Jane Street is deeply invested in OCaml and in the larger OCaml community, which we depend on both for the new recruits it provides as well as for the libraries and tools that come out of it. And so, we’ve been looking for ways to encourage OCaml’s growth and help it thrive.
OCaml Labs (or OCL, for short) is the latest step in that effort. OCaml Labs is focused on pushing OCaml forward as a platform, making it better for users of all stripes, from industrial users like us, to the growing set of schools that use OCaml as a teaching tool, to researchers who want a principled and pragmatic language to base their research on.
OCL is housed at the Cambridge Computing Laboratory at Cambridge University, and Anil Madhavapeddy is the technical lead on the project. The first job for OCaml Labs is going to be to create an OCaml Platform, a stable, conveniently packaged version of the most important pieces of software that you need in order to program in OCaml.
(It’s worth noting that a big chunk of the work for the OCaml Platform is being done by OCamlPro, in particular, their work on the new OPAM package manager. If you haven’t used OPAM yet, you should try it. It still needs some work, but I believe it’s the best way to install OCaml packages bar none.)
But the platform is just the beginning. OCL will be involved in all aspects of the OCaml toolchain, from development tools to core compiler optimizations, and everything in between.
OCL doesn’t work in a vacuum, of course. Part of the Labs’ mission is to simplify things for the many established contributors to OCaml, from INRIA itself, which remains the heart and home of the language, to established commercial users like Jane Street, Citrix and LexiFi, to commercial services companies like OCamlPro, to independent users and contributors.
2013 is looking to be an exciting year for OCaml. If you’re an OCaml hacker who wants to join the effort, you should consider applying for a job at OCaml Labs.
(And, of course, if you want a job where you get to apply OCaml to real world problems, you should consider applying to Jane Street.)
(Addendum, Anil has a post on this as well…)