[Haskell-cafe] Confusions about the Haskell Platform (for Mac)

Sean Leather leather at cs.uu.nl
Sun Apr 18 06:30:50 EDT 2010

On Sun, Apr 18, 2010 at 01:46, Don Stewart wrote:

> leather:
> >
> > 2. What is the difference between "Haskell" and the "Haskell Platform"? I
> see
> > one or the other in various places. To get from www.haskell.org to
> downloading
> > the Mac software, I go through "Download Haskell," "Get the Haskell
> Platform >
> > Mac," and "Download Haskell for Mac OS X (intel)."
> Well, for one, we have characterized the difference between GHC and the
> Haskell Platform as:
>    GHC is to the HP  as  Linux Kernel is to Linux
> Now, "Haskell" for newcomers might mean "toolchain on my machine" --
> which is the Haskell Platform. Or it might mean the language.
> We try to ensure advertising for the HP makes it simple: "Download
> Haskell", but documentation pages carefully describe the fact that the
> HP is a development environment for the Haskell language.

It just occurred to me to check what Sun/Oracle does for Java. I guess what
is on haskell.org is no worse than what is on http://java.com/en/download/ .
But perhaps answering such questions as "What is Haskell?" or "Why download
the Haskell Platform?" as well as a short blurb about the use of the terms
Haskell and Haskell Platform would help.

Personally, I prefer to separate the name of the language from the name of
the development tools, because I think that causes unnecessary confusion.
End-users do not need to care about Haskell, unlike Java since they need the
JRE, so potential developers and students are the audience. This group needs
the Haskell Platform for developing with Haskell, and having the tools
referred to as "Haskell Platform" is clear enough (imho) without having to
call the tools "Haskell."

In the end, whatever the choice, the language on haskell.org should probably
be somewhat more consistent.

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