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Name: Isaac Jones
Member since: 2001-06-01 20:29:35
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Got a job now. Functional programming is cool.

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25 Jan 2004 (updated 25 Jan 2004 at 23:36 UTC) »
Last week I became an official Debian Developer :)

A bunch of small stuff

Yesterday and today, I did a bunch of rather smallish stuff that I've been meaning to do:

  • I'm planning to write some documentation for the apt-howto about apt-secure, so I contacted the author of that tutorial with my ideas.

  • I fixed a small bug in my haskell-mode Debian package, and uploaded it with my new email address.

  • I replied to some emails so as to keep a couple of projects moving along.

  • Today I updated my Haskell project to work in Windows, thanks to a patch from a Haskell user.
  • I just posted code for the Haskell Library Infrastructure Project here.

    I'm using Arch for version control, and so far I'm really pleased with it.

    In brief, the Library Infrastructure Project is an effort to provide a framework for developers to more effectively contribute their software to the Haskell community. I'm hoping to not have to implement this entire proposal myself, and I'm very flexible about implementation details. I've made some concrete progress, and I just mirrored my code repository on my web site, so now is the time to get involved!

    Anyone interested should follow the discussion on the Haskell libraries mailing list.


    Haskell Communities and Activities Report
    (Excerpts for projects I'm involved in)

  • Library Infrastructure Project
    Report by: Isaac Jones


    The Library Infrastructure Project is an effort to provide a framework for developers to more effectively contribute their software to the Haskell community.

    The Haskell Implementations come with a good set of standard libraries included, but this set is constantly growing and is maintained centrally. This model does not scale up well, and as Haskell grows in acceptance, the quality and quantity of available libraries is becoming a major issue.

    It can be very difficult for an end user to manage a wide variety of dependencies between various libraries and Haskell implementations, and to build all the necessary software at the correct version numbers on their platform: there is currently no generic build system to abstract away differences between Haskell Implementations and operating systems

    The Library Infrastructure Project seeks to provide some relief to this situation by building tools to assist developers, end users, and operating system distributers.

    Such tools include a common build system, a packaging system which is understood by all of the Haskell Implementations, an API for querying the packaging system, and miscellaneous utilities, both for programmers and end users, for managing Haskell software.


    The project is still in its infancy. A tiny prototype was implemented, along with some of the basic APIs. Consensus is gathering, however, and a document describing in detail what we intend to build is available on the project web page.

    Further reading:

  • Debian Users
    Report by: Isaac Jones

    There are many Debian users in the Haskell community, and they have recently begun an initiative to form a more coherent group. This involves serious packaging work, especially by Ian Lynagh to bring new binary versions of GHC, NHC, and other packages to various versions of Debian.

    The group is working toward a solution for the longstanding problems with binary distribution of Haskell packages, with discussion taking place on the Haskell Wiki. It is hoped that the Library Infrastructure Project (section 4.1.1) will help here.

    In order to provide backports, bleeding edge versions of Haskell tools, and a place for experimentation with packaging ideas, Isaac Jones has started the "Haskell Experimental" Debian archive where a wide variety of packages can be found.

  • Aetion Technologies LLC
    Report: Mark T.B. Carroll (<>)

    Aetion Technologies LLC is a small American defense contractor that uses Haskell and Java for most of its software development. The larger current Haskell-based projects we are working on involve (a) automated reasoning under uncertainty, currently focusing on the interpretation of sensor data, and (b) an object-oriented modeling language for composable simulations. Additionally, we develop small Haskell programs for a variety of tasks from document processing to time tracking.

    A number of our projects involve systems of entities that react to changes in each other, so we are currently investigating Functional Reactive Programming as an appropriate framework for implementing such systems. We are looking at Haskell-based declarative GUI toolkits and Web Authoring System Haskell (WASH) as a useful basis for some future work that will involve more user interaction. A project that we are about to start work on will involve implementing a server that manages a distributed computation.

    In addition, Aetion donates some programmer time to community projects like the Library Infrastructure Project and the Haskell Experimental Debian Archive, mentioned elsewhere in this report (sections 4.1.1 and 6.3.1).

    Further reading:

  • Been a while since I posted here, but I _have_ been posting at my personal blog.

    I launched The Library Infrastructure Project home page recently with a detailed proposal on how it should all be implemented. I've gotten some good feedback and am trying to move forward with the packaging system, which I see as the first priority.

    Just about to upload a new version of xppaut to unstable. It's an easy package to take care of, but it is a little frustrating because upstream does not post an announcement to the software's mailing list when new versions come out, and the filename on the server never changes (xppaut_latest.tgz or something). I never know when a new version needs to be packaged.

    Still not an official debian maintainer, but things are moving along.

    I finally got a wireless card that works for me (see last entry) but now I'm having trouble getting a new cell phone / PDA. Just look at my story about trying to get a wireless card, transfer the pain in the ass to customer service and the post office (instead of linux drivers), make it cost $630 and take over two weeks so far. Thanks T-Mobile! (I shutter to think that I've been recommending them to friends.)

    If you can believe it, more wireless card troubles

    So I did the right thing, I researched which wireless cards are guarenteed to work in Linux and decided on the Orinoco Gold which is sold by Proxim. I ordered it on friday and got it on monday (yesterday), wow, fast I was impressed.

    And I was excited. I have used wireless cards on my laptop quite a bit, actually. Whenever I go to a coffee shop, I get one from the coffee-selling girls, and it works out of the box. My computer even makes a happy noise when I stick it in the slot.

    It was this happy noise which I was anticipating excitedly when I got my new Orinoco card. I even took my headphones off so I could hear it (I forgot that my headphones were plugged into my computer so I wouldn't hear it if I took off my headphones, but forget about that).

    I put the card in. No lights, no sound, no magic. What could have gone wrong?! This is the card with the name of the kernel module! It even has the name of the kernel module on the outside of the card!

    But alas, Proxim has renamed their orinoco wireless card "gold" to "Gold Classic" and started selling some other card which does not use the same chipset as the "classic" card. I needed the "Classic" one to work in linux.

    I guess I should update the wiki where I got my information. Now can I return it to this internet store that I talked about in my last diary entry? Stay tuned.



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