haskell/bytestring stalled?

Simon Jakobi simon.jakobi at googlemail.com
Thu Dec 19 16:20:28 UTC 2019

Hi Herbert,

I apologize for the overly harsh and accusatory tone in my last email.
After looking through the existing PRs and issues, I was admittedly
somewhat disappointed over the current situation with bytestring
issues and PRs, but I shouldn't have expressed my feelings in this

Also, thanks a lot for responding so quickly today to my many comments
on issues and PRs.

To be clear, I'm not interested in putting blame on you or Duncan or
anyone else. I do however strongly believe that bytestring needs a
more responsive maintainer:

1. Contributors IMO deserve to get a response within weeks or ideally days.

2. bytestring users (and that transitively includes all GHC users)
could benefit massively if some of the current PRs were finally
merged. For example in [#175], Sylvain Henry reports improvements of
**11%** for some compilation tasks when he used the PR to build GHC.

And I admittedly don't want to ask you, Herbert, to lead the effort of
clearing up the maintenance backlog in bytestring. Of course, _any_
Haskell project you're involved in benefits from your massive
experience! However, I feel that since your involvement is so crucial
in so many other essential projects in the Haskell ecosystem, if you
would shift your focus towards bytestring, these other projects would
suffer! I also believe that projects like cabal or Hackage need your
domain knowledge more dearly than bytestring does. So to ask you to
allocate more time to bytestring, would feel a bit like a zero-sum
game, or possibly a negative-sum game.

A second, more personal reason, why I would prefer to see a different
maintainer for bytestring, is your preference for coordinating things
in private communication. The many PRs and issues in the bytestring
project, and this email thread demonstrate that there are a lot of
people who would like to be involved in improving bytestring. Private
coordination would exclude most of them, and make it more difficult to
make use of all the help that this project currently needs. I
understand that your preference for private communication is related
to your experiences with previous discussions over Haskell projects,
and I am sorry that it has come so far, but I believe that a more open
and transparent style of communication is more healthy.

So, while I'm very grateful for your work on bytestring, and while I
hope that you stay involved in the project, I hope that that someone
else can take over official maintainer duties.

Now I am not sure who could take on that job. Clearly we need someone
whom Duncan trusts. That's why I wonder whether someone involved in
the performance work on GHC could help. Ultimately I don't think that
their time involvement would need to be very high – good judgment and
responsiveness seem more important to me. I'm CC'ing the ghc-devs
list, hoping that someone with the right experience and availability
would come forward.


[#175] https://github.com/haskell/bytestring/pull/175#issuecomment-567233984

More information about the ghc-devs mailing list