When trying to install mysql-simple on GHC 7.8.3 with cabal on Ubuntu Linux 12.04, the pcre-light dependency failed with the following error:

mysql-simple- depends on pcre-light- which failed to install.
pcre-light- failed during the configure step. The exception was:
ExitFailure 1

Thankfully since I had come across the same problem before on my Mac, the solution was an easy one.

Install the pcre-light package on linux with:

sudo apt-get install libpcre3 libpcre3-dev

Enjoy! :)