[haskell-infrastructure] wither the Platform

Gershom B gershomb at gmail.com
Mon Mar 23 14:27:32 UTC 2015

On March 23, 2015 at 10:02:11 AM, Mark Lentczner (mark.lentczner at gmail.com) wrote:
> I do too...! But follow the new Haskell.org pages like you are a user "just
> want to install Haskell"... you'll never end up with the Platform.
> It looks like the Platform deprecated on the Haskell.org site for Linux and
> OS X in June
> ,  
> and for Windows in Jan
> .
> *Infrastructure team:* Was there a discussion and decision to do that
> somewhere?

I thought the current language on the page was rather balanced?

That said, the initial people working on the site strongly leaned towards recommending minimal downloads over the platform in general, and as OS X and Windows developed good minimal installers the site was updated to point to them. In the editorial process on the site we, actually worked to make sure the platform _was_ highlighted more than it had been. And every time the site has come under public review (three times thus far, at least) the issue of minimal installers vs. platform was contentious, but with the former voice dominating. Note that there remains an issue under discussion about making the presentation of the two alternatives more balanced yet: https://github.com/haskell-infra/hl/issues/55 (patches and pull requests welcome!).

In any case, here is my problem. I would like us to be in a situation where we can always say “use the platform” to new users. I don’t think we are there, because new users will insist on using whatever libraries they read about as the latest and greatest, and those libraries do necessarily take care to ensure platform-compatability. (And if you tell them that straying from the platform is not for the inexperienced, they will snap at you and call you condescending, and insist they know what they are doing… shrug). Since we cannot mass-alter this sort of attitude among new users, then the next best thing would be to mass-alter the attitude among people who write not-platform-compatible libraries. But that is hard to do as well! (A “badge” on hackage for platform-compatible packages would do wonders, I think).

So, in the meantime, we need to get the centralized, uniform platform installers into a shape where we _can_ uniformly recommend them. And, as I suggested, it seems to me the way to go about doing that is decoupling the “library curation” element of the platform from the “installing haskell” element. That, or ruthlessly marking packages on hackage that do not work with the current platform with a big red X :-)


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