"Excuse me, I think this i my stop..." - Resigning from the Platform

Simon Peyton Jones simonpj at microsoft.com
Tue Oct 13 09:39:58 UTC 2015


You have given a lot to the Haskell community through your steady leadership of the Haskell Platform, and I want to add my personal thank-you for that.  The Haskell community flourishes only because volunteers step up to the (not always comfortable) tasks of developing consensus and then actually getting the job done.  You have done this brilliantly – thank you.

I know that your concerns reflect those of many.   In the olden days when Haskell was a university research language, we could change it whenever we wanted and no one minded. But now it is used for lots of things, and people rightly complain about changes.  Moreover, thoughtful and intelligent people differ in their judgement about what is and is not a good change.

These are nice problems to have: they reflect a large, passionate, committed community of people who care about the language, its ecosystem, and its users.

But of course they are still challenging problems!  There is a genuine tension between innovation and change (which make Haskell so dynamic), and dependability and stability (which make it useful).

I’m sure we will not always get it right.  But it is my earnest hope that by respecting genuine differences of judgement, by being willing to see the world through others’ eyes, by being willing to accept a choice that is not our own – in short, by expressing true respect in our dealings with each other – we will be able to work together on a journey in which none of us knows the True Path.

So I’m very sorry to lose you as the driver of the HP train, but do hope you won’t get off the train altogether!

With true thanks


From: ghc-devs [mailto:ghc-devs-bounces at haskell.org] On Behalf Of Mark Lentczner
Sent: 13 October 2015 04:09
To: haskell-platform at projects.haskell.org; Haskell Libraries; ghc-devs at haskell.org
Subject: "Excuse me, I think this i my stop..." - Resigning from the Platform

I think this is the right time for me to exit:

The truth is, I still can't bring myself to use a version of Haskell post the Foldable-Traversable-aPocalypse, let alone some future Haskell after the changes now in the works. My personal machines are all still 7.8. My personal projects are all pre-FTP. The Haskell I love to code in, the Haskell I'm passionate about, the Haskell I've advocated for real world use, and the Haskell I like to teach, is 7.8, pre-FTP.

It's not that I'm dead set against change and evolution in a language, or even breaking changes. But FTP and beyond are changes that have lost the balance that Haskell had between abstraction and clarity, between elaborate and practical engineering. I don't see any restraint going forward, so I'm getting off the train.

This puts me in an odd position with respect to Haskell Platform: I find myself building the Platform for a version of Haskell that I don't use. This isn't healthy for either the Platform or me. Hence, I'm resigning as release manager.

I am sad because I believed that Haskell's path to much wider adoption was within reach. Now, especially with the ramping up of the Haskell Prime committee, which seems preordained to codify FTP and beyond into standard, we are approaching our Algol 68 moment: Building a major language revision with less opportunity than it's predecessor.

I'll still see you 'round at meet-ups and conferences. I'll just be coding with an older accent.

- Mark "mzero" Lentczner

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