I’m finishing up my last working day as Executive Director of the HF. I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on what we’ve done during my time at the HF, and sketch out the next couple of months. Building on Andrew and Emily’s work before me, the Haskell Foundation has cemented its role as a key community institution. Some of our more visible work includes:
- Funded entirely by the HF, Bryan Richter has made a number of contributions to GHC’s CI infrastructure, freeing up compiler engineers to work on their specialty and making the process of contributing more fun. He has also helped the Haskell infrastructure administrators, relieving them of the work of server migrations and more.
- Bryan is running the Haskell CI Group to help Haskellers use CI more effectively.
- The Haskell Security Response Team has created a database of security advisories for Hackage packages. While this database is useful on its own, it can also serve as the basis for automated tooling to assist in audits, which will help Haskell shops in regulated industries who seek certifications such as ISO 27001 to achieve them faster and with less expense. The SRT is also a resource for the community, able to provide qualified input on security-related decisions.
- The Haskell Error Index provides a one-stop shop for error message documentation for Haskell build tools. The only skills required to contribute are Markdown and Git.
- The 2023 GHC Contributor’s Workshop, co-organized by OST Eastern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences, was an in-depth introduction to working on GHC that was attended by 48 in-person participants and around 20 remote. The resulting videos, which have been professionally subtitled, are a resource that will continue to provide value to prospective GHC contributors for years to come.
- In addition to being the origin of important initiatives such as hiring a DevOps engineer, GHC’s structured error message migration, and the security advisory database, the Technical Working Group has also hosted discussions about cross-cutting concerns that don’t naturally belong in the scope of a single Haskell committee, including the recent decision to refactor
baseto improve stability and upgradeability.
- The Stability Working Group has resulted in initiatives as varied as a suggested lifecycle for GHC extensions, a set of priorities for compiler features that can make upgrades easier, and community discussions about other ways of decreasing the cost of upgrades. In addition, the participation of two of the leaders of the GHC project in the group provides awareness of stability-related challenges, helping them help you.
- While the hard work of implementing GHCUp’s support for nightly releases of GHC was done entirely by the GHC team and by GHCUp’s maintainer Julian, the Haskell Foundation played a key role in starting the discussion. The SWG is planning ways to disseminate techniques for using this feature in CI, helping the GHC team get pre-release feedback and the rest of the ecosystem to adapt.
- The HF has helped the GHC team seek feedback regarding their medium-term priorities, and reported the results back. To this date, XYZ% of the issues in the list have been closed.
- Jeffrey Young is writing a book about Haskell performance, more widely sharing important knowledge about how to make Haskell code even faster. IOG, his employer, is providing work time for this effort.
- We organize important community functions, such as the annual signing of Hackage’s cryptographic policy file, along with finding ways to increase the resilience of Haskell’s volunteer-led culture.
In addition to all of this, the Haskell Foundation has played a less visible role in many ongoing community conversations, serving to convey priorities between users and developers who may not always otherwise talk to one another. Our volunteers, our board, and our staff all have broad contact throughout the Haskell ecosystem, and we are well-placed to ensure that decisions are being made with input from relevant stakeholders. For instance, we have helped suggest internship projects that will lead to reducing upgrade costs for companies that use Haskell, and we have directed Haskell consultancies towards potential sources of funding for Haskell tool development.
In the coming months, the HF will be run by the board while they hire a new executive director. While the pace of new initiatives will likely slow until the new ED has started, the HF will be taking on two new projects that we’ve announced recently:
- We will be taking over the hosting of Stackage
- We will be running a project to design a stable API for GHC, which we hope will result in a marked decrease in the cost of maintaining Haskell tooling
Thank you all for your support. This has been a very intense job, and I’ll miss working with the Haskell community this closely. I’ll be around, but I’ll be stepping into the background so as to not undermine the board and the new ED, though I’ll remain in contact with them to do what I can to ease the transition. I hope that you’ll treat them as well as you’ve treated me.