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Date: 2001-02-02 (15:25)
From: Michel Mauny <Michel.Mauny@i...>
Subject: Re: Consortium Caml
Joshua D. Guttman wrote/écrivait (Jan 31 2001, 03:34PM -0500):

> I wonder whether it would be possible to explain the proposed
> activities of the consortium in more detail.

The Consortium members will meet at least twice a year. They will have
the opportunity to identify common needs (libraries, for instance),
and their contribution to the Consortium (money) will be used to
satisfy those needs (e.g. implement these libraries). The Consortium
could also decide to organize or support events such as a Caml
workshop (open to everyone), for instance.

> How does it differ from this mailing list, for instance?

Of course, this won't affect the mailing list. But the money collected
by the Consortium will be first used to fulfill the needs of the
Consortium members.  Being of general interest, the result should be
beneficial to the whole Caml community.

> So I would like to have my organization join the consortium.

This would be great.

> However, to get authorization to spend a couple thousand euros, I need
> to be able to explain exactly what the benefits to the company will
> be.  How shall I explain this?

The first idea of the Consortium is to put people together and to have
enough money to hire an engineer giving a hand to the development of

The second one is that this group of members will identify urgent
needs common to most of them (and consistent with the language and
implementation) to be addressed using the money of the Consortium. The
developments that members need will have a kind of higher priority. Of
course, the Caml developers will still work for all Caml users, but
the manpower supported by the Consortium should work to fulfill the
members' needs. Note that these developments will be released as Open
Sourse, as the rest of the system.

The overall idea is to have a strong group of motivated users, willing
and working to facilitate the development of applications written in
Caml, and to extend the Caml user base. In some time from now, the
group of Caml users could be large enough to represent a reasonable
market and to attract companies willing to offer OCaml training,
consulting, ... Managers should then feel more comfortable if Caml is
used in their companies, and this should ensure the language's

> I'd also ask whether the cost may be a trap.  Is 2,000 euros per
> member enough to make a big difference to INRIA?

The big difference is when we can hire someone (an engineer, not a
researcher) to do Caml development most of his/her time. INRIA is a
research institution, and some developments, although needed to do
serious Caml programming, don't belong to research.

> Would it be better to have a fee of say 500 euros, which may lead to
> many more members?

Well, we had to choose an amount for the first option, and I don't
know wether it's easier to have 100 members giving each 500 Euros or
to have 25 giving each 2 KEuros (or even less giving even more :-). I
chose the latter, and only the experience will tell if it works this
way or not.

I hope my arguments can be convincing. Everyone is welcome to improve
them in such a way that we can soon have, in this list, a thread
entitled "convincing management to switch to Ocaml", with positive