Main Page Adhesion Form

The Caml Consortium

[Version Franšaise]

The role of the Caml Consortium is to federate the design and development efforts around the Caml programming language.

This language and its best-known implementation, the Objective Caml system whose qualities are widely acknowledged, enable substantial gains in productivity to be obtained thanks to its great expressiveness and the static verifications carried out by the compiler which detect the majority of programming errors even before the program is run.

Nevertheless, as for any other research product, the question is naturally asked on the continuity of the language and the existence of companies which can provide development and/or maintenance of applications programmed in Caml. A consortium grouping together the major users of the language is probably the best response that can be made to these questions.

The Consortium's roles

The Caml Consortium will therefore try to bring together, around the language development team, industries, research centres and educational establishments interested in contributing their support to the design and development of the language and related tools.

Comprising a group of highly-motivated users, the Consortium will be the place where the members can identify their common requirements, exchange their experiences and solutions, and co-operate to propose a particular development of general interest. One of the Consortium's roles is therefore to be a place where users of the language can meet and exchange information. It is here that a true community will be created with the specific intention of assisting in the development of the language and to provide it with such a visibility that this community will expand by itself.

The motivation and industrial importance of its members will also attract companies to the Consortium which want to be present on the Caml applications and training market. Another role of the Consortium will therefore be to attract new members, whether they are users of the language or service providers.

Finally, the Consortium will provide a response to the question on the language's continuity. The essential elements for the continuity of a programming language are the continuity of its compilers (or their free availability), its user base, and the volume of existing (stable) codes. The success of the Caml Consortium will make it possible to measure the user base and the volume of the existing Caml code. As for the availability and development of the Caml compilers, these are already freely distributed with their sources. If INRIA decides at some point to withdraw from Caml development, and therefore to dissolve the Caml Consortium as it presently stands, the members of the Consortium will be sufficiently numerous, they will have sufficiently diversified profiles, and the market for the language will be such that the members of the Consortium will have no difficulty in continuing the existence and development of the language. INRIA will facilitate this transition, which is in the general interest.

How the Consortium functions

The Caml Consortium comprises INRIA on the one hand, and the members on the other hand. Formally, membership of the Consortium takes place by signing a standard agreement between the member and INRIA. Since one of the Consortium's aims is to collect the funds which will be entirely devoted to the development and promotion of Caml, membership of the Consortium implies payment of a subscription.

Membership of the Consortium represents a sort of sponsorship of the design and development activities around Caml. Of course, the member is under no obligation to use Caml, but on the other hand, has no particular right on the Caml system.

The Caml Consortium will have a Scientific Committee where each member will be represented and which will meet twice a year. The chairmanship of the Scientific Committee will be held by INRIA, and the purpose of the Committee will be to examine the work carried out within the framework of the Consortium, to prepare the activities organised by the Consortium (conference of Caml users, for example), and to set a program of work to be carried out in the following months.

Hence, the meetings of the Scientific Committee will give members of the Consortium the opportunity to comment on the work carried out, to suggest future work and to contribute to their definition.

Of course, as far as possible, a consensus will be sought when decisions are taken by the Scientific Committee. However, the members of the Consortium will only have a consultative role, and no formal voting mechanism will be set up for taking these decisions, the final ones being the responsibility of INRIA representative. This process will ensure the harmonious development of the Caml system.

[Version Franšaise]

Main Page Adhesion Form