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Date: -- (:)
From: John Goerzen <jgoerzen@c...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] [ANN] The Missing Library
On Sat, Apr 24, 2004 at 12:04:08AM +0200, Alain.Frisch@ens.fr wrote:
> On Fri, 23 Apr 2004, John Goerzen wrote:
> 
> > Let me expand on this a bit.  It is clear that people are unsatisfied
> > with the quality of the standard library and that others have been able
> > to provide useful features (*cough* IPv6 and other basic Unix calls) far
> > sooner than Inria has.  Why are you oppsed to this?
> 
> Please note that Unix is *not* part of the OCaml standard library. It is
> just a library included in the standard distribution.

That is interesting to note but, does it actually mean something?  (This
is not a rhetorical question; I really don't know.)  I always assumed
the libraries listed separately in the docs were just that way because I
had to explicitly list unix.cmxa or str.cmxa to link with them...

> Maybe the situation would more clear if:
> 1] the standard library was called the bootstrap library;
> 2] other libraries were removed from the standard distribution (ok, maybe
>    except dynlink, bigarray, threads which require some cooperaton with
>    the compiler, AFAIK).

Yes.  That could make a lot of things easier.  As I've pointed out in
some of my other messages, the problem with Unix in particular is that
forking it will result in a painful compatibility choice for developers.
If Unix could be split off the core and allowed to evolve more rapidly,
that seems only a good thing to me.

> The relevant message in the thread Maxence makes reference to is probably:
> 
>   http://caml.inria.fr/archives/200403/msg00171.html
> OCaml has a slow release cycle and the ocaml team wants to keep control
> over the standard distribution. So, having most of the libraries outside
> of this distribution is a good thing, provided there is a good package
> manager (either system specific or OCaml oriented). This allows the
> community to gain control over the libraries and have quicker release
> cycles.

I agree completely.  I read that message, and Xavier writes "the
preferred way to contribute to Caml is through independent libraries and
tools, not by aiming at getting your stuff in the core OCaml
distribution."  That fine if it adds something that does not already
exist in the core (database APIs, PCRE, configuration parsers to name a
few examples.)  But I don't think the suggestion really works for things
like Unix that are already there.

> peer-review system, which is good. People interested in extending the
> stdlib might want to join their effort (I'm personally quite happy
> with the stdlib, I don't care writing three-liners functions several

I guess one thing I need to do is split my activities into "extends
stdlib" and "separate module".

-- John

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