[Haskell-cafe] Re: Go Haskell! -> array libraries

Andrew Coppin andrewcoppin at btinternet.com
Sat Nov 29 04:37:58 EST 2008

Lennart Augustsson wrote:
> But I don't want Perl, I want a well designed language and well
> designed libraries.
> I think it's find to let libraries proliferate, but at some point you
> also need to step back and abstract.

I agree.

> On Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 9:46 PM, Don Stewart <dons at galois.com> wrote:
>> andrewcoppin:
>>> What *I* propose is that somebody [you see what I did there?] should sit
>>> down, take stock of all the multitudes of array libraries, what features
>>> they have, what obvious features they're missing, and think up a good
>>> API from scratch. Once we figure out what the best way to arrange all
>>> this stuff is, *then* we attack the problem of implementing it for real.
>>> It seems lots of people have written really useful code, but we need to
>>> take a step back and look at the big picture here before writing any
>>> more of it.
>> No.
>> My view would be to let the free market of developers decide what is
>> best. No bottlenecks -- there's too many Haskell libraries already (~1000 now).
>> And this approach has yielded more code than ever before, more libraries
>> than ever before, and library authors are competing.
>> So let the market decide. We're a bazaar, not a cathedral.

I find this kind of attitude disturbing.

Are you seriously asserting that it's "bad" for people to stop and think 
about their designs before building? That it's "bad" for people to get 
together and coordinate their efforts? Would you really prefer each and 
every developer to reinvent the wheel until we have 50,000 equivilent 
but slightly different wheel implementations? Certainly you seem 
obsessed with the notion that "more packages on Hackage == better". Well 
in my book, quantity /= quality. (The latter being vastly more important 
than the former - while admittedly far harder to measure objectively.) I 
would far prefer to see one well-written library that solves the problem 
properly than see 25 incompatible libraries that all solve small 
fragments of the problem poorly. In the latter case, there will be no 
"competition" between libraries; everybody will just give up and not use 
*any* of them. You _can_ have too much choice!

I really hope I'm not the only person here who sees it this way...

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