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[Caml-list] Who controls INRIA mailserv filters?
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Date: 2004-08-12 (12:49)
From: Brandon J. Van Every <vanevery@i...>
Subject: [Caml-list] OCaml growing pains
Xavier Leroy wrote:
> Some of your recent Usenet
> postings left me shaking my head in disbelief, not knowing whether to
> laugh or cry.

I was going to reply privately, taking this comment of yours in stride.
I was composing my reply inline, dealing with some industrial growth
issues.  When I got farther down in your post, I realized how nasty your
response actually was, and how disinterested you are in some things I'm
interested in.  I don't take public nastiness sitting down, so here's my

> Finally, my parents taught me not to use "I want" in polite company,
> so I find your demands somewhat rude.  Posting to caml-list isn't a
> right, it's a privilege.

Having posts blocked for stupid reasons by machines is rude.  I hope you
don't start entertaining the notion that getting exasperated at stupid
machines is uncalled for.

> Why don't you just put the details of your meeting on a web page and
> post a short message "Next meeting on <such date>, see http://URL for
> practical details"?

- people don't click on URLs when they're busy.

> You do realize that > 95% of the subscribers don't
> leave in Seattle and couldn't care less about the delicacies and car
> park available there, right?

- people visit Seattle from other cities and move there
- people need motives to come to meetings, i.e. location, parking, beer
- establishing critical mass in tech hubs is important to language
- when other cities finally want to do it, they know who to contact
- repetition is the key to all learning
- announces every 3 weeks aren't anything out of anyone's life
- those that don't care can skip it upon reading the subject line

This is called getting things done.  Where's your index of local user
groups?  Where are the announces?  There is nothing at
http://caml.inria.fr at all.  What transmission vehicle if not

To grow, OCaml needs more than 1 mailing list devoted to the
uber-technical.  Two attitudes you could take here.  (1) "Fine, Brand*n.
Go start all your own lists.  Knock yourself out."  (2) "Yes actually
INRIA would like to facilitate these efforts to grow OCaml."

> - I and many other caml-list regulars don't wish to discuss business
>   issues with you.  I don't discuss business on open mailing lists.

That's definitely not an open source attitude.  I would say that Python
and Perl have more powerful models of business promotion than the
'closed doors' model you say you prefer.

> - The growing pains you mention weren't apparent to us before you
>   started making such a noise on this list.

If you do not see the growing pains in OCaml, it is because you're not
much interested in issues of industrialization and evangelism.  On this
list I have heard people discussing the standard library and what
INRIA's role should be with it.  Someone tried to volunteer a paid
compiler guy, so that they could get some business insurance on what's
happening with OCaml.  People still think http://www.ocaml.org/ is the
proper website, and I've seen no movement on that issue since I've been
on this list.

You are at a pre-Python level of industrialization.  Python is on every
programmer's lips, but commands a measly 2% market share (to be
generous).  It has a gazillion libraries that OCaml doesn't have, yet
still lacks glaringly in large scale desktop applications development
and 3D graphics.  It can't mount a business-friendly marketing campaign
because of the techies currently in charge of it.  Whereas OCaml is in
the "What's that?" stage.  So if Python has growing pains, you have
growing pains.  Unless your attitude is similar to Matthias Blume's,
that SML/NJ is only good for publishing papers for other academics.

> - You're most welcome to create your caml-biz list and
>   discuss whatever you want there.  Actually, I feel you
>   aren't interested in discussions as much as in
>   asserting your preconceptions, which makes you prime
>   material for blogging.

A gratuitous piece of managerial theory for you today:

> - As I explained above, posting to this list isn't a right, so we
>   are not at all "stuck with you here".

But what responsibility do you feel, Xavier, for building communities?
At the most basic level, are you only interested in people who play the
game your way, on your terms?  Or do you want OCaml to grow into
something big and really useful to tons of people?  If you want the
latter, you will have to cut people some slack.

> Thanks for your attention.

Do I receive yours in fair exchange, regarding communities?

Cheers,                         www.indiegamedesign.com
Brand*n Van Every               S*attle, WA

Praise Be to the caml-list Bayesian filter! It blesseth
my postings, it is evil crap!  evil crap!  Bigarray!
Unboxed overhead group!  Wondering!  chant chant chant...

// return an array of 100 packed tuples
  int $[tvar0][2*100]; // what the c function needs
  value $[tvar1]; // one int
  value $[tvar2]; // one tuple
  int $[tvar3] // loop control var
  $[lvar0] = alloc(2*100, 0 /*NB: zero-tagged block*/ );
  for(int $[tvar3]=0;$[tvar3]<100;$[tvar3]++) {
    $[tvar2] = alloc_tuple(2);
    $[tvar1] = Val_int($[cvar0][0+2*$[tvar3]]);
    $[tvar1] = Val_int($[cvar0][1]);

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