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Date: 2006-02-08 (13:37)
From: Alessandro Baretta <a.baretta@b...>
Subject: Namespace clash
Gentlemen--most specifically Xavier,

Every other year I have mentioned on this list that I have encountered a module 
name clash problem, rendering some bit of code unusable and my life very 
miserable. It happened again today. Hence, this post, to help me relieve my 

Luckily, today I control one of the two modules whose names collide, so I can 
easily overcome the problem by renaming one file and changing all relevant 
references to it in a relativeley self-contained sub-project of my full source 
tree. Were it otherwise, I'd be in trouble. Let me state that I am currently 
managing a source tree comprising approximately ten man years of work and 
236klocs as of today, including generated code. When a project grows to this 
size, it is relatively easy to produce such name clashes.

The clashing modules are Liveness in the metanative.cmxa library of the 
MetaOcaml project and a Liveness module in a PLC application based on my 
AS/Xcaml. I realize that "liveness" is a meaningful word to a compiler author, 
but it also is to a automation engineer. It is doubtful that either the 
MetaOcaml team or I have a greater right to this name, and it is unreasonable to 
renounce many useful words just because they might be of common interest.

Xavier's official position until now has been the following: "You guys have the 
-pack option; use it." This is probably the best solution overall, but it is 
hardly reconcilable with the fact that out there in the wild--and in my own 
repository--there are truckloads and truckloads of code that don't use it and 
that would need to be modified to use it, because of the need to explicity open 
in the projects source files all referenced libraries. Hence, it is impossibile 
for the build system to automatically manage namespacing issues.

Probably, all that ocaml lacks to properly handle namespacing is a -open 
directive, telling the compiler to imply a "open Xxxx" at the beginning of all 
.ml and .mli files on the command line. Given this compiler flag, the build 
system could take care of everything.

I'm sure there are other ways to solve this issue, and I'm non really trying to 
sell anyone my idea. As I stated, I'm just writing to relieve my frustration.



Ing. Alessandro Baretta

Studio Baretta

Consulenza Tecnologica e Ingegneria Industriale
Technological Consulting and Industrial Engineering

tel. +39 02 370 111 55
fax. +39 02 370 111 54