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From: Alan Schmitt <>
To: "lwn" <>, "cwn"  <>,,
Subject: [Caml-list] Attn: Development Editor, Latest OCaml Weekly News
Date: Tue, 28 Apr 2020 14:44:54 +0200	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <> (raw)

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Here is the latest OCaml Weekly News, for the week of April 21 to 28,

Table of Contents

opam 2.0.7 and 2.1.0 alpha
OCaml 4.11, release plan
ocamlformat pre-commit hook
New release of naboris 0.1.2
ANN: Releases of ringo
resto 0.2 released
Retrofitting Parallelism onto OCaml (research paper)
Multicore Update: April 2020, with a preprint paper
Why did Core remove polymorphic comparison operators in OCaml 4.10.0?
New release of js_of_ocaml 3.6.0
Other OCaml News

opam 2.0.7 and 2.1.0 alpha


R. Boujbel announced

  We are pleased to announce the release of [opam 2.0.7] and an [2.1.0

  This 2.0.7 version contains backported fixes, you can find more
  information in this [blog post].

  The 2.1.0~alpha contains many new features (cf. [blog post] or
  [release note]). If you want to take a look, a few glitches or
  regressions are expected, please report them to [the bug-tracker].

  *opam is a source-based package manager for OCaml. It supports
   multiple simultaneous compiler installations, flexible package
   constraints, and a Git-friendly development workflow.*

[opam 2.0.7] <>

[2.1.0 alpha] <>

[blog post] <>

[blog post] <>

[release note] <>

[the bug-tracker] <>

Anil Madhavapeddy then added

  Thanks for all the hard work that's gone into this release, @rjbou
  @AltGr and @dra27!

  To set expectations, this alpha release is for our users to smoke test
  the new features and let us know if they work for your usecases.

  In particular, the opam external dependency management and support for
  recursive pins are both commonly requested features. Please do take
  this alpha for a spin, and report feedback here on this thread.

  After this alpha is cut, there will be a sequence of beta releases
  (the number of which depend on the reported bug tail), and then the
  final opam 2.1.0 release. Your testing _now_ will greatly help us put
  a quality release out of the door.

OCaml 4.11, release plan

  Archive: <>

octachron announced

  The new version of OCaml, OCaml 4.11.0, has started its bugfix period:
  the set of new features is now mostly frozen, and in the three
  upcoming months, we will focus mostly on fixing bugs.

  For this release cycle, we will experiment releasing an alpha version
  of the compiler.

  This new alpha version is expected to work as a synchronization point
  for people working on updating the opam ecosystem for the new
  release. Once the opam ecosystem is in shape for some wider audience
  testings, we will publish a beta version as usual. This should be
  happen around June.

  One of the most notable change in this release is `Statmemprof', a new
  statistical memory profiler directly integrated into the GC.

  The provisional Changes list is [here].

  At this point of time, it is better to take this list with a grain of
  salt: there are a handful of new features that are still under
  integration, problematic features might be removed, and of course the
  list of bug fixes is incomplete.

  But one of the most notable feature in this change log, `Statmemprof'
  which a new statistical memory profiler API, is most probably here to

[here] <>

Guillaume Munch-Maccagnoni then added

  It should be mentioned that Memprof is documented as “~EXPERIMENTAL~”,
  and at least one breaking change is being considered in 4.12. This
  also mean that suggestion for improvement will be welcome (AFAIU).

ocamlformat pre-commit hook


Brendan Long announced

  This is kind of trivial but I figured it might be useful for other
  people. We created a hook config for using [ocamlformat] with


  pre-commit is a tool that makes it easier to run checks on changed
  files before commiting them, and this makes it so you can auto-run
  ocamlformat and ensure no unformatted code gets into your repo.

