Stepping back: what do we want from platform releases?

wren ng thornton wren at
Mon May 11 19:15:10 EDT 2009

Duncan Coutts wrote:
> So we must consider what we are asking users, distributors, developers
> and maintainers to do.
> Remember also that we are not preventing developers from releasing new
> features in their Hackage releases and that the platform gives end users
> the tools necessary to get those latest and greatest releases. So in
> comparison to other systems we actually have a much better release valve
> for the pressure to get new features to users quickly.

Personally, I think the point of the HP should not include "get new 
features to users quickly", but rather should have the different focus 
of "get communally-accepted features to users quickly".

As you say, Hackage covers the former quite well already. Haskell is an 
experimental language (and that's a good thing), but not all experiments 
are successful. Hackage provides an excellent playground for having 
these experiments in front of a large audience in order to tease out 
their feasibility. Since the platform is an attempt to collect the 
community consensus on what "good Haskell" is (in addition to the 
one-click-install goal), I think therefore that "new" is not the 
appropriate metric for feature inclusion.

I don't think the HP committee should get bogged down in questions of 
deciding what the community considers good, but for the majority of 
cases the answers should be obvious. When the current Haskell community 
would obviously include something, then it should be included in the HP 
so that newcomers can easily install and become familiar with things the 
community assumes familiarity with. Similarly, when a current community 
member assumes familiarity with these basic tools, their code should be 
able to make the same assumptions. Developers have an intuition for 
which libraries are canon vs which are "real" dependencies, and it seems 
like the HP vs Hackage should capture the flavor of that distinction.

Live well,

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