[Haskell-cafe] Unicode Haskell source -- Yippie!

Rustom Mody rustompmody at gmail.com
Sun Apr 27 11:45:54 UTC 2014

On Sat, Apr 26, 2014 at 9:28 PM, David Fox <dsf at seereason.com> wrote:

> On Thu, Apr 24, 2014 at 10:27 AM, Kyle Murphy <orclev at gmail.com> wrote:
>> It's an interesting feature, and nice if you want that sort of thing, but
>> not something I'd personally want to see as the default. Deviating from the
>> standard ASCII set of characters is just too much of a hurdle to usability
>> of the language.
> On the other hand, maybe if its good enough for the entire field of
> Mathematics since forever there might be some benefit in it for us.

Chris spoke of his choice of Idris over Agda related to not going overboard
with unicode. The FAQ he linked to has this to say:

| And I'm sure that in a few years time things will be different and
software will
| cope better and it will make sense to revisit this. For now, however, I
| prefer not to allow arbitrary unicode symbols in operators.

1. I'd like to underscore the 'arbitrary'.  Why is ASCII any less arbitrary
-- apart from an increasingly irrelevant historical accident -- than
Arabic, Bengali, Cyrillic, Deseret? [Hint: Whats the A in ASCII?]  By
contrast math may at least have some pretensions to universality?

2. Maybe its a good time now to 'revisit'?  Otherwise like klunky-qwerty,
it may happen that when the technological justifications for an inefficient
choice are long gone, social inertia will prevent any useful change.

On Sun, Apr 27, 2014 at 3:00 PM, Ben Franksen <ben.franksen at online.de>wrote:

> The main problem with special Unicode characters, as I see it, is that it
> is
> no longer possible to distinguish characters unambiguously just by looking
> at them. Apart from questions of maintainability, this is also a potential
> security problem: it enables an attacker to slip in malicious code simply
> by
> importing a module whose name looks like a well known safe module. In a big
> and complex piece of software, such an attack might not be spotted for some
> time.

Bang on!

However the Pandora-box is already open and the creepy-crawlies are all
over us.


GHCi, version 7.6.3: http://www.haskell.org/ghc/  :? for help
Loading package ghc-prim ... linking ... done.
Loading package integer-gmp ... linking ... done.
Loading package base ... linking ... done.
Prelude> let а = 1
Prelude> a
<interactive>:11:1: Not in scope: `a'

In case you cant see it the two a's are different unicode characters:

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