wither the Platform

Mike Meyer mwm at mired.org
Wed Mar 25 07:22:49 UTC 2015

On Wed, Mar 25, 2015 at 1:21 AM, Mark Lentczner <mark.lentczner at gmail.com>
> On Tue, Mar 24, 2015 at 10:09 PM, Gershom B <gershomb at gmail.com> wrote:
> > There are different types of beginners, and meeting all their needs (as
well as the needs of long-timers of various stripes, etc) all at once is a
tricky task.
> Actually, pretty much all other language systems (C++, Java(*), Python,
PHP, Ruby, Scala, etc...) meet all users' needs, not just beginners, with
one common tool set + core libs. Different users don't install different
packagings of Python. There isn't a list of choices of Scala installers.

My first reaction was "no, that's not right". Then I realized that it
is - but only if the "common tool set" includes some kind of package
search and installation tool. Which leads directly to:

> At minimum it should also have cabal-install, and the libs so many things
are built on: async, mtl, text, parsec, vector, etc..., and also common
tools (like happy, alex, and hscolour). You can argue plus or minus some of
these, the set could be bigger or smaller, ... basically, it should be the

You have just defined the minimum platform. ghc, cabal-install, and
the things needed for those.

I think we also need better documentation than the current platform
has. Go back to the case of moving beyond textbook exercises, which
can tell you what packages to use, to trying to solve your own
problems, no matter what they are. You will eventually wind up asking
"What's the function/library/package to do X?". The documentation
should guide users to the packages in the install, whether it's called
"the Haskell Platform" or "ghc".

I'm not qualified to pick the libraries. I'm not sure any one person
is, or can be. But I can certainly help write documentation or
tutorials for using them once they've been picked, and would be more
than happy to do that.

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