[Haskell-cafe] Re: Haskellers hate GUIs!!

Andrzej Jaworski andrzej.himself at gmail.com
Sun Apr 4 18:39:04 EDT 2010

Hello Wisecrackers,
Cannot resist shering with you my perspective.

Computer is a logic device and logic builds complexity bottom up while graphics builds it top down.
They are therefore antagonistic by nature and in the single case of their glorious interplay - The
Euclidean Geometry - it blocked abstract thinking for two millennia (no zero, no negative numbers,
no continuity). The implications of that facts are 3-fold:

(1) Compositional GUI needs some non-geometric and perhaps non-commutative concepts
(2) GUI will always set limit on the scope of your thinking
(3) conceptually rich DSL is your best friend as human-computer interface.

The role of GUI has gone way beyond its usefulness and now serves the industry to sell computers as
candies. Apps like Acrobat Reader became little more than GUI when judged by size and only
spymasters' conflicting interests strip some GUI excess to see you swim in sewers of the
Internet-turned-video. This visual mania is dangerous as it discourages investigative thinking and
reliance on concepts. It is shocking and in my judgement not a coincidence that major theories (like
Chaos T.) were discovered using punched cards or plain pen and paper, while Artificial Intelligence
research has been very acutely wounded by mouse.

Down to Earth TTS reading should have human quality by now, had the researchers used conceptual and
compositional approach. If linguists knew Haskell they could write DSLs to intelligently query large
data sets and step by step discover human algorithms. Instead they use mostly statistics for pattern
recognition. If experts could build DSLs for amplifying their own human concepts they would multiply
computer power by human intelligence. Instead they are taught how to press GUI buttons. And what is
behind this buttons? Statistics and designer crap!

Down to the dust of your heels: make Acrobat Reader TTS read some PDF and you will hear main text
intermingled with unrelated footnotes and paragraph titles and copyrights of every picture or graph
repeated forever. You can correct this of course with several lines of Haskell code but then
Wall Street should sell Adobe and buy You;-)

I have been using Haskell for bizarre mathematical stuff but rarely feel the need for anything
more than Unicode. Still I would appreciate greatly a simple compositional GUI like Clean has.
Perhaps Haskell friendly drivers for selected cards is another path to simplicity? The ultimate GUI
waits for operator algebra action where Haskell may show its Category Theoretical teeth.

I doubt real world will ever learn Haskell so why Haskellers should pull every piece of real world
crap? My advice is: stay clean, the world is wrong. Alleluia!

- Andrzej Jaworski

More information about the Haskell-Cafe mailing list