Given the complexity and fragility of the process, it would be good for us to have more standardized (hermetic) environments so that people can (1) get started easily and (2) reproduce eachother's build outcomes.
The idea of using a VM image for this purpose was discussed back in 2009. But it seems not to have happened. To get things moving in this direction, I came up with a script that bootstraps a working GHC development repository inside a VirtualBox VM running Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (either server or desktop worked for me).
The following Bash script is all there is to it:
Once I figure out how to shrink down an Ubuntu VM to a reasonable size I'll post a VM for download, or publish an Amazon Machine Image (AMI). Or, if someone knows Chef and would like to help me convert the above to a Chef recipe, that would be better than a bash script.