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Wed Apr 10 17:18:51 CEST 2013

simplemindedness and management wars idiocy.

I believe you that that's how it goes in many large organizations.

Nobody is forcing you to be part of that.

There are a lot of places that would care about you trying to get
software development right (it sounds like you do) and, surprise, the
chances that they use something like Haskell are much higher. Not
because they like research platforms, but because it's one of the
reasons for their success.

On 04/05/13 16:06, Adrian May wrote:
> Even though I've been advised against WASH already, it seems important
> to fix that stuff because it's a liability to Haskell to have broken
> code kicking around where people might find it. I found flippi just by
> googling for "haskell wiki engine", in fact I think I was pointed there
> by wikipedia, and there's nothing on the WASH page to warn anybody. So
> it's great that Niklas fixed it, thereby preventing impressionable
> people from having a Rails-day like I did.
> But is it correct to extrapolate from the fact that people like you can
> fix it in 5 and 75 minutes, that everybody else can and that's how
> industry should calculate its maintenance costs? You guys all know a
> hell of a lot more about Haskell than I do, but I've been playing with
> it for a few years now, and I never met anybody independently of Haskel=
> who had even heard of it.=20
> On 3 May 2013 16:44, Ertugrul S=C3=B6ylemez <es at
> <mailto:es at>> wrote:
>     If it's your decision, you shouldn't be afraid to make it.  You are=
>     manager of your team!  Don't let yourself be stabbed by another man=
>     Recognize that your choice can lead to higher productivity
> Middle management in big companies isn't really about minimising
> maintenance costs, or even getting anything done. It's about
> building yourself a botnet of colleagues you can trigger to DDoS one
> another. You don't need much of a trigger: it's the timing that counts:
> every bot has to perceive the attack to be already underway and
> successful by the time you trigger them. Then they'll be grateful that
> you pointed out something they hadn't noticed before, after all, they
> wouldn't want to screw up with any other bot. The main reason you'd wan=
> to DDoS somebody at all is so that all your bots know the network is
> operational and that they're safer on the inside. That's why most
> managers spend more time trying to sabotage one another's projects than
> doing anything useful themselves, and why the most useless of them
> always wind up at the top.
> It's in that context that I'd like you to try and imagine why my
> priorities might be different from yours. Please don't say that it's my
> culture's fault. That would be true, but it wouldn't be helpful because
> if nothing improved in the last 3000 years it probably won't in the nex=
> 3000 either.
> Whether a manager wants to behave in this Machiavellian way or not, he'=
> better assume that he's surrounded by botnets that want him on
> the inside. If he has any aspirations to keep both his job and a modicu=
> of autonomy, he wouldn't want to give them a trigger on a plate.
> Backward compatibility is a very potent trigger because everybody knows
> what it means, and it would be potty to imagine you could convert
> somebody else's botnet into mutinying against the controller with the
> notion that backward compatibility doesn't matter. Referential
> transparency is not a very good defence because nobody knows what you'r=
> talking about.
> Take a guess how fast I can hire programmers here in Taiwan: about once
> every 3 months. I turn down 90% of applicants cos I know they'd waste
> more of my time than they save. I'm talking about the kind of people wh=
> can spend a whole week wondering why the bug never changes before I com=
> along and ask them if they're even editing the right file. It's not
> obvious to people in my position why writing a coding standard that say=
> "nobody is allowed to write anything that a monkey wouldn't understand"
> is a bad idea.
> Hopefully I've now shown that I must be nuts to be interested in Haskel=
> at all. So why am I? Well I described my OP as a lullaby, not a rant. I=
> you want to hear a rant, ask me what I think of imperative programming.
> Last time I saw an 8 million line project land in the bin, I could have
> said that I'd told them so 2 years earlier, but instead, I actually she=
> tears for all the developers who'd been stuck in that office til 11
> every night, chasing bugs around in circles that could never be fixed.
> For the guy who was publicly humiliated for giving a presentation about
> how to track a bug down through all that spaghetti and then fix it by
> wrapping "if (p!=3DNULL)" around the crash instead of wondering what wa=
> null or why, when in all fairness, that was the only thing any of them
> ever did. For that whole quirky culture that refers to bugs by a
> six-digit ID beginning with 3, and that doesn't lose it's cool even
> after two months unable to even build the thing, followed by another tw=
> when it can't make it to the idle screen without crashing. Of course I
> knew it would be pointless to ask those self-satisfied architects if
> they'd finally figured out that it wasn't smart to riddle the build
