Internet Relay Chat is a worldwide text chat service with many thousands of users among various irc networks.
The Freenode IRC network hosts the large #haskell channel, and we've had up to 723 concurrent users (average is 655), making the channel the 5th largest of the 7000 channels on freenode (Feb 2009) and the second largest programming language channel after Python. One famous resident is Lambdabot, another is hpaste (see the Bots section below).
The IRC channel can be an excellent place to learn more about Haskell, and to just keep in the loop on new things in the Haskell world. Many new developments in the Haskell world first appear on the irc channel.
Since 2009, the Haskell channel has grown large enough that we've split it in two parts:
- #haskell, for all the usual things
- #haskell-in-depth , for those seeking in depth, or more theoretical discussion
As always, #haskell remains the primary place for new user questions.
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1 Getting there
If you point your irc client to chat.freenode.net and then join the #haskell channel, you'll be there. Alternately, you can try http://java.freenode.net/ or http://webchat.freenode.net/ which connects inside the browser.
Example, using irssi:
$ irssi -c chat.freenode.net -n myname -w mypassword /join #haskell
Tip, if you're using Emacs to edit your Haskell sources then why not use it to chat about Haskell? Check out ERC, The Emacs IRC client. Invoke it like this and follow the commands:
M-x erc-select ... /join #haskell
The #haskell channel is a very friendly, welcoming place to hang out, teach and learn. The goal of #haskell is to encourage learning and discussion of Haskell, functional programming, and programming in general. As part of this we welcome newbies, and encourage teaching of the language.
Part of the #haskell success comes from the approach that the community is quite tight knit -- we know each other -- it's not just a homework channel. As a result, many collaborative projects have arisen between Haskell irc channel citizens.
To maintain the friendly, open culture, the following is required:
- Low to zero tolerance for ridiculing questions. Insulting new users is unacceptable.
New Haskell users should feel entirely comfortable asking new questions.Helpful answers should be encouraged with
points, in public, as a reward for providing a good answer.
As the channel grows, we see a diverse range of people, with different programming backgrounds, trying to make their way with Haskell. A good rule of thumb, to avoid frustration is:
- approach negative comments by asking for details (kind of like Socratic questioning), rather than challenging the competence of the writer (ad hominem).
The #haskell channel appeared in the late 90s, and really got going in early 2001, with the help of Shae Erisson (aka shapr).
A fairly extensive analysis of the traffic on #haskell over the years is kept here
4 Related channels
In addition to the main Haskell channel there are also:
|#haskell.cz||Czech speakers (UTF-8)|
|#haskell.ru||Russian speakers. Seems that most of them migrated to Jabber conference (email@example.com).|
|#haskell_ru||Russian speakers again, in UTF-8. For those, who prefer good ol' IRC channel with a lambdabot.|
|#haskell-blah||Haskell people talking about anything except Haskell itself|
|#haskell-books||Authors organizing the collaborative writing of the Haskell wikibook and other books or tutorials.|
|#haskell-game||The hub for Haskell-based game development|
|#haskell-in-depth||slower paced discussion of use, theory, implementation etc with no monad tutorials!|
|#haskell-iphone||Haskell-based iPhone development|
|#haskell-web||Friendly, practical discussion of haskell web app/framework/server development|
|#arch-haskell||Arch Linux/ specific Haskell conversations|
|#gentoo-haskell||Gentoo/Linux specific Haskell conversations|
|Projects using haskell:|
|#darcs||Darcs revision control system|
|#hackage||Haskell's software distribution infrastructure|
|#happs||Happstack web framework|
|#hledger||hledger accounting tools and library|
|#leksah||Leksah IDE for Haskell development|
|#perl6||Perl 6 development (plenty of Haskell chat there too)|
|#snapframework||Snap web framework|
|#xmonad||Xmonad tiling window manager|
Logs are kept at a few places, including
There are various bots on the channel. Their names and usage are described here.
Lambdabot is both the name of a software package and a bot on the channel. It provides many useful services for visitors to the IRC channel. It is available as a haskell package and can be integrated into ghci. Details on the software are found on a separate wiki page.
Here is its interface for the IRC user:
lambdabot's commands are prepended by a '@' sign.
|@help||display help to other commands, but help text is not available for all commands.|
|@type EXPR or ':t' EXPR||shows the type of an expression|
|@kind TYPECONSTRUCTOR||shows the kind of a type constructor|
|@run EXPR or '>' EXPR||evaluates EXPR|
|@pl FUNCTION||shows a pointfree version of FUNCTION|
|@pointful FUNCTION or '@unpl' FUNCTION||shows a 'pointful' version of FUNCTION|
is the name of a lambdabot with more commands/plugins enabled. It is run by ?? To talk to preflex, write preflex: command ARGS
|help COMMAND||displays help to other commands.|
|list||lists all plugins with their commands|
|NICK++ / NICK--||in/decrements the karma of NICK.|
|karma NICK||shows the karma of NICK|
|seen NICK||shows information about the last message of a user|
|tell / ask||sends NICK MSG a message when she becomes active.|
|xseen||see 'seen' ?? any difference ?|
|quote NICK||prints a random quote of NICK|
|remember NAME QUOTE||associates NAME with quote. can be accessed by 'quote'|
Not online often !?
The hackage bot provides real-time notifications of new package uploads to Hackage.
To get an overview of where everybody on the channel might be, physically, please visit Haskell user locations.