[Haskell-cafe] Ideas

Hugh Perkins hughperkins at gmail.com
Mon Aug 27 05:42:18 EDT 2007

On 8/26/07, Stefan O'Rear <stefanor at cox.net> wrote:
> Actually, we aren't.  You might not have been able to tell, but a core
> goal of our community is to stay small and avoid success at all costs;
> our language is not practical, not designed to be practical, and if it
> ever becomes practical, it will have done so only by a terrible streak
> of bad luck.  Remember, success breeds inertia, and inertia would ruin
> our fundamental goal of being an agile research language.

Yes!  We agree :-)

Can someone please do something about the horrible paragraph at the
end of this page here:
http://www.haskell.org/complex/why_does_haskell_matter.html , which is
what inspired my rather passive/agressive attitude to the Haskell
community ;-)

"Another reaso for the lack of Haskell, and other functional
languages, in mainstream use is that programming languages are rarely
thought of as tools (even though they are). To most people their
favorite programming language is much more like religion - it just
seems unlikely that any other language exists that can get the job
done better and faster.
There is a paper by Paul Graham called Beating the Averages describing
his experience using Lisp, another functional language, for an upstart
company. In it he uses an analogy which he calls "The Blub Paradox".
It goes a little something like this:
If a programmer's favorite language is Blub, which is positioned
somewhere in the middle of the "power spectrum", he can most often
only identify languages that are lower down in the spectrum. He can
look at COBOL and say "How can anyone get anything done in that
language, it doesn't have feature x", x being a feature in Blub.
However, this Blub programmer has a harder time looking the other way
in the spectrum. If he examines languages that are higher up in the
power spectrum, they will just seem "weird" because the Blub
programmer is "thinking in Blub" and can not possibly see the uses for
various features of more powerful languages. It goes without saying
that this inductively leads to the conclusion that to be able to
compare all languages you'll need to position yourself at the top of
the power spectrum. It is my belief that functional languages, almost
by definition, are closer to the top of the power spectrum than
imperative ones.
So languages can actually limit a programmers frame of thought. If all
you've ever programmed is Blub, you may not see the limitations of
Blub - you may only do that by switching to another level which is
more powerful."

The author of this paragraph fails to realize that the Blub Paradox
cut both ways ;-)

Anyway, there I've said it, so that's out of the way perhaps :-D

More information about the Haskell-Cafe mailing list