  1. [Install pre-commit] like `pip install pre-commit'
  2. In your repo, add a .pre-commit-config.yaml like:
     │ ---
     │ repos:
     │   - repo:
     │     rev: master # or pick a commit sha I guess
     │     hooks:
     │      - id: ocamlformat
  1. Run `pre-commit install'
  2. Now every time you run `git commit' (or `pre-commit run'), it will
     run every staged OCaml file through ocamlformat and complain if
     there are any changes:
     │ $ pre-commit run ocamlformat
     │ ocamlformat.....Failed
     │ - hook id: ocamlformat
     │ - files were modified by this hook
     │ $ git add .
     │ $ pre-commit run ocamlformat
     │ ocamlformat.....Passed

[ocamlformat] <>

[pre-commit] <>

[Install pre-commit] <>

New release of naboris 0.1.2


Shawn McGinty announced

  Simple http server for OCaml/ReasonML.

  [naboris] has been updated to 0.1.2

  This release comes with a few improvements to the API but most notably
  it has much better documentation at []

[naboris] <>

[] <>

ANN: Releases of ringo

  Archive: <>

Raphaël Proust announced

  On behalf of Nomadic Labs, I am please to announce the first few
  releases of Ringo: a library for caches. Ringo offers two kinds of
  caches: Maps for caches of key-value pairs and Sets for caches of
  simple elements. In addition, each kind of cache can be tweaked to
  handle their bounds differently.

  Ringo versions 0.1, 0.2 and 0.3 are available on `opam'. As the
  version number and the bundled announce suggests, this library is
  still in early phases of release: additional replacement policies will
  be added, the interface will probably change somewhat,
  etc. Suggestions welcome!

  Even though the interface is still in early phases of release, the
  implementation is covered by a lot of tests and is already in use in
  the Tezos project.

  The code is available at <>

resto 0.2 released

  Archive: <>

Raphaël Proust announced

Release of `resto 0.5'

  On behalf of Nomadic Labs, I'm happy to announce the release of
  version 0.5 of `resto'.

  The main change brought in this release are:
  • relaxing of dependency bounds,
  • documentation!

Retrofitting Parallelism onto OCaml (research paper)


Guillaume Munch-Maccagnoni announced

  The following paper on the multicore GC design by @kayceesrk and his
  coauthors has been posted on arXiv today and might interest the
  community: <>

Multicore Update: April 2020, with a preprint paper


Anil Madhavapeddy announced

  Welcome to the April 2020 update from the Multicore OCaml team, across
  the UK, India, France and Switzerland!  Although most of us are in
  lockdown, we continue to march forward.  As with [previous updates],
  thanks to @shakthimaan and @kayceesrk for help assembling it all.

[previous updates] <>

◊ Preprint: Retrofitting Parallelism onto OCaml

  We've put up a preprint of a paper titled ["Retrofitting Parallelism
  onto OCaml" ] for which we would be grateful to receive feedback.  The
  paper lays out the problem space for the multicore extension of OCaml
  and presents the design choices, implementation and evaluation of the
  concurrent garbage collector (GC).

  Note that this is *not a final paper* as it is currently under peer
  review, so any feedback given now can still be incorporated.  Please
  use the e-mail contact details in the [pdf paper] for @kayceesrk and
  myself so we can aggregate (and acknowledge!) any such comments.

  ["Retrofitting Parallelism onto OCaml" ]

  [pdf paper] <>

◊ Rebasing Progress

  The Multicore OCaml rebase from 4.06.1 has gained momentum.  We have
  successfully rebased the parallel-minor-GC all the way onto the [4.09
  OCaml trees].  We will publish updated opam packages when we get to
  the recently branched 4.11 in the next couple of weeks.

  Rebasing complex features like this is a "slow and steady" process due
  to the number of intermediate conflicts and bootstrapping, so we will
  not be publishing opam packages for every intermediate version –
  instead, the 4.11 trees will form the new "stable base" for any PRs.

