Oops, forgot hit hit reply-all the first time, well spotted by Niklas...

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Adrian May <adrian.alexander....@gmail.com>
Date: 5 May 2013 14:22
Subject: Re: [Haskell-cafe] Backward compatibility
To: Niklas Hambüchen <m...@nh2.me>

> The fact that it doesn't build and that the last change is from 2007 the
> *is* the warning that it is completely unmaintained and not the way to
> do things today.
> (One could even say that by making it build on 7.6, I have removed this
> warning and given the illusion that everything is fine.)

That only makes sense if you assume everybody is familiar with Haskell and
its culture. But that neglects trying to make it attractive to people who

Of course I agree that it would be better if there were warnings on
> their web sites that said "sorry guys, this project is dead now".
> I would even be happy with newhackage sending every package maintainer a
> quarterly question "Would you still call your project X 'maintained'?"
> for each package they maintain; Hackage could really give us better
> indications concerning this.
Something like that would make a lot of sense to me.

> Still I'd say that in this case, the fact that it did not build, hasn't
> had a single change in the last half decade, and that you cannot find
> any recent discussion about it anywhere on the Internet, make it pretty
> clear what is going on here, even for non-technical people.

Half a decade is nothing to most programming cultures.
A newbie looks for sample code and blames himself if he can't get it

> > Please don't say that it's my culture's fault.
> From your story it sounds like you have a problem with developer
> simplemindedness and management wars idiocy. Nobody is forcing

you to be part of that. There are a lot of places ...

Perhaps I'd rather help those who need it than preach to the converted.

You summed it up nicely as two problems: (1) bitchy managers and (2)
untrained programmers. I'd like to use Haskell to help with (2) but I still
have to work around (1). My plan is to start by winning the hearts and
minds of the developers before sticking my neck out far enough to get it
severed. There's another plan where I'm pitching VCs about a start up, in
which case I'd have a lot more control, but I'd still have to prove that my
elite imperative squad were willing and able to learn a new trick before
committing myself.

I've actually learned quite a lot from this discussion and that largely
enables me to preempt any Rails-day problems. But that's only me. Lots of
people might be flirting with Haskell just out of curiosity and bouncing
off it for these reasons. There have been a lot of good ideas suggested
about how to minimise that, and I'd also throw in that it would be cool if
people could tell the compiler to behave as it did half a decade ago when
the code was written so people could prove to themselves that the code
works in principle, then they could clock the compiler forward little by
little, reading its release notes along the way. That's a lot friendlier
than being confronted with an apparently endless series of error messages
when you've barely learned to read them, and not even knowing if you're
making things better or worse. If the desired compiler/modules version was
in the makefile, that, I think, would be a general solution.

The FPComplete thing also looks helpful. I could use that to sell the
language to newbies. The mercenaries would come later though.

Thanks to everybody for helping out with this.

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