[xmonad] xmonad development (was: something in particular)

Wirt Wolff wirtwolff at gmail.com
Mon Nov 7 23:43:55 CET 2011

Excerpts from Allen S. Rout's message of Mon Nov 07 10:59:59 -0700 2011:
>  ... 
> But I think it's reasonable to point out that, in effect, xmonad 
> positively repels new converts.   As in, aggressively discourages them.
> Here's the path I've trod so far:
> - install vendor packages.  Understand that I'll need to dog-paddle in 
> haskell to function in xmonad.  Tinker.  Get frustrated
> - go learn about cabal, because bluetile suggests that it's a better way 
> to get up-to-date code.  On the way to bluetile, get enough xmonad 
> functioning to not need it.  Think "Ah, OK.  vendor packages out of 
> date, use the CPAN-equivalent for haskell, and all will be good".
> - Find that the haskell platform hasn't been updated in 7 months, 
> despite the claim it'd get love in July.   Get nervous about the entire 
> haskell community.
> - See that cabal xmonad is -2 years!- out of date.  Shudder.  Understand 
> that I need to learn darcs.

Point taken; your experience could have encouraged you to throw up your
hands in disgust and give up at several points. Aside from our needing
to fix the broken release schedules, I'm seeing that we also need to
address documentation and communication problems:

The installation instructions on xmonad.org should be much clearer for
people who know nothing about and don't care about the haskell
ecosystem, and just want to use xmonad.

In reality you don't need to learn darcs. (See below re. installing
darcs version.) You do need to install darcs, of course, which is
problematic or frustrating for some. In my experience installing using
darcs and cabal-install is much smoother and simpler than autotools
based installs.

> So, in order to use your WM, I have to completely bathe in haskell,
> down to learning the ideosyncratic, haskell-only VC you guys have
> cooked up.
It's really not very difficult to install from darcs, although it's not
spelled out at all well on xmonad.org. The only darcs command you need
is `darcs get':

Installation Steps

* Install ghc, darcs, and if available, cabal-install through your
distro.  Any combo of versions from the past 4 years or so that your
distro has decided are compatible with one another are fine.

* If cabal-īnstall isn't available in your repos, follow the simple
instructions linked from the installation page:

* In a convenienct directory like ~/repos or the like, run the following

 $ darcs get http://code.haskell.org/xmonad
 $ darcs get http://code.haskell.org/XMonadContrib


* Ensure that the C X11 libraries are available on your machine if you
don't have them already. ( i.e. libXinerama libXext libX11 -- libx11-dev
on debian based distros).

* Then build and install xmonad and xmonad-contrib with the commands:

 $ cd $reponame
 $ cabal install

> But insisting that new users be baptized into your church (or at least
> attend sunday school for a few months) is really bad for adoption.

What would you suggest to improve this situation? My experience with the
xmonad community is that it's pretty friendly and responsive, so any
suggestions you share should at least get a fair hearing.

Best regards,


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