[Haskell-cafe] Definition of the Haskell standard library

Chris Smith cdsmith at twu.net
Mon Jul 30 11:19:26 EDT 2007

Can someone clarify what's going on with the standard library in 

As of right now, I can download, say, GHC from haskell.org/ghc and get a 
set of libraries with it.  I can visit 
http://haskell.org/ghc/docs/latest/html/libraries/, linked from the 
haskell.org home page, and see descriptions of all of those libraries.  
I can build with --make (or if I'm feeling masochistic, add several 
lines of -package options) and it works.  That's all great.

I've seen some stuff lately on -libraries and this list indicating that 
there's an effort to change this.  People asking whether something 
should be included in the standard library are being told that there is 
no standard library really.  I'm hearing that the only distinction that 
matters is "used by GHC" or "not used by GHC", and that being on hackage 
is as official as it gets.

Am I misunderstanding?
Is there something awesome about Hackage that I'm not seeing?

I hope one of those two is the case.  Otherwise, there's a serious 
mistake being made here.  Having a web site where people can download 
any of hundreds of independent libraries is not the same thing as having 
a good standard library for the language.  I don't want to see the day 
when setting up Haskell involves a day-long effort of figuring out what 
libraries to download and install from Hackage, and in what order to do 
it to satisfy all the dependencies, and new Haskellers poring over web 
sites for the thousandth time before realizing that so-and-so's GUI 
library hasn't actually been touched since they finished their class 
project in 1998 and doesn't build with the latest version of Qt or 

Chris Smith

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