Proposal: Expanding the CLC

Simon Peyton Jones simonpj at
Tue Feb 16 22:54:09 UTC 2021


Thanks for writing.  You are just the sort of person that ought to feel welcome, and able to contribute. That you have not felt that way is a failure.

I'd like to suggest another explanation to the three you offer (none of which I subscribe to).

4.  The now-very-large Haskell ecosystem runs on the efforts of busy volunteers, all of whom have day jobs.  However well-meaning or high-minded we are, things will be left undone, or done less well than we aspire to.

I hope and believe that the Haskell Foundation will help with this challenge.  I don’t think it'll be a silver bullet.  But it should help; and making volunteers such as you feel both welcome and able to contribute meaningfully is certainly a major goal.

| Haskell has not only made me a programmer — it defined me as a person. 
| There is no other language and no other community like this one. I have
| reverence. Is it the same for anyone else here? Or should I, rather, grow
| up and move on?

Please don't grow up and move on!  We are working together to build not just a language to be proud of, but a community we can flourish in.  We will stumble for sure, but if we are humble, respectful of each other, and willing to keep trying, I think we can succeed.


| -----Original Message-----
| From: Libraries <libraries-bounces at> On Behalf Of Ignat
| Insarov
| Sent: 16 February 2021 21:57
| To: Carter Schonwald <carter.schonwald at>
| Cc: Haskell Libraries <libraries at>
| Subject: Re: Proposal: Expanding the CLC
| Carter's words touched me. Ever neither smart nor silent, I am going to
| be a little loud once more.
| Being an outside spectator of this venue, a beneficiary _(one of
| innumerably many)_ of the work being inconspicuously done by the persons
| present, and a skilled developer that potentially may shoulder some of
| the burden, I would really like to understand better the structure of
| power and the philosophy behind the CLC enterprise — it is not
| observable, therefore I cannot decide who to be thankful to and whether
| my participation is reasonably warranted. I know there are people that do
| a huge amount of work continuously fixing a vaguely defined cloud of
| _«core»_ packages — but I also know these people have no idea that I
| exist, from which it follows that my needs and wishes are respected only
| accidentally.
| I am voicing this thought for these reasons:
| * I am a small scale commercial Haskell user — on its face it classifies
| me as
|   the target audience. I am invested into Haskell but not a luminary like
| those
|   others present here — rather an ordinary person, an average. In some
| way this
|   makes me a representative example.
| * I am somewhat altruistic. I contribute open source code, answer
| questions
|   about Haskell and even help people privately without mercantile aims. 
| This
|   suggests that I should want to participate in an effort that is
| beneficial to
|   many — being an altruist, I may as well be an effective one.
| If there is a person that should be caught in the wave, that is me here. 
| But it is very evident that I am not. The story is that I asked `\x → (x,
| x)` to be given a place in standard libraries — hard to find a more
| innocent proposition. As some know, it did not go well. _(This is not an
| only example but the most striking.)_ There are several possible
| explanations.
| 1. This is meritocracy at work. Haskell collects some of the most gifted
|    programmers of the world. A mere mortal cannot possibly suggest any
|    beneficial change to `base` or `containers` or `vector` or `cabal-
| install` —
|    in all likelihood it was already considered by the wise council.
| 2. The philosophy is unclear and undisputed. For example, it was
| suggested to me
|    in private correspondence that the reason the standard libraries are
| not
|    being extended more often is because exporting more names is wrong. 
| This is
|    of course as valid a principle as any — but I do not see it being
| spelled out
|    and considered on the basis of evidence. Perhaps the wizards of code
| are not
|    that good at other things, like being clear about their design goals.
| 3. The power structure is set up in favour of a specific invisible group
| that
|    sets the tune. Recall the story about Stack and Cabal. It had been
| shown
|    clearly that the interests of the community at large are not
| represented in
|    the group of maintainers of Cabal. It is hard to triangulate from the
|    distance what exactly went wrong, but on the basis of the meager
| evidence
|    that I can have, the theory is plausible, and evidence keeps adding
| up.
| There is also a question of who selects the libraries to be called
| _«core»_. For example, Stack _(and, consequently, half the user base of
| Haskell)_ depends on `rio`, and `typed-process` is a superiour
| replacement for `process`. Should the _«core»_ include packages vital to
| half the user base? Should it include a superiour replacement of a
| morally obsolete package? Or is it a place where leviathans of the past
| come to die? What does it entail for a package to be considered _«core»_? 
| Does it get included in the standard distribution? What sort of packages
| should we like to distribute?
| Finally, there is a question of high principles. Haskell can be a
| pragmatic tool of the trade or a paragon of elegance, rock-solid or
| bleeding edge… maybe even all of it at once, but what does the
| _management_ want it to be? What do you folks dream of? What is your
| ideal? I cannot see any — I only see reactive efforts to fend off the
| inevitably approaching future. No one would be inspired by that. I
| suspect there are a few people that get paid to contribute to Haskell. 
| Maybe that should be the main motive instead? Maybe it is time to say
| that Haskell is a commercial language maintained by corporate employees? 
| I would not like to be one but at least expectations would be aligned.
| Haskell has not only made me a programmer — it defined me as a person. 
| There is no other language and no other community like this one. I have
| reverence. Is it the same for anyone else here? Or should I, rather, grow
| up and move on?
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