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

To: Dan Magenheimer <dan.magenheimer@xxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: ocaml?? why?? (was: [Xen-devel] caml stubdom crashes)
From: Anil Madhavapeddy <anil@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 3 Apr 2009 00:46:01 +0100
Cc: Alex Zeffertt <alex.zeffertt@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "George S. Coker, II" <gscoker@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, Patrick Colp <pjcolp@xxxxxxxxx>, xen-devel <xen-devel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, Samuel Thibault <samuel.thibault@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, Samuel Thibault <samuel.thibault@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
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On 2 Apr 2009, at 23:13, Dan Magenheimer wrote:

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. ;-)

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.

I was merely pointing out in those slides that OCaml wasn't a perfect language, and that there were obviously areas where we found it was more difficult to do stuff than others. Please remember the audience; I was pointing out areas where FP language researchers could focus their attention if they are interested in more "real-world" adoption of their particular breed of languages.

Compared to the early sprawling mass of Twisted Python, or a complex C implementation riddled with memory corruption, OCaml was (and remains) a fantastic choice.

It is a really nice systems language mainly because the run-time is very, very simple. You could read through it in a few hours (src/ byterun) and come away with a good idea of how the garbage collector and heap representation works. Because types are stripped away at compile-time, the stuff sitting in memory is very regular and simple --- and it doesn't matter if the source program had intricate type checks in place as they only have to pass the compiler.

You can read a good low-level overview of the native code the compiler outputs here:
(and the rest of the site is an excellent place to get started with some simple programs).

Come along to CUFP 2009 in Edinburgh this year and you'll see a really vibrant commercial community using FP... and with the heavy MS investment in F# (heavily inspired by OCaml); the style of programming is really taking off now. I just bought a copy of "Real World Haskell" recently ... you know something's afoot when O'Reilly publishes a book with that title and it isn't April 1st :-)


-----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
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
makes me trust it more that any gcc compiler.


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