[Haskell-cafe] Re: ANNOUNCE: Utrecht Haskell Compiler (UHC) -- first release

Richard O'Keefe ok at cs.otago.ac.nz
Tue Apr 21 23:48:18 EDT 2009

On 21 Apr 2009, at 8:20 pm, Edward Middleton wrote:
>> ghc 6.8.3 is /usr/bin/ghc on my office Mac, but nothing in the world
>> prevents there being some other program called ghc that would also
>> like to be there.  Only by painstaking verification of a whole
>> bunch of applications together can one be confident of "safety".
> Well then I guess we agree,  so the question becomes who should do the
> painstaking verification.  I think distribution maintainers should do
> this, you think end users who can't compile source packages should  
> do this.

You cannot be serious.

Come ON people, let's have some honest argument here.

1.  There are people who CAN'T install stuff in system areas.
     There seems to be no reason why they should not use Haskell.

2.  The claimed advantage of putting things in "a standard place"
     is unreal.  Or rather, it's real to the extent that you can
     assume that all the world is Linux.

3.  There is no guaranteed safe *SYSTEM* place to put things.

4.  A user can, however, readily verify that THEY don't have
     or don't use another program by the same name, regardless
     of what some other user on the same machine might have or use.

5.  If something installs in user space, the user can get rid of
     it, or if not, at least only that user is harmed.

     My departmental laptop has just had to be wiped and reinstalled
     because a commercial program that installed things in a "standard"
     place stuffed up.

It is absurd to allege that I think end users who cannot compile
source packages should verify a collection of oodles of packages.
I don't, and I never wrote anything that should lead anyone to
suppose so.  I'm not sure _anyone_ can.

Installing stuff in system areas,
whether it is "standard" or "default" to do so or not, is DANGEROUS.
Installing stuff in user areas is LESS dangerous.  All installs are
dangerous.  I don't say user installs are safe.  Just that they are
LESS dangerous.

In particular, a user install will not stuff things up for all the
users on a machine.  There are four people in my immediate family.
We all have accounts on the machines I own.  Even though I own
those machines and DO have superuser access, I DON'T want to risk
stuffing up the entire system.   Installing stuff under my own
account gives the others some protection.

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