[Haskell-cafe] A rant against the blurb on the Haskell front page

Christopher Done chrisdone at googlemail.com
Sat Oct 16 04:50:38 EDT 2010

On 16 October 2010 05:52, Ben Franksen <ben.franksen at online.de> wrote:
> what marketing idiot has written this inclonclusive mumble-jumble of buzz-words?
> [...]
> How can anyone write such a
> nonsense? Haskell is not an "open source product"!
> [...]
> I am ashamed that it appears on the front page of my favourite
> programming language.
> [...]
> But no, I forgot, we don't want to explain anything or even be
> logical, dear reader, we want to pound slogans into your head!

Stand back everyone, Bill Hicks is back and he's got an axe to grind,
and it looks rusty!

On 16 October 2010 07:49, Donn Cave <donn at avvanta.com> wrote:
> " Haskell is a computer programming language. In particular, it is a
>  polymorphically statically typed, lazy, purely functional language,
>  quite different from most other programming languages. The language
>  is named for Haskell Brooks Curry, whose work in mathematical logic
>  serves as a foundation for functional languages. Haskell is based
>  on the lambda calculus, hence the lambda we use as a logo."
> This most succinctly expresses the points I tried to convey to him
> about Haskell, and I don't think it would be out of place on the
> main page.

This description is similar to Wikipedia's description of the Joy
language, with samples from the blurb above spliced in:

"The Joy programming language is a purely functional programming
language[, quite different from other programming languages.] It
was produced by Manfred von Thun of La Trobe University in
Melbourne, Australia. Joy is based on composition of functions
rather than lambda calculus[, hence the composition operator
we use as a logo.]"

These descriptions are fine, but they don't note how Haskell really is
any different from other languages, like Joy. It doesn't include the
fact that Haskell is a very serious language: it has a comprehensive
and stable implementation, growing community, growing and already
large library set, is being used seriously in industry, is the focus
of cutting edge parallelism and concurrency research, has many yearly
conferences, hackathons, etc. The original blurb does mention these

On 16 October 2010 09:09, Colin Paul Adams <colin at colina.demon.co.uk> wrote:
> And "purely functional programming language"?
> If they mean anything to many people, it's that the language works
> (i.e. functions). What language wouldn't work?
> I think Ben has a strong point here.

To solve this ambiguity that phrase is a link that people can click to
find out what it means. "Object oriented", "dynamically typed",
"stack-based" are about as meaningful.

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