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ocaml and lindows.com

Stefano Zacchiroli wrote:
David Fox said:
Sure, why not?  I don't think it will be all that much work, I tried it
 out on Pcre and it was pretty quick.  Heck, I'll pay for it myself as
long as there are no unions involved!  Where should I send the check?
I will mail my bank account number to lindows CEO then :-)))

Seriously, we already discussed the split of bytecode/native code for
libraries a long ago (check the archive, but it wont be east due to the
bad habit of this list of not changing subject when needed). We reached
the conclusion that is not wort the effort because it will almost double
the number of ocaml debian packages and actually dpkg database has serious
scaling problem wrt the number of available packages.
Last time we discussed it we decided this disavantage overrules the
benefits. If you think pcre deserves a special treatment we can discuss
it, but it will be hard for you to convince me that it's actually the case
BTW I think that the subscribers of this list are interested in knowing in
more details what you, as lindows, are doing with debian and especially
with the packages we maintain. It's nice to know our work is useful for a
company, we can think at it as a "success story" ...Maybe you can sent here a brief description of your work (possibly in a
separate thread ;-)?
We have done several projects here using ocaml, because me and two other senior engineers here have a long history with functional programming languages.  I wrote the back end of the Click-n-Run software warehouse in ocaml.  This takes the Debian repository and reprocesses all the packages to generate the database information used by the front end (the catalogue) and modifies the packages so that they fit into our distribution, modifying and generating KDE menu entries and so forth.  This turns out to be a little more complicated than it first sounds, because you have to modify the version numbers on the packages, and then you have to modify all the equals dependencies, and so on and so forth.

The other major use is in our new hardware detection system.  I basically did a literal translation of a lot of perl code we inherited, which is my excuse why it is still pretty ugly.  But it had to be drop-in compatible.  This version isn't available for download yet, but it will be late in the year.  There are ocaml components that manage the boot loader, the PCI device mapping, and the X configuration.

There are also small programs that manage things like scanning the system for mime types and building a mozilla configuration file.  There is also a build environment creator, similar to pbuilder.  And I wrote a little cgi program called jiffytask to turn bugzilla into more of a project manager.  So far the only ocaml code whose source you can access from our website is lindowsos-mimetypes - search for it in our warehouse and click on the specifications page for the link.  It is completely uninteresting, another translation job turning weird little xml files into another big weird xml file, but it make Mozilla happy.  The detector will be available when our next release comes out.  The warehouse program is, unfortunately, retired.  It is being rewritten by others in (sniff) Perl.  We regret this somewhat, but we didn't want to push people into a language they weren't comfortable with.

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