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Date: 2007-11-01 (18:12)
From: Richard Jones <rich@a...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Google trends
On Thu, Nov 01, 2007 at 04:31:35PM +0000, Jon Harrop wrote:
> On Thursday 01 November 2007 09:46, Richard Jones wrote:
> > This is hardly a cause to cheer.  The two languages aren't compatible
> > in any way which is relevant to the real world...
> The compatibility has made it easy for us to port our software in OCaml on 
> Linux to F# on Windows. That is (literally) valuable to us.
> > and the libraries are completely different.
> Much of the F# stdlib is both compatible and improved (e.g. tail recursive) 
> and extended (e.g. Array.map2). Some other aspects such as web services and 
> complex numbers are better in F#. For many other things, such as FFTW, I 
> write my own shim anyway and there are then no compatibility issues. Writing 
> bindings is easier with F# and there are no silly Bigarrays (woohoo!) or 
> anything.

So if I confine myself to a subset of the language and library, and
hope that all the third-party libraries I might use also confine
themselves, then I can compile on F#.  And what do I gain in this
situation?  Not the advantage of using the .Net libraries, nor any
great amount of speed.  The other things you mention are in extlib,
ocamlnet & camlidl respectively.

Sorry, not seeing the advantage yet.  Sounds to me more like embrace
and extend.

> > Microsoft could have contributed valuable changes back to OCaml,
> As Skaller has said, we cannot contribute to the OCaml code
> base. Even if you fork the codebase you are still bound by its
> license and you are not allowed to redistribute your own modified
> OCaml distribution.

Nonsense.  You have to distribute as original code + patches, but
there are automated tools that make this simple (eg. RPM and debs both
support precisely this mode of source distribution and make it
completely transparent to the developer, or if you prefer to stick to
source code in directories you can use tools like 'quilt' or any of
the advanced distributed version control systems).

> Overall, anyone interested in earning a living from programming in
> OCaml should definitely consider F#. We are already earning a
> significant amount of money from it and I only see that improving...

Jon, very happy about that.  I hope that Microsoft continue to support
and improve F#.


Richard Jones
Red Hat