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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 02:21:20 +0100
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Cc: Patrick Colp <pjcolp@xxxxxxxxx>, Alex Zeffertt <Alex.Zeffertt@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, Ian Pratt <Ian.Pratt@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, xen-devel <xen-devel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "George S. Coker, II" <gscoker@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
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Thread-topic: ocaml?? why?? (was: [Xen-devel] caml stubdom crashes)
> If ocaml (or haskell or F# or the sum of ALL functional
> languages) grows exponentially, no problem.  If it turns
> out to be a fad (or even just grows linearly), having
> a huge base of code could be a significant albatross for
> the future of Xen.  I wonder what would have happened
> to Linux if Linus was an Ada fan :-)

Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 hasn't been out long -- it will be interesting to 
see how the F#/OCAML stats evolve. 

It's not like there are great alternatives for implementing something like a 
tool stack where you want a modern GC'ed language with a decent type system, 
and a small runtime. C/C++ are fairly archaic for this sort of thing. Our 
experience with python is not entirely happy -- runtime backtraces are a 
regular occurrence that could easily have been avoided with a statically typed 
language, and the memory footprint is big. I'm not a big java fan and we don't 
really want to carry around a JVM, plus calling native code is a mess. C# on 
mono is certainly plausible, but again, the runtime is quite large and complex. 
Lazy evaluation just creates more confusion that its worth in this kind of 
application, so scratch Haskell. OCAML compiles to native code, has an 
excellent static type system, the runtime is small and simple, and calling C 
code isn't too bad. 

I don't think any of the options have really changed too much since XenSource 
picked OCAML in 2005. C# on mono is probably more of a contender, but for the 
kinds of thing a tool stack has to do I'd still go for OCAML. 


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