[Haskell-cafe] Package Takeover: `toml`

Dmitrii Kovanikov kovanikov at gmail.com
Fri Mar 12 12:04:33 UTC 2021

Hi everyone,

I feel extremely sad about this discussion for multiple reasons. But
regarding the technical agenda:

> I'm going to look at `toml-parser` in the meantime, but no toml library
does what I have in mind (namely a full fledged implementation of the spec,
streaming, deriving etc.), nor do many of them provide bidirectional
serialization save `tomland`.

This does sound very disappointing to me and I don't fully understand
the needs. Because:

* tomland is the official TOML parsing library in Haskell according to the TOML
spec wiki <https://github.com/toml-lang/toml/wiki>
* tomland fully supports the spec version 0.5.0, and the latest spec 1.0.0
was published relatively recently. And to my knowledge, it is the only
Haskell library that supports the latest spec.
* tomland is the most popular TOML parsing library according to reverse
dependencies <https://packdeps.haskellers.com/reverse> on Hackage
* tomland is based on explicit values, but nevertheless it provides
deriving via Generics

I feel very confused about this situation. And again I feel like people the
Haskell committees members are not willing to recognise other's people work
and would rather rewrite everything from scratch instead of collaborating
with existing projects created by people outside of committees. Even
outside the Haskell community (the TOML org), tomland was acknowledged as
the official TOML library, but not in the Haskell community itself.

At least, the following steps could be taken first:

* Why not open issues to tomland (or other libraries) and discuss the
features you want? We maintain tomland for multiple years. The latest
release was Feb 12 2021 (a month ago!). We constantly improve the
implementation, fix parsing issues, improve interface and error-handling.
Attempting to rewrite all this from scratch instead of collaborating with
existing maintainers feels very unfriendly.
* If you want to have the official TOML parsing library under the `toml`
namespace on Hackage, again, why not ask the maintainers if they consider
moving the library? And only after this discussion act accordingly.
* If you are concerned about the lack of people working on the `tomland`
library (which I don't fully understand, because in Kowainik we always have
at least two people maintaining packages), then why not ask to add as a
maintainer, instead of rewriting another library? Or even ask to move to
the official `haskell` organization on GitHub, if you want to have more
people maintaining the official package.

I mean, how am I supposed to feel motivated working on Haskell open-source
projects, if my work can be just discarded at any time, the official
library will be appointed without even communicating this desire? If I
weren't subscribed to this thread, I probably wouldn't even know that
something is going behind backs. We've put a lot of effort into tomland. We
literally spent years of maintenance, UX improvements, bug fixes, writing
tutorials and blog posts about the library and its implementation. And it
is still not enough just to be respected and even give the chance to reply
to the users needs?

That sounds very concerning to me. I don' feel like Haskell tech can move
forward if people's (specifically if they are not associated with any
Haskell leaders) work is disrespected.

Best regards,

On Fri, 12 Mar 2021 at 07:02, amindfv--- via Haskell-Cafe <
haskell-cafe at haskell.org> wrote:

> On Fri, Mar 12, 2021 at 06:28:44AM +0000, Emily Pillmore wrote:
> > Tom,
> >
> > Look, I don't want to debate syntax and semantics here, but "burning
> need/desire/ambition" etc (
> https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/burning+desire ) is an extremely
> common colloquialism that doesn't imply an emergency, just a strongly felt
> urge.  I can't apologize for my wording, but I'm sorry for the situation
> nonetheless.
> I also don't want to debate semantics but I can tell you "I have a burning
> need" on a Hackage takeover has a different connotation of urgency than "I
> have a burning desire to write a toml parsing library and to have it be
> named 'toml'". I still feel duped and now condescended to as well. I do
> nonetheless appreciate your apology for the situation.
> > >
> > > It's now seeming more just like a desire for the package name.
> > >
> > >
> >
> > I'm going to look at `toml-parser` in the meantime, but no toml library
> does what I have in mind (namely a full fledged implementation of the spec,
> streaming, deriving etc.), nor do many of them provide bidirectional
> serialization save `tomland`. To reiterate Carter's point, hackage names
> are a community resource, and they deserve to be thought through carefully,
> so yes, the package name is part of the request. I do alot of community
> service to make sure things that take up precious Hackage real-estate are
> treated well, which is why `toml` posed an opportunity.
> I'm actually open to the idea of using a simple name like "toml" for a
> best-in-class Haskell library, but I'd want to see proof that it is clearly
> the best in terms of implementation and adoption. I of course think my
> plans for toml parsing are the most wonderful, but if a consensus favorite
> package emerges and it's not mine I will step aside.
> >
> > To that point, anything you put out is something I am interested in
> investing time and effort into making a standard. Do you have any code
> currently, or is this a TODO on your list? Going through your hackage
> libraries, I see no source repository listings, issue trackers, or even an
> email to reach you by.
> I do have code, yes. As mentioned earlier I'm in the middle of a rewrite.
> If there's more to discuss maybe we should move this conversation off-list
> as it's no longer about a package takeover?
> Tom
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