Notes from Ben's "contribute to ghc" discussion

Matthew Pickering matthewtpickering at
Sun Sep 25 00:37:06 UTC 2016

I don't understand this fascination with Rust the Haskell community
has. The two projects are very different. As you say in the post, GHC
is a much older project and as a result has much less hype around it.
Rust is the definition of a "hot new thing" and so it makes sense that
there are more contributors. I am sure that github contributes to some
contributors but this discussion is pointless unless this common
assertion is put into context.

Not only this but mozilla has many more full-time rust developers to
facilitate the process. I couldn't find the exact number so I will
avoid quoting it but GHC has only 1 full time developer. This is a
significant increase in man power and also leaves time for the ability
to more closely manage and cultivate the community of contributors. We
don't have that luxury.

You also say why github is an unsuitable tool for such a project. The
fact that they have had to develop their own sophisticated bots in
order to deal with the issue tracker is just indicative that github
doesn't provide the flexibility necessary. The new projects interface
does look more promising but it is lightyears behind what phab
provides. Github is good for small projects as the interface is
optimised for them but I don't believe that it scales well.

The essential argument seems to be that moving to github would "solve
all the problems with GHC development" but its seems to be based on
false premises. In order for this discussion to move forward it seems
that we could all do with vocalising the issues that we perceive to
make sure that we're all working on the same page. It doesn't appear
to be the case at the moment.

And some comments inline:

> I work with someone that has contributed to GHCJS more than once, but
> will not go anywhere near GHC. This is almost entirely because of the
> opaque process.

What is opaque about the process? What does he want to contribute but
feels unable to?

> Putting aside Github's new code review functionality (which seems fine
> but isn't anything terribly impressive), there are lots of ways to
> skin the code review cat without putting new contributors in a
> typo-fix PR ghetto.

What does this comment mean? What is a "type-fix PR ghetto"?

It seems that you are suggesting moving to github but then using a
different service to do code review?


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