[Haskell-cafe] Channel9 Interview: Software Composability and theFu ture of Languages

Kirsten Chevalier catamorphism at gmail.com
Sun Jan 28 12:19:40 EST 2007

On 1/28/07, Chris Kuklewicz <haskell at list.mightyreason.com> wrote:
> > I think many of the users of Haskell forget that there are a lot of
> > people out there who are not career academics working with pure
> > mathematics day-in and day-out.
> GHC seems to be developed by several people at Microsoft Research.  They are not
> career academics.  I am less familiar with the other compilers.

There's no need for the "seems to be". The excellent "History of Haskell" paper:
discusses the history of every extant Haskell compiler, in section 9.
If I'm reading correctly, every one of these compilers (except
possibly for jhc, it's not clear) began as an academic research
project at a university -- that includes GHC, which was developed by
academics at the University of Glasgow (hence the "G" in "GHC"), and
it was only later that some of them moved to MSR.

Be careful about conflating "academic" with "not practical". It's true
that academics haven't always had time to explain the useful,
practical techniques they discover in ways that are understandable by
programmers who don't have formal mathematical backgrounds (and be
careful about conflating "having a PhD" with "having mathematical
background or experience", too). In the same way that programmers have
jobs to do and thus have limited time to puzzle out new languages,
academics have jobs that don't tend to reward them for spending time
making those puzzles clearer to practitioners. As a challenge to
everyone posting on this thread: rather than excoriating academia for
its sins, why not start creating the documentation (or tutorials or
libraries or applications) you wish to see?


Kirsten Chevalier* chevalier at alum.wellesley.edu *Often in error, never in doubt
"No one's actually said 'O great America, thank you for saving us from the evil
communist bug-eyed aliens, and, can we have fries with that?' yet have they?"
-- Debra Boyask

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