Haskell Weekly News: May 1, 2006

Submitted by dons on Sun, 04/30/2006 - 11:06pm.

Welcome to issue 34 of HWN, a weekly newsletter covering developments in the Haskell community. Each Monday, new editions are posted to the Haskell mailing list as well as to the Haskell Sequence and Planet Haskell. RSS is also available, and headlines appear on haskell.org.

A double-plus episode this week, as last week's HWN went missing during a furious hack fest.


  • GHC 6.4.2. Simon Marlow announced the release of the Glasgow Haskell Compiler, version 6.4.2. GHC is a state-of-the-art programming suite for Haskell. Included is an optimising compiler generating good code for a variety of platforms, together with an interactive system for convenient, quick development. The distribution includes space and time profiling facilities, a large collection of libraries, and support for various language extensions, including concurrency, exceptions, and foreign language interfaces (C, whatever). GHC is distributed under a BSD-style open source license.

    For more information, see:

  • Communities and Activities Report. Andres Loeh released the call for contributions to the 10th (!) Haskell Communities and Activities Report. If you are working on any project that is in some way related to Haskell, write a short entry and submit it to Andres.

    The Haskell Communities and Activities Report is a bi-annual overview of the state of Haskell as well as Haskell-related projects over the last, and possibly the upcoming 6 months. If you have only recently been exposed to Haskell, it might be a good idea to browse the November 2005 edition -- you will find interesting topics described as well as several starting points and links that may provide answers to many questions.

  • Haskell' Status Report. Isaac Jones released a Haskell' status report. Currently the committee is focused on two issues, standardising concurrency and extensions to the class system.

  • Google Summer of Code. Paolo Martini announced that Haskell.org would have a presence as an official mentoring organisation for this year's Google Summer of Code. Several members of the Haskell community have volunteered as mentors, and a large number of proposals have been listed. If you're interested in mentoring, suggesting projects, or applying as a student to spend your summer writing Haskell code, check it out!

  • 2006 GHC Hackathon. Simon Marlow writes that the GHC team is considering the possibility of organising a GHC Hackathon around ICFP this year. Tentative details are on the wiki page.

  • Data.ByteString. Don Stewart announced new versions of FPS/Data.ByteString, the fast, packed strings library for Haskell.

  • Debian from Scratch. John Goerzen announced Debian From Scratch (DFS), a single, full rescue linux CD capable of working with all major filesystems, LVM, software RAID, and even compiling a new kernel. The tool that generates the ISO images (dfsbuild) is written in Haskell. The generated ISO images also contain full, working GHC and Hugs environments.

  • Hazakura - search-based MUA. Jun Mukai announced the first release of hazakura, a search-based mail client, written in Haskell.

  • (HS)XML queries. Oleg Kiselyov published a note demonstrating Scrap your boilerplate 3 style generic term processing for transformations and selections from (HS)XML-like documents.


This section covers activity on Haskell' standardisation process.


  • Global IORefs. Brian Hulley forked a long running thread on the use of top level mutable variables in an application he's developing, leading to many contributions on how to rewrite the code in a functional style.

  • cabal-get. Isaac Jones released a note discussing some changes to Cabal, including integration of the cabal-get tool into the main branch.

  • Fast serialisation. Bulat Ziganshin published some result of a test of various serialization libraries speed, comparing his AltBinary code against the standard Binary implementations, with very encouraging results.

  • Gigabyte strings. Don Stewart posted the results of some experiments into using gigabyte strings (as ByteStrings) in GHC, with good results.

Darcs corner

  • Darcs patcher. Nicholas FitzRoy-Dale announced Darcs patcher, a tool to take a darcs patch file in the and applies it to the source tree in your current working directory. It was written as a tool to keep Bazaar repositories in sync with Darcs, with the Darcs repo being the master. Nicholas writes that he finds darcs much easier to use and less prone to failure.

Contributing to HWN

You can help us create new editions of this newsletter. Please see the contributing information, send stories to dons -at- cse.unsw.edu.au. The darcs repository is available at darcs get http://www.cse.unsw.edu.au/~dons/code/hwn