  [4.09 OCaml trees]

◊ Higher-level Domainslib API

  A thread from [last month's update] on building a parallel raytracer
  led to some useful advancements in the [domainslib] library to provide
  async/await-style task support. See the updates below for more

  There is also an interesting discussion on
  [ocaml-multicore/ocaml-multicore#324] about how to go about profiling
  and optimising your own small programs.  More experiments with
  parallel algorithms with different scheduling properties would be most
  useful at this time.

  [last month's update]

  [domainslib] <>


◊ Upstreamed features in 4.11

  The [4.11 release has recently branched] and has the following
  multicore-relevant changes in it:

  • A concurrency-safe marshalling implementation (originally in
    [ocaml#9293], then implemented again in [ocaml#9353]). This will
    have a slight speed hit to marshalling-heavy programs, so feedback
    on trying this in your projects with 4.11 will be appreciated to the
    upstream OCaml issue tracker.
  • A runtime eventlog tracing system using the CTF format is on the
    verge of being merged in 4.11 over in [ocaml#9082].  This will also
    be of interest to those who need sequential program profiling, and
    is a generalisation of the infrastructure that was essential to our
    development of the multicore GC.  If anyone is interested in helping
    with hacking on the OCaml side of CTF support to build clients,
    please get in touch with me or @kayceesrk.

  In addition to the above highlights, we have also been making
  continuous improvements and additions to the Sandmark benchmarking
  test infrastructure. The various ongoing and completed tasks are
  provided below for your reference.

  [4.11 release has recently branched]

  [ocaml#9293] <>

  [ocaml#9353] <>

  [ocaml#9082] <>

Multicore OCaml

◊ Ongoing

  • [ocaml-multicore/ocaml-multicore] Promote Multicore OCaml to trunk

    The rebasing of Multicore OCaml from 4.06 to 4.10 is being worked,
    and we are now at 4.09! In a few weeks, we expect to complete the
    rebase to the latest trunk release.
  • [ocaml-multicore/eventlog-tools]: OCaml Eventlog Tools

    A project that provides a set of tools for runtime tracing for OCaml
    4.11.0 and higher has been created. This includes a simple OCaml
    decoder for eventlog's trace and a built-in chrome converter tool.
  • [ocaml-multicore/domainslib#5] Add parallel_scan to domainslib

    A [parallel_scan] implementation that uses the Task API with
    prefix_sum and summed_area_table has now been added to the
    Domain-level Parallel Programming library for Multicore OCaml
    (domainslib) library.





◊ Completed

  The following PRs have been merged into Multicore OCaml and its
  ecosystem projects:

  • [ocaml-multicore/ocaml-multicore#328] Multicore compiler with

    Support for Flambda has been merged into the Multicore OCaml project
    repository. The translation is now performed at cmmgen instead of
    lambda for clambda conversion.
  • [ocaml-multicore/ocaml-multicore#324] Optimizing a Multicore program

    The following [documentation] provides a detailed example on how to
    do performance debugging for a Multicore program to improve the
    runtime performance.
  • [ocaml-multicore/ocaml-multicore#325] Added

    A script to generate a latency report from an eventlog has now been
    included in the ocaml-multicore repository.
  • [ocaml-multicore/domainslib#4] Add support for task_pools

    The domainslib library now has support for work-stealing task pools
    with async/await parallelism. You are encouraged to try the








  A number of new benchmarks are being ported to the [Sandmark]
  performance benchmarking test suite.

  • [ocaml-bench/sandmark#104] Added python pip3 dependency

    A check_dependency function has now been defined in the Makefile
    along with a list of dependencies and pip packages for Ubuntu. You
    can now run `make depend' prior to building the benchmark suite to
    ensure that you have the required software. The `python3-pip'
    package has been added to the list of dependencies.
  • [ocaml-bench/sandmark#96] Sandmark Analyze notebooks

    The setup, builds and execution scripts for developer branches on have been migrated to

    A UI and automated script driven notebooks for analyzing sequential
    bench results is being worked upon.
  • [ocaml-bench/sandmark#108] Porting mergesort and matrix
    multiplication using Task Pool API library

