[Haskell-cafe] Aim Of Haskell

Claus Reinke claus.reinke at talk21.com
Wed Dec 13 21:14:46 EST 2006

> well, if Sun hadn't have released a version of smalltalk with a funny
> c like syntax, you might have seen some interesting developments in
> the mid 90's

yes, perhaps. but now that funny smalltalk is open source, the self
team has been released from indenture (after Scheme and Self
people, Sun is known to have hired at least one Haskeller;-), and 
the strongtalk vm is open source. I'm still a fan of the old ideas in 
that community, although I no longer expect much from that language 
itself (it still has features that are fundamentally lacking in Haskell, but 
Haskell has at least as many features that are fundamentally lacking in 
Squeak, say; and I tend to the conclusion that it would be easier to 
start from the Haskell side if one wanted the best of both worlds).

but the people who were behind smalltalk are still up to wonderful 
stuff, just off the mainstream (for instance, anyone interested in one 
possible future wrt to user interfaces ought to read some of the 
papers on the croquet project 
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croquet_project> ;
and don't let yourself be fooled by the screenshots - there is much
more thought behind that than behind the run-of-the-mill virtual 3d
distributed reflective live-programmable multi-user collaborative 

but I wasn't saying that there are no other languages with similar
convergence effects. I was suggesting that there are few, very few
such languages, especially considering the flood of languages in 
both the academic and the pragmatic camps. being a member of
these illustrous few, Haskell has become a conduit for exchange 
of ideas and problems between the two camps, giving it a distinct
advantage over most of its contemporaries. 

and while it may be true that the effects have only become widely 
noticable not too long ago, the development has been going on 
for a long time (one example: Conal Elliot's ideas for Fran had 
pragmatic needs that used to drive new developments in Hugs/
GHC many years ago). and from watching the development 
over many years, I have the feeling that the curve is exponential
(but perhaps I'm just channelling Kurzweil;-).

so even if we are still near the beginning of that curve, perhaps,
in the not too distant future, when some group of clever folks 
starts a project as interesting as Croquet, they'll use Haskell 
rather than Squeak?

for me, the aim of Haskell is to be an enabler for such developments,
in both academia and industry, and especially where the two come

but let's wait and see, shall we?-)


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