1 Dec 2003 SyntaxPolice   » (Journeyer)

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 (<Mark.Carroll@Aetion.com>)

    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:

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