Wednesday, September 12, 2007


What the heck? While I slept, Microsoft has apparently released an OCaml clone called F-Sharp.

For those not in the know, OCaml is a frighteningly efficient functional programming language that is the intellectual child of my former college nemesis, ML. (Since then ML and I have become friends, teamed up, and fought supervillains together, but that's another story for another time).

Even though I don't use functional programming all that often, it's an important way to think about programming and you can do a lot in it - so the more we do to put powerful functional programming tools in the hands of the masses, the better.

Hence the significance of Microsoft porting this to .NET. "Dot NET" a library of software for Windows platforms that includes the Common Language Runtime, Microsoft's answer to the Java Virtual Machine. The great thing about the CLR is that it's very, very easy to port new languages to, and those new languages immediately have access to lots and lots of Microsofty goodness. Note to the fruits-and-birds crowd: that was not a joke. Microsoft makes a lot of good shit, and thanks to Mono more and more of that is becoming available in the Linux world.

In short, the vast library of Microsoft tools is now at the tender mercies of functional programming devotees. Bwah hah hah haaaaa! Language geeks will rule the world!



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