[Haskell-cafe] RFC: removing “alternative installation methods” from haskell.org (or finding them owners)

Julian Bradfield jcb+hc at julianbradfield.org
Mon Apr 4 09:03:11 UTC 2022

On 2022-04-03, MigMit <migmit at gmail.com> wrote:
> I think I remember myself as an inexperienced user. I might've walked away from Haskell, if I was given an instruction like "to install thing X, first install thing A, then use it to install think K, and then use that to install thing X". The longer the way between becoming curious about something and actually producing an executable, the less new users you have.

Hear, hear.

We use Haskell in our first-year course. Almost all students turn up
with bog-standard commodity hardware: Windows laptops, Macs, or
Chromebooks, with a small proportion of Linux laptops (those people
are usually ok). Every year it takes the first two weeks of semester
to handhold them all through the process of getting Haskell installed
and working. I don't do Windows or Mac, so I don't even know why some
(but not all) have problems - but they do.
They don't have the choice to walk away, but it wastes valuable
learning time, and gives a negative impression. Some of them then find
out that they like Haskell, and some that they hate it - I suspect
more would like it if they weren't put off by the initial hurdle of
getting the damn thing working at all.

Having a one-click install for the popular architectures would do a
lot for new users, especially if it includes popular stuff like
QuickCheck (I suppose QuickCheck is popular - I don't do Haskell, I
just have to tutor it:) )

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