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Re: OCaml is broken
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Date: 2009-12-21 (03:58)
From: Yaron Minsky <yminsky@g...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Re: OCaml is broken
I find the ponderings on the popularity of OCaml to be of limited utility
--- those who pick OCaml based on its popularity are making a terrible
mistake.  OCaml was a deeply unpopular language in 2005 and remains so
today, the variations notwithstanding.  There are other good reasons to use
the language nonetheless.

On Sun, Dec 20, 2009 at 11:30 PM, Jon Harrop <jon@ffconsultancy.com> wrote:

> Or searches for OCaml on Google:
>  http://www.google.com/trends?q=ocaml%2Cclojure%2Cf%23

I'm not sure if OCaml is becoming more or less popular, but I find the
evidence for a decline less than convincing.  It is true that there is less
traffic on this list, but it's hard to know how to interpret this.  I
haven't gotten the sense that Python is in decline, but traffic on
comp.lang.python has also been declining since 2005.

Google Trends is also a confusing metric.  For example, it suggests that
Java, Python and C++ have been declining for years:


My suspicion is that Google Trends gives numbers normalized to the overall
search world, and so things that aren't growing fast look smaller as search
volume in general grows.  Obviously an up-and-coming language like clojure
still shows an upswing, as one would expect from an up-and-coming language.

The number of OCaml jobs has crashed as well:
>  http://www.itjobswatch.co.uk/jobs/uk/ocaml.do

I thought this was a silly metric when it spiked up, and continue to think
it's a silly metric today.  There are a tiny number of legitimate ocaml jobs
(and the same is true for Haskell, Clojure, Scala, SML, etc.) and the
ups-and-down in this tiny sample are not statistically significant.  Again:
don't pick OCaml because of the large number of OCaml jobs out there.  There
are very very few, both now and in '05.

Reliable metrics on a community like this are hard to come by, but things
seem quite vibrant to me.  There are always new OCaml startups popping into
existence, new libraries being written, and new things coming out of INRIA
(for example, the arrival of modules as first-class values, which is
expected in OCaml 3.12).  From my point of view, there is still no platform
out there I would rather be using.