In this article, I interview Andrew Boardman, the Executive Director of the Haskell Foundation.
We talk about the Haskell Foundation, its plans and goals, and Andrew’s experience while guiding the foundation. Read further to discover what the Haskell Foundation does and how you can help it.
Interview with Andrew Boardman
What is the Haskell Foundation?
The Haskell Foundation is a non-profit organization with a mission to drive mainstream adoption of the Haskell programming language.
What is your role at the Haskell Foundation?
I am the Executive Director, which means that it is my job to execute on our mission and strategy and figure out how to use the Foundation’s resources to best help the Haskell community.
What are the goals of the Haskell Foundation?
Our top-level goal is getting more programmers and more organizations using Haskell. We want there to be more opportunities for Haskellers to use the language for their day jobs and evangelize the competitive advantages that the language and its runtime have, so companies can create higher quality products for their customers using fewer resources.
How will the Haskell Foundation help advance the open-source Haskell ecosystem?
We have a few different ways we support our open-source ecosystem. In some cases, we identify a need that hasn’t been addressed and act as a catalyst to bring the subject matter experts together to figure out the right solution. We can also be the project managers. When resources are needed, we can pay for it, source in-kind donations from Sponsors, etc.
We are dedicated to our community and want to help it thrive. We adopted the Guidelines for Respectful Communication from the GHC Steering Committee to help ensure that everyone feels welcome and included and are working on our Code of Conduct as well. We are taking the best practices we can find from other communities to foster a lively, energetic, and friendly atmosphere.
What are the pain points the Haskell Foundation is looking to address right now? Which issues are you working on right now?
The Foundation is doing a few things in the technical space, like Bodigrim’s work to convert Text to utf-8, and some in the community space, like the Haskell Interlude podcast. One of the bigger pain points we are working on is the lack of active maintainers in some areas of the ecosystem. We are working on exciting the community, getting people involved in various open-source projects, and matchmaking between the projects that need volunteers and the people who really want to help but don’t know where to start.
What are the difficulties in managing such a diverse and distributed set of ecosystem participants?
The biggest challenge is competing priorities. We have a lot of very passionate, very smart people in Haskell, and there are times when they want opposite things. The Haskell Foundation does have a purpose, and sometimes what we need to do to work towards that purpose is contrary to some Haskeller’s goals.
What is the relationship of the Haskell Foundation to its sponsors?
Our sponsors and donors pay the bills and give us the resources we need to make a difference. Our Board of Directors is the group that fundamentally determines what the Foundation will do, and some of the members of our Board are employees of Sponsors, but two are not directly related.
We are working on a proposal to create a Technical Advisory Board, and for that there is likely to be a formal relationship between sponsorship level and some of the membership, but the recommendations from that group are advisory only and not binding.
At the end of the day, companies sponsor the Haskell Foundation to support the community and help make it better. It is a relationship of enlightened self-interest, and it gives those sponsors greater visibility within the community, which can be particularly helpful for recruiting, but also means that the compiler, tools, and libraries that they build their business on have the resources necessary to be maintained and improved.
Are there any ways that Haskell enthusiasts can help the foundation?
Absolutely! We have many generous individual sponsors of the Foundation, a fantastic community of volunteers helping with HF projects, we love having subject matter experts available for advice and questions. For those Haskellers lucky enough to work at a company using the language, please advocate to your management to give back to and support our community by becoming sponsors!
Where can people learn more about the foundation?
Beyond our website, the main ways you can learn about what we’re doing or ask questions are the Haskell Discourse, our Slack, or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For those who are interested in volunteering for HF projects or just for Haskell projects in general, and want help figuring out what projects could use a hand, email us at email@example.com, or join us on Slack and introduce yourself!
I would like to thank Andrew for the interview and wish the best of luck to the Haskell Foundation in accomplishing its goals!
If you want to read more interviews with people that use FP for both hobby side projects and large-scale industrial projects, I suggest visiting our interviews section. In addition, don’t forget to follow our blog via Twitter, Medium, or Dev, or simply by subscribing to our newsletter below!