[Haskell-cafe] Re: Hoogle and Network.Socket

John Lato jwlato at gmail.com
Wed Feb 25 05:23:41 EST 2009

Brandon Allbery wrote:
> On 2009 Feb 21, at 20:47, Jonathan Cast wrote:
>> On Sat, 2009-02-21 at 07:25 -0700, John A. De Goes wrote:
>>> Not showing platform-specific packages by default *might* make
>>> package
>>> writers more likely to develop cross-platform packages. We've heard
>>> many times someone say, "I don't know if it works on Windows, never
>>> really thought of that."
>> Um, why *should* I think of that?
> I have to second this; I'm a Unix sysadmin, 98% of the time if I'm
> writing a program it's for Unix *and* requires POSIX APIxs, and even
> if it could apply to Windows the program needed there would be very
> significantly different.  And we have a Windows group for that.

I completely disagree, for the following reasons:
1.  It's often easier (and almost never more difficult) to design for
cross-platform support from the beginning than to add it later.
2.  As of now, the "Windows Group" seems to be mostly Duncan.  And
while I greatly appreciate all the time and effort he continues to put
into Windows support, he's got a lot to do and could use some help.
If you can't help by joining the Windows group, at least you could
make your own packages cross-platform.
3.  It contributes to the "Avoid success at all costs" mantra often
attributed to Haskell.  I'm pretty sure that some people prefer this,
but many (including myself) consider it at best misguided, and
possibly harmful.
4.  Cross-platform concerns are something that responsible developers
need to consider, just like localization and i18n.  I.e., why
*shouldn't* you think of that?

In some situations, it is true that a project is particularly tied to
a Posix (or Windows) feature, and it wouldn't make sense to attempt a
cross-platform version.  If you're a Unix sysadmin and you use
Haskell, that may be true most or all of the time.  But for many
packages, including most packages on hackage, it should be given

John Lato

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