Birthday greetings

Simon Peyton Jones simonpj at
Tue Jan 19 00:22:00 UTC 2016

Dear GHC devs (all 600+ of you),
It’s my birthday (well it was a few minutes ago, but I became distracted by #11379).   I am 58.  GHC is alive and well and, happily, so am I.
However, of late I have found that my GHC inbox, which I used to be able to keep under control, just grows and grows.  Mostly this is good; it reflects the fact that GHC has lots of users, that they vigorously expand up to (and often well beyond) the limits of what GHC can do, and that increasingly GHC a lot of developers contributing actively to its code base.
But it has its downsides.   I used to be able to keep up with the Trac and email traffic.  Trusty techniques like “delete anything mentioning ‘dynamic linking’ or ‘Unicode’” would cut the traffic in half.   But that doesn’t work any more.   Too many interesting things are happening.
So this email is to say three things:

·         First, thank you to the increasingly large number of you who are contributing actively to GHC’s development.   GHC is a big system, and no one person can be on top of all of it.   GHC no longer depends on one of two people: it depends on all of you.  You know who you are – thank you.

·         Second, apologies to anyone who is stuck waiting for me.   Although there are large chunks of GHC that I know little about, there are other parts that are dear to my heart: the renamer, typechecker, Core, optimisation, and so on.  I write code most days and enjoy it.  So I do want to continue to play a very active supporting and reviewing role, as well as authoring, in these parts.  But I’m conscious that doing so puts me in a lot of critical paths.

Here’s a suggestion: if you are blocked on something from me, email me directly.   By all means copy ghc-devs if you want others in the conversation, but make it clear that you need my input.  That’ll work better than putting up a Phab review, or a Trac comment, and hoping I’ll see it.  I probably will, but it won’t stick out from other 20 Phab reviews that I would like to do.  I don’t promise to turn everything around fast, but it’ll increase the chances!

·         Third, in a vain attempt to at least keep some kind of handle on the state of play, I keep an ill-organised page of tickets that I’m interested in<>.  A cursory glance will confirm that there is zero chance that I will attend to them all.    So please do pick up some of them and dig in.  Not many are trivial; most require some investigation, some design work, some discussion of alternatives, etc.  But most of them would benefit from love and attention.  If you are looking for suggestions for things to do, that might be a good place to start.

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