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

Ketil Malde ketil at malde.org
Thu Feb 26 03:05:03 EST 2009

John Lato <jwlato at gmail.com> writes:

> 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. 

You're saying a developer would think, oh, I need to test this on
windows, or else Hoogle won't index it?  

I think it is way more likely that not showing platform-specific
packages will result in yet another platform-specific library
duplicating (the necessary) part of the functionality. 

On the other hand, displaying platfom-specific libraries might lead to
them being more used, and in turn being ported.

>>>> We've heard many times someone say, "I don't know if it
>>>> works on Windows, never really thought of that."

I'd say it.  I'd be happy to accept patches for Windows compatibility,
but I'm not going to go out and buy an OS, install it, install all the
required software and so on - just to tick a checkbox I'm not sure
anybody - a potential user of software, that is, not a user of
checkboxes - even cares about.

>> I have to second this; I'm a Unix sysadmin, 98% of the time if I'm
>> writing a program it's

I write programs to scratch *my* itches.  I publish them because
there's no reason not to, and hey, if it scratches your itch too,
that's great.  If you can improve it in some way, that's cool.

But until you are the one paying my bills and putting my bread on my
table, my responsibility to you stops there.

> 1.  It's often easier (and almost never more difficult) to design for
> cross-platform support from the beginning than to add it later.

I don't entirely agree.  I have no particular experience writing
cross-platform software, and no way to test it - chances are I'd just
mess it up anyway.  Better that an expert, with a real need to cater
to, do this later on.

> 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.

If you care about Windows support, the least you can do is to install
my stuff, and mail me the required patches to make it work - or let me
know if it works already.

As far as I know, none of those 80% of users even know I exist.

> 3.  It contributes to the "Avoid success at all costs" mantra often
> attributed to Haskell. [...]

> 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?

I don't consider those other two either, for about the same reasons.
I don't need it for the software I'm writing, and I have no reason to
believe anybody else does either. 

I suppose that one might think that my views here are quite selfish.
Where's the community spirit?  Where is social responsibility?  In a
way you'd be right, but I also think that if you start *imposing* this
kind of responsibility and community spirit, you'd start to se less
free software out there.  The cost of releasing software is low, but
hell, if I'm going to be flamed for it, the cost of *not* releasing it
is not any higher.

If I haven't seen further, it is by standing in the footprints of giants

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