[Haskell-cafe] Re: Hugs vs GHC (again) was: Re: Some randomnewbiequestions

Simon Marlow simonmar at microsoft.com
Mon Jan 10 12:12:44 EST 2005

On 08 January 2005 08:09, Aaron Denney wrote:

> On 2005-01-07, Simon Marlow <simonmar at microsoft.com> wrote:
>>  - Can you use (some encoding of) Unicode for your Haskell source
>>    files? I don't think this is true in any Haskell compiler right
>> now. 
> I assume this won't be be done until the next one is done...

Not necessarily; GHC doesn't use the standard IO library for reading
source files.

>>  - Can you do String I/O in some encoding of Unicode?  No Haskell
>>    compiler has support for this yet, and there are design decisions
>>    to be made.  Some progress has been made on an experimental
>>    prototype (see recent discussion on this list).
> Many of the easy ways to do this that I've heard proposed make the
> current hacks for binary IO fail.

Making hacks fail isn't necessarily a bad thing :-)

> IMHO, we really, really, need a
> standard, supported way to do binary IO.

I agree, but I think it should be part of a larger redesign of the IO
library.  The streams proposal includes binary I/O, by the way.

I'm not keen to provide binary IO on top of the existing IO library, and
then to have Unicode as a layer on top of that.  Performance will be
terrible.  It needs to be designed properly from the ground up.

> If I can read in and output
> octets, then I can implement unicode handling on top of that.  In fact
> it would let a bunch of the proposed ideas for unicode support can
> be implemented in pure haskell and have API details hashed out and
> polished.
> For unix, there are couple different tacks one could take.  The locale
> system is standard, and does work, but is ugly and a pain to work
> with. In particular, it's another (set of) global variables.  And
> what do you do with a character not expressible in the current locale?
> I'd like to possibility of different character sets for different
> files, for example.

Not a problem.  Have you looked at the streams proposal?


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