Concurrency (was: RE: Re[2]: important news: refocusing discussion)

isaac jones ijones at
Tue Mar 28 13:22:32 EST 2006

On Mon, 2006-03-27 at 15:36 +0100, Simon Marlow wrote:
> On 26 March 2006 02:31, isaac jones wrote:
> > Possible Interests:
> >  1. I can write tools like filesystems, web servers, and GUIs in
> > Haskell'
> >  2. Libraries that I use are thread-safe
> >  3. I can compile my code with any Haskell' compiler
> >  4. Tools such as debuggers and tracers that claim to support Haskell'
> > actually work on my code.
> >  5. That there not be "too many Haskell's"
> >  6. That there be a diversity of Haskell' implementations
> >  7. That concurrency be reasonable to implement for existing
> > compilers/interpreters.
> >  8. That it be reasonable to implement for new compilers/interpreters.
> >  9. Show off how effective Haskell can be in this area (possibly
> > attracting new users).


> I'd count all of 1-9 as interests - they're all desirable.

Indeed they are all interests that I hold as well, some more than
others, and I think it would be helpful to know how different people
weigh different interests and why.

> But we haven't found a design that satisfies 1-9,
> and in the absence of that we have to compromise somewhere.

If a single standard were the only option, then we'd have to satisfy
some interests and not others, but if we are creative, we may find other
solutions.  Two such solutions have been proposed, one is that we use an
optional addendum and the other is that we work hard to implement
concurrency in Hugs.

So you see, it's possible that we may not have to "split the difference"
if we are creative.

Here's a story to illustrate the difference between discussing positions
(including pros & cons) and discussing interests:

> Two children are arguing over an orange. “It’s my orange!” screamed
> one of the children. “No, it’s my orange!” yelled the other. Dad
> enters the room and decides to help the children out by cutting the
> orange in half and giving a portion to each child. But, neither child
> is happy. One of the children wanted the orange peel to make
> marmalade, while the other wanted the pulp to make juice.

"It's my orange" is the position while the interests are explained by
the last sentence.

> But before we get carried away figuring out all the pros and cons of
> various options, let me point out once again that
>   This is just a marketing decision

This assertion highlights a set of interests not outlined above:

10. compilers/interpreters may gain or lose popularity by declaring that
they are 100% pure haskell (of course, they will have to be Sun
certified ;)

11. Haskell itself may gain or lose popularity by "branding" itself as
being good at concurrency (well, maybe that's the same as 9).

What else are you talking abut when you say it's a marketing decision?

> Because
>  (a) we're going to standardise concurrency anyway
>  (b) it is unlikely that Hugs or JHC will implement concurrency
>      even if it goes into the standard
>  (c) the question is just whether the "brand" Haskell' encompasses
>      concurrency or not (I thought I'd use that word because I
>      know JL likes it so much :-)
> Yes there are several ramifications of this decision, but none of them
> are technical.  

Actually, interest number 5 above is somewhat technical and relates to
whether or not we make it an addendum.



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