What is this OCaml thing?

When reading through the F# spec, you will see plenty of references to it’s inspiration language, Objective Caml, aka OCaml. If you want to learn more about OCaml, and by extension F#, you may find the OCaml book from O’Reilly handy. This appears to be the complete, English translation of the book… all 757 pages. I was a little curious about what OCaml is and why it exists. Fortunately, Google knew the answer. It pointed me to A History of Caml. Briefly:

“Caml” was originally an acronym for Categorical Abstract Machine Language. It was a pun on CAM, the Categorical Abstract Machine, and ML, the family of programming languages to which Caml belongs. The name Caml has remained throughout the evolution of the language, even though the present implementation has no relation with the CAM.

Apparently, OCaml was released in 1996. The fact that we are seeing it appear in .NET today as F# is nothing short of amazing. I wonder if F# projects will ever qualify for the OCaml Success Stories page.

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