[Haskell-cafe] Re: When is waitForProcess not necessary?

Dave Bayer bayer at math.columbia.edu
Fri Aug 3 10:51:43 EDT 2007

Bryan O'Sullivan <bos <at> serpentine.com> writes:
> Pardon me while I veer off-topic, but you could also use Pandoc to do 
> this.  No forking required.
> http://sophos.berkeley.edu/macfarlane/pandoc/

What I'm doing is neither Haskell nor Markdown specific; I allow any HTML
markup filter that plays nice with the direct HTML I also write (a
restriction I could easily drop), and I cooperate with language-specific
library doc generators such as Haddock.

For all the fuss one reads about Haskell-not-as-fast-as-C, it's amusing how
sluggish Markdown.pl is. Someone should write a small BSD'd Haskell version
as example code for programming in Haskell. I may, although I can't see
myself writing anything called "SmartyPants".

I admire pandoc and I allow its use as an alternative to Markdown.pl, as
an external command. I don't want to link it into my code because

* It is GPL'd and I'm writing BSD'd code
* It is a library that does not come with GHC.
* It is twice the length of my code so far.

The Hackage/Cabal universe takes the perspective that one is a committed
Haskell user, and one wants the same diversity of tools enjoyed, say, in
the Perl universe. When one uses Haskell to write a tool whose use is
standalone and not Haskell-specific, there's a very good chance that
someone will come along and try to build it for a new platform, installing
and using GHC for the first time in order to do so. The barrier to entry is
easily doubled if one has to also figure out how to obtain libraries that
do not come automatically with GHC. Plenty of us have the moxie to install
a package like GHC for a single use, because we've heard that "hackers" can
do such things easily, but we don't really want to join each treehouse.

I've installed versions of, say, Perl, Python, Ruby, even if there was a
possibly lame installation already present. Still, their package systems
generally left me fuming. I know my audience; we mathematicians can be
smart and incredibly stupid at the same time.

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