Haskell Weekly News: May 22, 2006

Submitted by dons on Sun, 05/21/2006 - 10:05pm.

Welcome to issue 36 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.

Another busy and exciting week for the Haskell community.


  • Hugs 2006. Ross Paterson announced a new major release of Hugs, including an installer for Windows and a new WinHugs interface. It is available from the Hugs page.

  • Linspire Chooses Haskell for Core OS Development. Clifford Beshers announced that the OS team at Linspire, Inc. is standardizing on Haskell as their preferred language for core OS development. Much of the infrastructure is being written in Haskell, including the Debian package builder (aka autobuilder). Other tools such as ISO builders, package dependency checkers are in progress. The goal is to make a tight, simple set of tools that will let developers contribute to Freespire, based on Debian tools whenever possible.

  • lambdaFeed. Manuel Chakravarty released lambdaFeed -- lambdas for all! lambdaFeed is an RSS 2.0 feed generator. It reads news items - in a non-XML, human-friendly format - distributed over multiple channels and renders them into the RSS 2.0 XML format understood by most news aggregators as well as into HTML for inclusion into web pages. Source is available in darcs. Check it out.

  • Milfoh, an image to texture loading library. Maurizio Monge announced he has put together a very small library, using SDL_image (and a bare minimun of SDL), to load image files as opengl textures. More information here.

  • Haskell Charting Library. Tim Docker released his Haskell 2D charting library. It's still at quite an early stage, but already it has:

    • Line charts, points charts, fills, and combinations.
    • Automatic layout sizing and adjustment.
    • Auto scaling of axis ranges
    • Extensible to support new plot types
    • Uses the cairo graphics library for output
    and more. Further information and a darcs repo.

  • Edison 1.2RC4. Robert Dockins announced the 4th release candidate for Edison 1.2. Edison is a library of efficient data structures for Haskell.

  • Collections pre-release. Jean-Philippe Bernardy announced an alpha release of the new collections package he (and others) have been working on. It's still far from perfect, but I hope it's already a good choice for many use cases of collection data structures.

  • Haskell Graph Automorphism Library. In a busy week, Jean-Philippe also released HGAL 1.2 (Haskell Graph Automorphism Library), a Haskell implementation of Brendan McKay's algorithm for graph canonic labeling and automorphism group. (aka Nauty). Improvements over the previous release include a faster algorithm implementation and the library is now cabalised.

  • Darcs 1.0.7. Tommy Pettersson announced the release of darcs 1.0.7, containing a few bug fixes, and some new features.


This section covers activity on Haskell' standardisation process.


  • GHC Hackathon. Simon Peyton-Jones posted more information on the proposed GHC Hackathon, in Portland, later this year prior to ICFP. The idea is that to give an extended tutorial about GHC's glorious innards. Then have some hacking time in which you can pick something which you think GHC could do better, and implement it, with the two Simons wandering causing trouble. If you're interested, then complete the small survey indicating your preferences.

  • QuickCheck Fun with Phantom Types. Dominic Steinitz posted on an interesting puzzle involving phantom types and quickcheck, and pondered how to generate random types as well as random values in those types.

  • Gigabytes and terabytes in Haskell. Don Stewart made some measurements (here, here, and here) of the new lazy bytestring extension to Data.ByteString, showing performance often within a few percent of C for gigabyte and terabyte data sizes.

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