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[Caml-list] Alternative Bytecodes for OCaml
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Date: 2004-08-26 (18:05)
From: Paul Snively <psnively@m...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Re: bytecode and native code at once
Hash: SHA1

On Aug 26, 2004, at 10:31 AM, mikel evins wrote:

> Hiya, Paul! What are you up to? (Interesting to see your name floating 
> around the Ocaml lists).
Day job: conditional access systems for video on demand set-top boxes. 

Personal: Finally picking up steam on developing Unreal technology 
archive reading/writing libraries in cross-platform C++, with an eye 
towards reimplementing UnrealEd on Mac and Windows (yeah, I know). 
Studying stacks and stacks of books on type theory and language design. 
Gearing up to take some tutelage, and audit some Winter- or Spring-term 
courses at CalTech on <> with an eye toward its 
use as a language design workbench, as was done for 

I've been O'Camling off and on (mostly off) for almost three years now. 
Discovered it when I stumbled across 
<> back then. Started 
to get more serious about it about a year and a half ago when the Mac 
OS X support seemed to get solid. Did a presentation at the first 
<>, which was, I felt, well-received, and 
certainly fell into the you-learn-a-lot-by-teaching category.

Finally, the one thing that's a stumbling block for most folks in our 
circle when talking about O'Caml is the lack of platform bindings. Mike 
Hamburg has taken a good stab at an O'Caml/Objective-C gateway. That 
really needs finishing, and I had begun thinking about how to 
automatically generate actual OS bindings by parsing Objective-C 
headers and providing any necessary external annotations a la the 
Forklift FFI, but I haven't gotten anywhere with that beyond thinking 
about it.

Anyway, I now take O'Caml very, very seriously. I believe it to be a 
perfectly reasonable alternative to C++ for folks who want expressive 
power, safety, reasonable resource consumption, and runtime 
performance. Clearly there are areas in which there's still more work 
to be done, cf. the conversations about floating-point representation 
for high-performance 3D programming, or about memory-mapped files and 
their interaction with the garbage collector. Nothing you're not 
familiar with from your extensive work in Common Lisp and Mac OS X. :-)

Your turn: what's your O'Caml story?

>> Is there some reason that asmdynlink, which is part of the Caml 
>> Development Kit, doesn't address this?
> I don't know. All I was saying is that I knew nothing about it, 
> because I had devoted no attention to the issue.
Right; fair enough. You can find the CDK, including asmdynlink, at 

>> I also think that once MetaOCaml gets its native compiler done that 
>> it will help answer the question as well, among others. I find 
>> MetaOCaml very exciting!
> Yeah, I heard the same thing from Adam Megacz. I suppose I oughta 
> check it out.
<> is the place. I don't know what the status 
of their native-code support is, though; it's been a long time coming.

> --me
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Best regards,

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