GHC Hackathon

Simon Peyton-Jones simonpj at
Fri May 12 12:23:29 EDT 2006


A couple of weeks ago Simon M advertised the possibility that he and I
might run a "GHC Hackathon", in Portland, later this year prior to ICFP
(Sept 14-16 or thereabouts).  The idea is that we'd give an extended
tutorial about GHC's glorious innards.  Then we'd have some hacking time
in which you can pick something which you think GHC could do better, and
implement it, with Simon and me wandering causing trouble.  (E.g. look
at GHC's list of tasks, but
don't limit yourself to those.)

We're trying to find out whether anyone would come if we ran it.  At the
Haskell workshop in Tallinn, around 30 people put up their hand to say
they were interested.  So far, though, only 11 people responded on the
Wiki page.  That's on the borderline of whether it's worth doing the
preparation and setup it'd need.

So if you are the kind of person who's interesting in working on GHC
(and the mailing list activity suggests that your numbers have increased
sharply over the last 12 months), this message is to encourage you to go
to the Wiki page:

Please vote in the little (2-question!) survey, to indicate your
interest, and add any comments and suggestions of you own. 

Excerpts below.   Could be fun.



The 2006 GHC hackathon

At the 2005 Haskell workshop we were asked to consider running a "GHC
hackathon" around ICFP 2006. A surprisingly large number of people in
the room indicated that they'd be interested in coming to such a thing.
This Wiki page says what we have in mind, and asks you to indicate
whether you'd be likely to come, and what sort of meeting you'd like.
What we do will depend on what you say. 


GHC is used by lots of people, but its implementation is rather
over-centralised, even though GHC is a BSD-licensed, open-source
project. The biggest obstacle to more people getting involved is that
GHC is a big, and hence intimidating, system. The purpose of the GHC
hackathon is to give a tutorial in GHC's innards, plus time to work on
some projects in a context where there are plenty of people around to
help. The objective is to substantially broaden (more numbers) and
deepen (more confidence) the community of people who feel they know
enough to fix and enhance GHC. 

We'll suggest some projects, but you're welcome to come along with your
own wacky ideas or itches that you want to scratch, and work on them in
an environment with a high-bandwidth connection to developers who really
know the innards of GHC. You could work on something individual, or in
small groups. We anticipate all being in one room, or in a tight group
of rooms, so there'd be lots of informal interaction. 

Also there's a good chance it'll be fun :-) 


Galois has very kindly agreed to host the meeting. 


Zero. But you'll have to feed yourself. And you may have to bring a
laptop (capable of building GHC). 


We had in mind the following. 

One full day of tutorial from Simon & Simon about GHC's glorious
Then one or two days of hacking on projects. 

Timing: The Haskell workshop is on Sunday 17 Sept; ICFP starts the next
day. On Saturday is the ML and Erlang workshops. We propose to run the
GHC hackathon something like Thurs-Sat 14-16 Sept, so that people who
want to go to the ML workshop still can; but those who don't won't have
a blank day. 

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