> system with cyclic dependencies so the testers didn't even know what
> they were testing, or to chop the whole thing into a guzzillion separat=
> pseudo-processes so every debugger would spend 90% of his time trying t=
> single-step over those asynchronous interfaces. Did they fail? I'm
> afraid not. The controllers just rounded up their best bots, found
> another venture capitalist and proudly boasted about how they'd turned =
> million lines into 8 in only two years. How would the VC know to ask wh=
> they needed all those lines if no new features were coming out?=20
> You thought I was pissed off with Haskell? Oh no. That's not what I'm
> pissed off about.
> But I'm still not crazy enough to start a project at work in Haskell:
> what I'm debating is whether or not to give people a few presentations
> and a few hours in the week to study your language in the hope that it
> will improve their imperative code, plant a seed of suspicion that OO
> might not be the last word, nurture a healthy fear of data, and perhaps
> one day take over Haskell stuff that I might foolishly dare to write fo=
> the company. This language has got an important message for the world,
> and the reason I'm trying to tell you guys this stuff is that I want it
> to get through.
> Once they sent a security consultant to lecture us about how to avoid
> writing vulnerabilities through which people could jailbreak their
> phones from the network. Towards the end of the day when he'd explained
> how buffer overflows work, he dropped "using a language other than
> C/C++" into his list of possible remedies. The whole room was
> immediately filled with uproarious laughter. I have to go at this gentl=
> and ensure that the carrot looks bigger than the stick at all times. An=
> I can't make myself vulnerable to easy pot-shots about backward
> compatibility or anything else.=20
> So what would their first impression be? They'd be dazzled but scared.
> ***Please bear in mind that if I scare a report by making him feel that
> his job security depends on him learning something new or taking more
> responsibility, then he's liable to throw a tantrum and plot against me
> in self defence.*** If most of his colleagues also think I'm crazy to b=
> going on about this offbeat language, then I'm toast. At the beginning
> they'll spend a lot of time feeling humiliated by it always saying No,
> and there'll be a strong tendency for them to say:
> =20
>     "It's not my fault: none of the examples on the web work either, an=
> not even Adrian can make them work."=20
> At that point I look like an idiot and Haskell at that company will be
> caught in the crossfire of my assassination. That's why breaking old
> code is best avoided (as long as it doesn't conflict with progress)
> especially in a world where lots of unmaintained stuff is still on the =
> That's why I'm very grateful to Niklas for fixing that prehistoric code=
> And why I think it's better only to deprecate things if you really need
> to. Does that make me ultra-conservative? Where I work, conservative is
> when you're still worried about how long it takes to dereference a virt=
> Do you finally see where I'm coming from? If you want this language to
> catch on, you have to think about programming the people, not just the
> computers. You could also just soldier on as a brilliant microculture
> until you get swamped by something like F# that's not even where you
> were in 98, and one day people will tell you "Haskell? Monads? That's
> not what I mean by FP. FP is something like F#." (Apologies to anybody
> who works on F#: my issue with it is that nobody I know is likely to
> figure out the functional way to do something if it's that easy for the=
> to bottle out and do it the imperative way.)
> Maybe that is the new plan. Maybe Haskell already gave up wanting to be
> anything but a research platform. Maybe you guys calculate that if I
> really want to push FP I should be pushing some hybrid like F# or Ocaml=
> Remember how C++ succeeded where Smalltalk failed because it sneaked th=
> changes under the table instead of calling for revolution. If that is
> the plan then I'd appreciate somebody putting me in the picture.
> Otherwise, please try to understand that the problems I'm up against ar=
> not about whether Num is derived from Eq or whatever.
> mfG,
> Adrian.
> =20
> On 4 May 2013 02:33, Niklas Hamb=C3=BCchen <mail at <mailto:mail at nh=>>
> wrote:
>     All right, here you go:
>     Took me around 75 minutes.
>     Think about it a bit:
>     I just ported thirty thousand lines of code that I have never seen
>     before and that has bit-rotted for over six years to the latest
>     programming environment.
>     It being Haskell, I am pretty confident it does *exactly* what it's
>     supposed to do.
>     I want to see anyone do that with an equivalently sized + outdated =
>     / Python project.
>     On 02/05/13 13:27, Adrian May wrote:
>     > I just tried to use Flippi. It broke because of the syntax change=
 so I
>     > tried WASH. I couldn't even install it because of the syntax chan=
ge. I
>     > persisted for a while but gave up because getPackageId doesn't
>     exist in
>     > any form at all anymore. This was only the install script: what w=
>     > WASH itself have in store for me to get my brain around?

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