[Haskell-cafe] who's in charge?

Gregory Collins greg at gregorycollins.net
Wed Oct 27 11:56:58 EDT 2010

Günther Schmidt <gue.schmidt at web.de> writes:

> Hi Greg,
> busy no, merely incompetent. If I was capable of writing a good library I
> wouldn't have bothered, I'd just rolled it myself and published it. I am
> capable, giving sufficient time, to write code that will get my email for
> me. But it's gonna be bad, hackish and ugly.
> As we are 10+ years now still without one of the most essential libraries any
> programming language needs I guess it's not that easy. It has just been
> recently that I wanted to do email via haskell. I was very surprised not find
> one in place already.

As Michael pointed out, there are a couple of basic packages, of varying
levels of completeness. Part of the reason there isn't a "complete"
solution on par with that of Python's is that sending & receiving email
isn't actually as easy as it looks.

You'd have to deal with several protocols (SMTP, POP, IMAP at a minimum,
each with SSL variants and half a dozen authentication schemes), dozens
and dozens of RFC standards (see the full list at
http://www.imc.org/rfcs.html and allow your mind to boggle), plus all of
the weird exceptions and workarounds you need to add in to deal with all
of the broken software that's been in use over the years.

Python has excellent email support *now*, but it wasn't always so, and
the reason things have improved is that there are a whole lot of
engineers employed *in industry* who have been paid to work on these
things for years until they got it right. Guido works for Google, you
know. I'm not sure how many people are being paid to write Haskell code
right now (not including graduate students), but I'd wager the number is
less than 200 *worldwide*.

There are areas in which we simply can't compete right now and this
happens to be one of them.

Gregory Collins <greg at gregorycollins.net>

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