    This is an on-going PR to implement merge sort and
    matrix_multiplication using `parallel_for'.
  • [cubicle]

    `Cubicle' is a model checker and an automatic SMT theorem prover. At
    present, it is being ported to Multicore OCaml, and this is a work
    in progress.
  • [raytracers]

    Raytracers is a repository that contains ray tracer implementation
    for different parallel functional programming languages. The OCaml
    implementation has now been updated to use the new `Domainslib.Task'

    Also, a few [experiments] were performed on flambda parameters for
    the Multicore raytracer which gives around 25% speedup, but it does
    not yet remove the boxing of floats. The experiments are to be
    repeated with a merge against the wip flambda2 trees on 4.11, that
    removes float boxing.

[Sandmark] <>




[cubicle] <>

[raytracers] <>



◊ Ongoing

  • [ocaml/ocaml#9082] Eventlog tracing system

    A substantial number of commits have gone into this PR based on
    reviews and feedback. These include updates to the configure script,
    handling warnings and exceptions, adding build support for Windows,
    removing unused code and coding style changes. This patch will be
    cherry-picked for the 4.11 release.

  [ocaml/ocaml#9082] <>

◊ Completed

  • [ocaml/ocaml#9353] Reimplement `output_value' using a hash table to
    detect sharing

    This PR which implements a hash table and bit vector as required for
    Multicore OCaml has been merged to 4.11.

  Our thanks as always go to all the OCaml developers and users in the
  community for their continued support, and contribution to the

  [ocaml/ocaml#9353] <>


  • API: Application Programming Interface
  • GC: Garbage Collector
  • PIP: Pip Installs Python
  • PR: Pull Request
  • SMT: Satisfiability Modulo Theories
  • UI: User Interface

Why did Core remove polymorphic comparison operators in OCaml 4.10.0?


Trung Ta asked

  I'm using the Core library in a project, and recently when I upgraded
  my OCaml from 4.08.1 to 4.10.0, plenty of compilation errors suddenly
  appears for comparison expressions like:

  `if (xs = []) then ...'  or `if (x = true) then ...'

  I saw that this change was discussed in this [thread] about
  monomorphic comparison operators in Base, but did not expect that Core
  would make it a default behavior.

  So I'd like to ask since which version that Core removed such
  polymorphic comparison operators?  (I couldn't find it in release
  notes of Core)

  Also, if I defined a sum type like `type ternary = True | False |
  Unkn', what will be a correct way to write `if (x = True) then ...'
  (which is allowed in the new Core)?

  I can temporarily fix by writing `if (x == True) then ...', but using
  `==' doesn't seem correct, since `==' is about comparing physical

  Thanks for spending your time to check my question.


Aaron L. Zeng replied

  The change was announced in
  although unfortunately it doesn't look like the file was
  updated in the repo.  I would consider the thread to be the canonical

        Also, if I defined a sum type like `type ternary = True |
        False | Unkn' , what will be a correct way to write `if (x
        = True) then ...' (which is allowed in the new Core)?

  Here's a few suggestions:

  1. Define equality/compare functions using [`ppx_compare']
     │ type ternary = True | False | Unkn [@@deriving equal]
     │ let f x = if (equal_ternary x True) then ...
  2. Define equality/compare functions manually
     │ let equal_ternary t1 t2 =
     │   match t1, t2 with
     │   | True, True | False, False | Unkn, Unkn -> true
     │   | _ -> false
  3. Explicitly request polymorphic comparison operators using the
     `Poly' module:
     │ let f x = if (Poly.(=) x True) then ...

[`ppx_compare'] <>

Trung said and Aaron L. Zeng replied


        │ type ternary = True | False | Unkn [@@deriving equal]

        should be: `[@@deriving eq]'

  That depends on which preprocessor you are using.  `[@@deriving
  equal]' comes from ppx_compare, whereas `[@@deriving eq]' comes from
  [ppx_deriving].  Base/Core and the like have better support for the
  former, which is a Jane Street project, although you can feel free to
  use the latter—the naming conventions are different, so it may not be
  as convenient.

