proposal: separate lists for ghc-cvs commits and ghc-dev chatter

Simon Peyton-Jones simonpj at
Thu Dec 6 13:29:01 CET 2012

My own understanding is this:

A GHC *user* is someone who uses GHC, but doesn't care how it is implemented.
A GHC *developer* is someone who wants to work on GHC itself in some way.

The current mailing lists:

* glasgow-haskell-users: for anything that a GHC *user* cares about
* glasgow-haskell-bugs: same, but with a focus on bug reporting
* cvs-ghc: for GHC *developers*

I don't think we want to confuse users with developers.  If we flood users with dev-related conversations they'll get fed up.

I don't see a very useful distinction between glasgow-haskell-users and glasgow-haskell-bugs.  The distinction was very important before we had a bug tracker, but it doesn't seem useful now.

I can see a perhaps-useful distinction between two *developer* lists
 (A) human email about implementation aspects of GHC
 (B) machine-generated email from buildbots etc

I rather think that (A) could usefully include Trac ticket creation and Git commit messages, since both are really human-generated.  So that would leave only buildbot logs on (B).

So I would be content to
  * Abolish glasgow-haskell-bugs in favour of glasgow-haskell-users
  * Split out cvs-ghc into two in some way; details to be agreed.

But for me the issue is not a pressing one.  


| -----Original Message-----
| From: glasgow-haskell-users-bounces at [mailto:glasgow-haskell-
| users-bounces at] On Behalf Of Austin Seipp
| Sent: 06 December 2012 03:21
| To: Carter Schonwald
| Cc: GHC Users List
| Subject: Re: proposal: separate lists for ghc-cvs commits and ghc-dev
| chatter
| I think we already mostly have this. The separation (remembering
| something I read off Trac I think,) was something like:
|  * cvs-ghc mailing list: Prospective patches, automatically generated
| build/commit emails, etc.
|  * glasgow-haskell-users mailing list: Developers and users of GHC
| discussing issues of design, process, bugs or fielding questions et
| cetera
| Doing some counting: looking at my email (which is gmail,) I have the
| last 100 most recent email *threads* open from cvs-ghc. The 100th dates
| to Nov 30th. I count about ~7 instances of non-build-or-commit-generated
| discussions in this timeframe (that is,
| ~7 email threads where the content wasn't just a build email, but a
| follow up, or it was actually it's own thread.) Almost all of these
| instances are related to patches or patches that were committed and some
| talk happened about them. One (maybe two) were about build/test
| failures.
| In contrast, for glasgow-haskell-users, for the past 100 threads: the
| 100th thread dates to July 12th. However, the structure of all these
| conversations is far, far more rich: just about every single thread
| contains far more discussion, almost 100% of them containing at least
| 2-3 emails. Some go as far as 20-70 emails deep, and many have several
| handfuls of responses. This is just for the past few months but I've
| been subscribed to both for years, so I'd say that sounds about right.
| From this, I would infer that most of the interesting discussion does,
| in fact, happen on glasgow-haskell-users. There are perhaps fewer topics
| at a less regular pace, but it's really here. In contrast, cvs-ghc is
| mostly autogenerated stuff regular developers etc care about, with the
| sprinkling of discussion, almost all of it for patches or failures it
| seems.
| The thing is, I would think that most people who are trying to get into
| routinely hacking on GHC would want to be subscribed to both anyway.
| Personally I think commits are the most valuable asset I can see at a
| glance. But Johan has discussed having Jenkins performance regressions
| sent out in light of the recent performance Tsar work, and (some of) the
| bots do report success nightly here. So for people who aren't submitting
| a benign patch or doing one-off-work, you are probably at least going to
| want that stuff on your radar. But even just looking at the work others
| are doing can give you ideas, or give you familiarity with something
| (it's even exciting to read patches
| sometimes!)
| Overall I think the current separation is actually pretty good. Most of
| the real meaty questions are asked here, and the developers routinely
| sit on cvs-ghc to talk about patches or build failures and the like.
| However, I do agree that sometimes you can miss out on interesting
| discussion that happens there. Perhaps the rules could be changed so
| that:
| * cvs-ghc is only for automatically-generated content like build emails,
| regressions, and commits.
| * glasgow-haskell-users is for everything else, including patch review
| (which also happens on trac) or discussing failures/regressions.
| I don't know how attached I am to the current scheme, but perhaps this
| sounds better to some, and I thought I could offer .02c having been
| listening here for a while. :)
| On Wed, Dec 5, 2012 at 8:31 PM, Carter Schonwald
| <carter.schonwald at> wrote:
| > hey all,
| > It seems to me (and i've certainly heard other people echo this
| > sentiment)
| > that: ghc dev chatting gets buried in the huge volume of commit +
| > build report emails, and that creates (perhaps) another barrier to
| > involvement in ghc dev at the hobbyist (rather than part time/full
| time ) scale?
| >
| > So my question for the community (and of course current ghc devs )
| >
| > 1) do others agree that theres value in separating the two?
| >
| > 2) would this just be another use  of the ghc-users list or would it
| > be worth having a ghc-dev list?
| >
| > 3) most importantly, would the folks actively involved in ghc dev be
| > willing/able to  do so?
| >
| > That said, it does seem like the majority of the interesting ghc-dev
| > chatter is on Trac issues, which is a good thing, though theres lots
| > of interesting wee nuggets buried on the ghc-cvs list intermittently
| >
| > I hope this question makes sense for y'all!
| > -Carter
| >
| > _______________________________________________
| > Glasgow-haskell-users mailing list
| > Glasgow-haskell-users at
| >
| >
| --
| Regards,
| Austin
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