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[Caml-list] native code optimization priorities
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Date: 2001-11-06 (14:48)
From: Fabrice Le Fessant <fabrice.le_fessant@i...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] compiler patches in the CDK

Xavier wrote:
>  This is one thing I'm not sure to understand about the CDK.
>  My initial view of the CDK is as a pre-packaged binary installation of
>  OCaml plus lots of user-contributed libraries and tools: a very
>  convenient thing indeed for users who want an OCaml development
>  environment that works and that is rich enough, without the hassle of
>  tracking down and installing all the bits themselves.  Excellent idea.
>  But then we learn that the CDK also includes some experimental, not
>  much tested patches to the OCaml compilers, and that by doing this
>  Fabrice intends the CDK to serve also as a beta-test for these
>  experimental extensions and changes.
>  So, is the CDK a stable, convenient distribution for users who
>  want something that works with no hassle, or an experimental
>  distribution for users who want to sit on the bleeding edge and
>  beta-test things?

I understand that the idea of untested patches being included in the
CDK can frighten users. Two replies:

 1) Most patches which were included in the CDK until a recent date
    were very simple patches, which only modify small well delimited
    parts of the compiler. Bugs in these patches are very
    unlikely. However, it is true that I've added some experimental
    patches very recently, with the idea that the CDK should also
    welcome contributed patches to the compiler as it welcomes
    contributed libraries, some of these patches being often asked for
    on the caml mailing-list. I've tried to read these patches
    carefully, before including them, to reduce the risk of
    introducing bugs. In particular, most of them require the use of
    special keywords or options to trigger them, and so, should not
    introduce bugs for users that don't use them. 

 2) As a result of your mail, and of the discussion of this morning, I
    will remove all experimental patches from the compiler distributed
    in the CDK. However, since I think some of the experimental
    patches can still be useful for some users, I will investigate if
    I can add a second compiler, something like ocamlc-patched and
    ocamlopt-patched, that will contain some of the patches and still
    be compatible with object files generated by ocamlc and ocamlopt.

Hope this answers your curiosity.

- Fabrice

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