[ppx_deriving] <>

New release of js_of_ocaml 3.6.0


Hhugo announced

  I'm pleased to announce the release [Js_of_ocaml] 3.6.0.

  Js_of_ocaml is a compiler from OCaml bytecode to JavaScript. It makes
  it possible to run pure OCaml programs in JavaScript environment like
  browsers and Node.js.

  Try it [online].

  Notable changes:
  • The `js_of_ocaml' compiler now accepts sub-commands (link,
    build-runtime, build-fs, ..). The plan for future versions is to
    remove other binary (e.g. jsoo_link) and consolidate everything
    inside the `js_of_ocaml' binary itself.
  • The standard JavaScript runtime is now embedded in the compiler
    (findlib is no longer needed to locate it)
  • Add support for the Str library (Regular expressions and high-level
    string processing) shipped with the OCaml compiler
  • Change memory representation of `Int64.t' (you might need to update
    your JavaScript stubs)
  • Many bug fixes (thanks to many more tests)

[Js_of_ocaml] <>


Kirill Alexander Khalitov asked and Hhugo replied

        1 Does the project have roadmap?

  There is no official roadmap, the project evolves based on issues,
  requests and contributions.  You can take a look at some of the
  [Github issues]

        2 Is the project generally exists only for Ocsigen needs?

  js_of_ocaml is used by various projects, not only Ocsigen. See
  [Bonsai], [sketch-sh] or [jscoq] for instance.

        3 Will it be adopted for modern front-end development
        (commonjs/esmodules compatibility for working with
        existing building tools ex. webpack, etc).

  Being more friendly with the JavaScript ecosystem as been discussed
  here and there in the past but little has been done, possibly by lack
  of interest or use cases.

        4 Does the project competing with bucklescript?

  I don't think so. The two projects have different goals and different
  audience. One of Js_of_ocaml main goal is to stay as close as possible
  to the official OCaml semantic, allowing to leverage existing OCaml
  libraries without any modification.

        5 Why not to do ocaml to js compiler tools (based on
        js_of_ocaml and bucklescript experience) that combine
        possibility of using native ocaml and js libraries across
        back-end and front-end like implemented in Scala.js/Fable

  I don't understand this question. I would expect both js_of_ocaml and
  bucklescript to be like Scala.js/Fable F# in their own way.

[Github issues]

[Bonsai] <>

[sketch-sh] <>

[jscoq] <>

Kirill Alexander Khalitov then said

  I mean what Scala.js/Fable F# allows to use the most native libraries
  (not all) and JS ones (from npm registry or from custom JS module) in
  one project (ex. front-end). But in case of js_of_ocaml we limited to
  native OCaml libs and "HTML scripts" (not JS compatible modules). For
  bucklescript case we have whole JS ecosystem but have no access to
  useful native libs from opam registry.

Xavier Van de Woestyne replied

  In Js_of_OCaml, you can deal with JavaScript's module (and npm/yarn),
  using for example:

  │ (* val require : string -> 'a *)
  │ let require module_name =
  │   let open Js.Unsafe in
  │   fun_call
  │     (js_expr "require")
  │     [|inject (Js.string module_name)|]

Other OCaml News

>From the ocamlcore planet blog

  Here are links from many OCaml blogs aggregated at [OCaml Planet].

  • [Every proof assistant]
  • [opam 2.0.7 release]
  • [opam 2.1.0 alpha is here!]

[OCaml Planet] <>

[Every proof assistant]

[opam 2.0.7 release]

[opam 2.1.0 alpha is here!]


  If you happen to miss a CWN, you can [send me a message] and I'll mail
  it to you, or go take a look at [the archive] or the [RSS feed of the

  If you also wish to receive it every week by mail, you may subscribe

  [Alan Schmitt]

[send me a message] <>

[the archive] <>

[RSS feed of the archives] <>

[online] <>

[Alan Schmitt] <>

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