[Haskell-cafe] Re: Announcement: Data.ISO3166_CountryCodes version 0.1

John Millikin jmillikin at gmail.com
Sun Apr 25 13:44:18 EDT 2010

On Sun, Apr 25, 2010 at 01:08, Jon Fairbairn <jon.fairbairn at cl.cam.ac.uk> wrote:
> John Millikin <jmillikin at gmail.com> writes:
>> This allows users to install the package, without installing 3rd-party
>> utilities, or downloading (possibly varying) versions from external
>> websites. As your library is currently written, two users who install
>> it might end up with dramatically different modules, depending on the
>> contents of < http://www.iso.org/iso/iso3166_en_code_lists.txt >.
> It would take a major global political ructions to make them
> /dramatically/ different, but I'm aware of the issue...

Well, say some country changes its name, and thus its code. Or some
small country decides to join a larger one. Generated modules will
then have different sets of constructors, but the same version number,
violating the package versioning guidelines.

>> Second, since the module is based on an external data set, a
>> date-based version might more appropriate. "Version 0.1" means
>> nothing, but "version 2010.4.24" indicates when the given version was
>> generated. Alternatively, you can use a hybrid system to indicate both
>> stability and the date -- such as 0.1.20100424.
> Something like this is already on my TODO list, but the date
> that I want to appear in the version number would be the
> last-modified-date of the downloaded code-list. How do I get
> that (which the build already puts into a file¹) into the .cabal
> file?

You could generate the .cabal file also, but it would probably just be
easier to check last-modified and set the version number directly.

>> Third, if you'd like your module to be widely used in the Haskell
>> community, the BSD3 or MIT license would be more appropriate. For
>> technical reasons, the GPL and LGPL are essentially equivalent for
>> Haskell packages. For political reasons, choosing the GPL will reduce
>> your user market to free-software users. This isn't *necessarily* bad
>> -- all of my large projects are GPL'd -- but be aware that your choice
>> will heavily limit how many people use your library.
> Something close GPL is what I want -- if I'm doing this for
> openly and for nothing, I don't see why anyone should build
> something on the back of it and make it proprietary without me
> having a say. I'd be happy to put a notice somewhere to the
> effect that I'm willing to negotiate terms for a separate
> license for inclusion in proprietary code, though I'd like to
> know the proper way of doing that.

That's fine, but be aware that it'll make your stated goal of "I think
anything that uses
country codes should use this datatype!" rather difficult to achieve.
Many Haskell developers seem to oppose the GPL -- for example, see the
comments when I released GPL'd bindings to CPython: <

>> Fourth, consider storing your code in a version control system (like
>> Darcs[1]),
> it already is.
>> and publishing it on a website like Patch-Tag[2].
> I was waiting for it to be uploaded overnight. If my rsync
> system isn't configured to delete it next time,
>   darcs get --lazy http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~jf15/ISO3166_CountryCodes/

Ah -- there was no source repository stanza in the Cabal file, so I'd
assumed it hadn't been checked into version control yet. I've rebased
my repository upon yours, and attached the Darcs bundle for my changes
to this email.

>> Finally, instead of using a Makefile to build the library or
>> documentation, consider using the cabal-install utility[4]. It's much
>> more common for a library to use "cabal build" or "cabal haddock" than
>> custom make commands, and external tools (such as Hackage) will work
>> better.
> I'd be grateful for a patch (against my repo) that did that.
> I've used make for thirty years, so learning something else
> doesn't hold great appeal.

Cabal doesn't replace Make -- it just defines some basic commands for
compiling, building the documentation, etc. This allows Caballized
packages to be installed on a variety of systems, which might not have
a sane version of Make installed. Usually, this is sufficient to build
all but the most complex of packages (eg, Gtk2Hs).
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