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RE: ocaml?? why?? (was: [Xen-devel] caml stubdom crashes)

To: Dan Magenheimer <dan.magenheimer@xxxxxxxxxx>, Samuel Thibault <samuel.thibault@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: RE: ocaml?? why?? (was: [Xen-devel] caml stubdom crashes)
From: Ian Pratt <Ian.Pratt@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 3 Apr 2009 00:36:53 +0100
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Cc: Alex Zeffertt <Alex.Zeffertt@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "George S. Coker, II" <gscoker@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, Ian Pratt <Ian.Pratt@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, Patrick Colp <pjcolp@xxxxxxxxx>, xen-devel <xen-devel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, Samuel Thibault <samuel.thibault@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
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Thread-topic: ocaml?? why?? (was: [Xen-devel] caml stubdom crashes)
> > They already do: XenEnterprise is mostly implemented in ocaml.
> Well, I suppose that's a good datapoint.  I wonder if the world's
> supply of ocaml programmers all work for Citrix/Xensource. ;-)

Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 includes an F# compiler, and I think you'll see 
Microsoft pushing f# quite heavily over the coming years as a next generation 
programming language. 

F# is to first approximation OCAML with slightly changed syntax. Rumour has it 
that the Microsoft F# compiler has a mode where it will even accept plain 

Anyhow, I think we're just a bit ahead of the general adoption curve on this 
As regards finding OCAML programmers, many European Universities teach OCAML/ML 
and have done for many years. Besides, I wouldn't dream of hiring anyone who 
couldn't become proficient in a new programming language in a couple of weeks 
just by looking at some existing source code. Beyond XenSource/Citrix there are 
a bunch of other companies using OCAML in a number of industries, particularly 

It was a big risk when XenSource decided to adopt OCAML back in 2005, but the 
experience has been very positive and has undoubtedly improved code quality and 
accelerated development. The tool chain has proved to be remarkably stable -- 
about par as regards our experience with code generation bugs in gcc over the 
same period, and certainly the language is a _lot_ more stable as regards 
compiler warnings -Werror etc. 

Anyhow, I've been converted from an OCAML sceptic, to a "go ahead and use it 
where it makes sense". I'd be happy to see OCAML in the main xen tree -- in 
fact there's already quite a bit in the XenClient tree. 

Have a go writing some code and see how you like it in practice.


> But I'd question whether one good datapoint in a controlled
> single-product single-company focused startup environment
> is a good representation of the problems that might occur
> in a broader (e.g. open source) bazaar.
> > No problem so far with the language itself.
> This would seem to disagree with *No* problems.
> http://cufp.galois.com/2008/slides/MadhavapeddyAnil.pdf
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Samuel Thibault [mailto:samuel.thibault@xxxxxxxxxxxx]
> > Sent: Thursday, April 02, 2009 3:38 PM
> > To: Dan Magenheimer
> > Cc: xen-devel; Patrick Colp; Alex Zeffertt; George S. Coker,
> > II; Samuel
> > Thibault
> > Subject: Re: ocaml?? why?? (was: [Xen-devel] caml stubdom crashes)
> >
> >
> > Dan Magenheimer, le Thu 02 Apr 2009 12:39:04 -0700, a écrit :
> > > In other words, it may be a very fine academic/research
> > > language... but do we really want enterprise customers'
> > > critical workloads dependent on it?
> >
> > They already do: XenEnterprise is mostly implemented in ocaml.  No
> > problem so far with the language itself.  Personally, the
> > fact that the
> > ocaml compiler is itself written in ocaml (typesafe blablabla
> > language)
> > makes me trust it more that any gcc compiler.
> >
> > Samuel
> >
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