[Haskell-beginners] Q 1 of 2: How stable is Haskell?

Hans Georg Schaathun georg+haskell at schaathun.net
Fri May 31 08:59:11 CEST 2013

> On 30/05/13 23:50, Gan Uesli Starling wrote:
> > As compared against Python and Perl, how stable is Haskell?

I must say, I find the comparison odd.  The transition from
imperative to declarative programming must be much more mind-bogging
than figuring out how to deal with instability.  Surely, there
are both more and less stable options within each paradigm.

On Fri, May 31, 2013 at 12:23:00AM +0100, Mateusz Kowalczyk wrote:
> I think you're actually asking ``how much does Haskell change between
> revisions'' and not how stable it is. If you're looking for a language
> where your program will work with a compiler that's 5 years old or 5
> years from now, this probably isn't it. It's not like programs break
> daily because of the changes but I believe there is no hesitation to
> change stuff because some program from 5 years ago might no longer
> compile.

It may be useful to distinguish between stability of the language and
stability of the libraries.  Talking about libraries, you are probably

In fact, I have tried to install a number of libraries from hackage
recently, and only about half of them succeeded.  The typical problem
with the others seem to be changes in their dependencies.  Typical
age is about 3-6 years, I think.

Python however, is not even stable in terms of core language.

Although library evolution can also break your program, such 
breakage is generally easier to repair.

The problem for haskell, of course, is that the community is
too small to sustain a standard library of the extent seen for
python or java.  Hence one relies much more on beta versions
and stale libraries.  That does not make haskell any less stable;
it is a very different kind of problem.

:-- Hans Georg

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