[Haskell-cafe] Research language vs. professional language

Jonathan Cast jonathanccast at fastmail.fm
Mon Sep 1 13:20:25 EDT 2008

On Mon, 2008-09-01 at 01:20 -0700, Don Stewart wrote:
> ryani.spam:
> > On Sun, Aug 31, 2008 at 7:27 PM, Jonathan Cast
> > <jonathanccast at fastmail.fm> wrote:
> > > This concept of `day-to-day work' is a curious one.  Haskell is not a
> > > mature language, and probably shouldn't ever be one.
> > 
> > I see where you are coming from here, but I think that train has
> > already started and can't be stopped.
> Yeah, it's too late. Too many people have their pay checks riding on
> GHC, the Hackage library set (now up to 740 libraries and tools!), and
> the continued development of the language in general.
> If Haskell's not "mature" yet, then perhaps it has reached its early
> twenties, with an reliable heavy duty optimizing compiler, fast runtime,
> large library set, standard documentation, testing, debugging and
> packaging tools, and large community.
> And a community with a lot of energy.
> We're serious about this thing.

I think it's great y'all have a nice language for software development.
For that matter, I think it's great *I* have a nice language for
software development.  ACIO, say, wouldn't really change that.  But I
think (and expect) Haskell should fork sometime soon, with one branch
picking up ACIO and other pragmatic lets-do-this-now stuff, and another
branch eschewing them in favor of concentration of research into getting
around the need for such features.

And, on the other hand, I can help thinking your description fits Unix
from c. 1980 pretty well, about the time of the transition from V7 to
BSD.  Sure, the BSD developers made Unix a lot easier to use and wrote a
lot of tools (with a *ton* of options, natch.), but in the process, a
certain ability to hold the community to account to its highest ideals
was lost.  I'd like to see Haskell (including its `practical' branch)
not go that route, but I think standardizing the little compromises made
along the way is a terrible way to go.  Haskell's highest ideals should
remain pure.


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