Manuel M T Chakravarty chak at cse.unsw.edu.au
Tue Jun 1 09:12:52 EDT 2004

On Tue, 2004-06-01 at 19:31, Ashley Yakeley wrote:
> In article <1085634303.3012.107.camel at JustTesting.cse.unsw.edu.au>,
>  Manuel M T Chakravarty <chak at cse.unsw.edu.au> wrote:
> > On Fri, 2004-05-21 at 10:07, John Sharley wrote:
> > > I note this remark on the Microsoft Research site
> > > (http://research.microsoft.com/projects/ilx/fsharp.aspx)
> > > <quote>
> > > Purely functional languages like Haskell are excellent within certain
> > > niches, but unfortunately some simple programming exercises can quickly turn
> > > into problems that require a PhD. to solve.
> > > </quote>
> > > 
> > > Are the Microsoft Research people working on GHC or anyone else on this list
> > > also of this opinion? If so, why?
> > 
> > This is a clear case of FUD:
> > 
> >   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FUD
> I agree. It's been changed now, however:
>     "Purely functional languages like Haskell are excellent 
>     within certain niches, but non-trivial problems exist 
>     with language interoperability between lazy and strict 
>     languages."
> Given your work on FFI, would you care to comment? I wonder if F# really 
> is as obviously preferable to a "Haskell#" as they claim?

It would help if they would detail what these supposedly non-trivial
problems are.  If you look at the FFI Addendum, you will see that
Haskell's default evaluation strategy is barely mentioned at all in the
document.  This is, because - beyond the issues of evaluation order that
the IO monad takes care of - laziness is nothing that interferes with
the FFI.  There is, however, a critical design decision involved: the
Haskell FFI emphasises marshalling in Haskell land.  Nevertheless, this
design decision has been made due to good reasons beyond laziness; see
the rationale at the beginning of Section 5 of the FFI Addendum for

Generally, phrases such as "XYZ is excellent within certain niches"
sounds like cheap propaganda to me.  If you replace Haskell by Linux, I
am sure you'll find similar statements on other Microsoft web pages ;-)


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