[Colin Paul Adams] Re: Proposal: Define UTF-8 to be the encoding of Haskell source files

Colin Paul Adams colin at colina.demon.co.uk
Wed Apr 6 17:34:13 CEST 2011

I forgot to CC the list:

>>>>> "Roel" == Roel van Dijk <vandijk.roel at gmail.com> writes:

    Roel> I propose to make UTF-8 the only allowed encoding for Haskell
    Roel> source files. Implementations must discard an initial Byte
    Roel> Order Mark (BOM) if present [3].

    Roel> * Pros - Ensures that Haskell source can be reliably exchanged
    Roel> on the byte level.  - Disallows implicit ISO-8859-* encodings
    Roel> in source code, ensuring portability.  - Little or no
    Roel> implementation burden for compiler writers.

Having thought this over a bit more, I don't think it's a good idea.

Allowed? Allowed for what?

What does it achieve? Nothing, as far as I can see. Authors will still
be able to write their Haskell code in any encoding they like. And any
compiler can have a front-end script with an option to specify the
encoding used by source files, which simply uses iconv on the fly to

I think the real place to mandate UTF-8 would be for Hackage. That's
where it matters (an alternative design would be to add an encoding
field in the .cabal file, but I don't think this has much merit).

Colin Adams
Preston Lancashire
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