wither the Platform

Christopher Done chrisdone at gmail.com
Mon Mar 23 14:58:32 UTC 2015

On 23 March 2015 at 15:01, Mark Lentczner <mark.lentczner at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Mar 23, 2015 at 3:01 AM, Simon Peyton Jones <simonpj at microsoft.com>
> > Like Richard, I was astonished by this. I always thought that the
> > Haskell Platform was the route of choice to install GHC, together
> > with a respectable set of libraries.  It’s certainly what I install
> > on a new machine!
> 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.

Separate from any opinions about what's best going forward, chiming in
on a bit of history for the new homepage, my motivations were:

I wanted newbies to come to the site and find a download page *within
the Haskell.org site* (not going to another site with a different
design) that gives them something current and usable.

I added the manual GHC install guide (now gone) because that is the
method I was most familiar with. I've never used a HP release. So I
surveyed the current crop of handy installers and judged community use
of these things from mailing lists, reddit, IRC, etc.

I saw enough interactions with newbies that the HP was not being
recommended anymore due to its old GHC version and old packages (at the
time of making that change on the page, the current HP release was very
old), and the problem of the global database and installing new
things. I'm not really familiar with the user experience of this, but
people don't seem to like it.

So the Linux install became recommendations of OS-specific installers
(e.g. the Ubuntu and Arch repos are often recommended), and Windows
remained HP coupled with the new MinGHC (which I also saw being
recommended), and OS X became linked to the GHC for Mac OS X project
(again, I saw people were using that), each of which claim superiority
for various platform-specific reasons over the HP releases.

So that's the decision-making process that went into making the page
flow like it is.

Someone added this text:

> Many now recommend just using a bare compiler combined with sandboxed
> dependencies, especially for new users. However, others prefer to
> start with the curated blessed set of packages in the Haskell
> Platform, which is available for Windows, OS X, and Linux.

Which adds choice to users ill-equipped to make choice. I didn't add it
(although I understand the motivation behind it). From a web site
perspective, I'd prefer the download pages just be on the site. If it's
these platform-specific installers, the HP, or some new helpful
installer + LTS or whatever, it should be just there under /downloads,
/downloads/windows, etc. and there should ideally be one, good, current
choice. The current page is a compromise, not the final product.
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