[Haskell-cafe] [Haskell] GHC is a monopoly compiler

Michael Sloan mgsloan at gmail.com
Tue Sep 27 00:25:34 UTC 2016

Monopolies directed by benevolent dictators are highly efficient, and
often yield results that are highly valuable.  If we are running with
this metaphor, I'd agree that GHC and stack could fall into such a
category.  For both of these, though, we do not have dictatorship, we
just have spiritual leaders (SPJ!! To name one, Simon is certainly a
leader, in spirit, for the community).

A bit of a tangent to a tangential conversation, but I wish that
Haskell could move towards the "batteries included" attitude of
Python's standard library.  That is an example of benevolent
dictatorship / vertical monopoly going very very well.


On Mon, Sep 26, 2016 at 3:53 PM, Tom Murphy <amindfv at gmail.com> wrote:
> This is not the right mailing list for this
> (https://wiki.haskell.org/Mailing_lists) ; forwarding to haskell-cafe@
> Tom
> On Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 7:48 AM, Tony Day <tonyday567 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I would argue that the adventure that is GHC is a natural monopoly - an
>> example of collaboration trumping competition.  Certainly the results speak
>> for themselves, and I personally find it the most satisfying, the only sane
>> way to practice the craft of coding.  So, as an enthusiastic user of a
>> monopolistic service (the best power to weight ratio I could find to
>> misquote Kmett), I would like to suggest to the community that we have a
>> respectful discussion on the implications of natural monopolies.
>> Monopolies have their problems.  They create power imbalances that need
>> active management to control.  A community should be particularly wary of
>> monopolies attempting to vertically integrate up the production chain into
>> areas where a monopoly makes less sense.  I would call the whole cabal
>> versus stack drama a text-book case of over-reach. Everyone agrees stack
>> operates at a higher level of abstraction then cabal, on top of it is
>> accurate.  Cabal shouldn't even be allowed to compete above it's current
>> abstraction point.
>> Haddock is another example of being blessed by ghc.  It hits a corner-case
>> of perfection for the "I'm a hackage library" monopoly.  But the outside
>> world of documentation, editing, rendering and conversion is invisible to
>> this monopolistic use case. We are forced to learn and use haddock, and, for
>> those of us with documentation needs outside hackage, the resultant workflow
>> is cruel and unusual.
>> GHC is a great compiler, but should actively be discouraged from
>> monopolizing the associated tooling and documentation chains.  There is
>> evidence of healthy open-source competition and significant gains to be had,
>> and Haskell runs the risk of missing out.
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