[Haskell-cafe] Looking for a paper [Dijkstra-Dot]

Anthony Clayden anthony_clayden at clear.net.nz
Mon Jun 8 10:42:07 UTC 2020

> Ben Franksen wrote:

>>* Well, don't look for pointers to language design from the couple of*

>>* jokers portrayed in that pdf.*
>>* I find it actually insulting to the good sense the real Dijkstra*
>>* always showed; and insulting to Haskellers ...*

> I really don't get why you're so upset about this harmless opinionated
> piece that, in a humorous and obviously exaggerated way,

It's not apparent to me this is humour, not even intended as humour.
Notoriously, it's very difficult to get across sarcasm/irony on the interwebs.

The tongue-in-cheek is not apparent to one of the authors, who has
actually implemented these ideas
and it seems inflicted them on undergraduates.

Including "8. layout is the only way to denote nesting ...".

While they were at it, why not introduce sugar for function definition:

>    length . [] = 0

would be easy to desugar as an equation defining `length`.

It's not apparent from the original thread May 2019 this is all a big hoot.

If it's humour, who's the butt of the joke?
A caricature of a Haskell newbie who doesn't understand Haskell,
and can only regurgitate FP ideals as cheap dogma,
played like a trout until "Exasperated".
This is cruel sport, not Socratic method. Not humorous.

> applies some of Dijkstra's ideas about programming language syntax ...

It's not apparent to me that EWD1300 is about programming languages;
the piece addresses "polite mathematics", name-checks Whitehead, Leibniz, Tarski
-- who are not well-known for their work on programming languages.

> Putting these words into Dijkstra's mouth is just an artist's freedom,
If it's intended as art, the least they could do is put their name to it.

> Despite your endless ranting the authors quite obviously do understand
> EWD1300.

That's not apparent to me either.

> I also don't see how this has anything to do with Dijkstra promoting
> Haskell for teaching.

I'm not expecting the real Dijkstra would be uncritical of Haskell.
I do expect that since Dijkstra saw Haskell's value for teaching, he
would respect the (always difficult) design/syntax choices in the

It's the faux-EWD's snide tripping-up of Haskeller that is
uncharacteristic of Dijkstra.

Also criticising Haskell's use of semicolon, which comes from ALGOL,
as the real Dijkstra would be well aware.

Also criticising allowing multiple constructs to express the same
 -- ALGOL also has plenty of that, and by design.
And cheap shots about Haskell not supporting "assignments, pointers, gotos ..."
-- we all know Dijkstra considers them harmful.

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