[Haskell-cafe] Compilers

Jason Dagit dagit at codersbase.com
Sat Nov 29 06:03:23 EST 2008

On Sat, Nov 29, 2008 at 2:41 AM, John Meacham <john at repetae.net> wrote:

> On Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 07:41:42PM -0800, Don Stewart wrote:
> > john:
> > > On Wed, Nov 26, 2008 at 07:20:12PM -0800, Jason Dagit wrote:
> > > > I spoke with the author of the fork a bit in IRC around the time it
> happened
> > > > and my understanding is that:
> > > > 1) John sternly objects to using cabal as the build system for JHC
> > >
> > > This is a fairly silly reason to fork a project, especially jhc, for a
> > > number of reasons.
> >
> > One of the reasons though, for the branching, is that the potential
> > developers, who all have Haskell toolchains, couldn't do:
> >
> >     $ cabal install jhc
> >
> > Then now can, but have to write 'lhc' instead of 'jhc'.
> >
> > We've probably just increased the jhc "alpha user" base 10 fold. Hooray!
> Except that for all those systems that can use cabal, ./configure &&
> make install would have already worked perfectly. So in actuality my
> alpha user base drops 50-fold.
> Also, I am not so sure who these people are who are willing to type 10
> characters to try out jhc, but not a dozen more. I mean, a few typos and
> there won't be enough keystrokes in their budget to compile hello world,
> let alone provide a bug report or send a patch :)
> I think you are overestimating the penetration of cabal or
> underestimating the size and diversity of the haskell user base. There
> are a whole lot of people out there who just want to use haskell and
> don't keep up with the IRC channels or the mailing lists. Grad students
> interested in some aspect of jhcs design  who did apt-get install ghc
> and then expect jhc to work. Sysadmins who manage clusters of computers
> for work but have no particular attachement to haskell whose kickstart
> scripts allow just dropping in an autoconfed tarball but have to be
> retooled for something new?
> > Integrating into the ecology of the vast majority of Haskell code is a
> > good way to get and keep developers. And since GHC -- which we need to
> > build JHC anyway -- already ships with Cabal, no additional dependencies
> > are required.
> But wouldn't it be nicer if Haskell fit into the ecology of OSS in
> general? Even better wouldn't it be nice if peoples first impression of
> haskell was not annoyance at having to build a package in some
> proprietary way , but rather being impressed with some piece of software
> and looking into its implementation and seeing how it got to be so good?
> No one when just trying to install a random program not knowing anything
> about the implementation gets excited at seeing that they have to learn
> some brand new way of getting it to work.
> For a standalone program like jhc, integrating with the open source
> community as a whole, and having the flexibility of working with the
> right tool for the task at hand are very desirable things.
> When it comes down to it, an actual reason to use cabal is not there, If
> the reason is to fit into the ecology of Haskell code, then my question
> is why is this ecology so distinct to begin with? What is wrong with
> haskell such that its world must be so disjoint from that of other
> languages?  That seems to be the real WTF here that needs fixing.

When it comes down to it, I've just been down a slippery slope.

The fact is, hackage works and hackage is a good reason to support cabal.

I'd also so say this thread is no longer productive.  A fork happened, the
fork embraces cabal but jhc does not need to embrace cabal; end of story
really.  We all get what we want.

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