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2  The new JoCaml

The new JoCaml system [14] is a re-implementation from scratch of the previous prototype [10]. The old JoCaml focussed on language expressiveness, by providing all the features of the underlying process calculus. In particular, the old system provides extensive support for the hierarchical location tree of the join-calculus, which acts as a model for the migration of processes from one computer to another. Implementing this feature has two consequences, which both hinder compatibility with OCaml:

  1. Code migration makes native code execution problematic1.
  2. Code migration implies extending the byte-code machine and the linking mechanism of OCaml, leading to serious incompatibilities at the binary level.

Besides, the extensive alterations performed over the version 1.07 of OCaml that was taken as a starting point for developing JoCaml, made it very difficult to follow the evolution of OCaml, of which current version is 3.10.

By contrast with the old system, the new JoCaml focusses on compatibility with OCaml. Briefly, we proceed by altering the OCaml compiler from parsing phase to first intermediate code generation, and by enriching the thread library of OCaml with specific support. Compiler alteration is justified by specific typing and pattern matching compilation [6, 13], which both need to be perform inside the compiler. Compiler alteration is limited in the sense that we change or add a few thousand lines in the compiler original source files, add a few source files, and retain the OCaml formats for binary files. Moreover, the JoCaml compiler produces compiled signatures files that are the same as the ones of OCaml, which is of crucial importance to the simple versioning policy of OCaml.

Our focus over compatibility and limited alteration of OCaml, made us abandon the mobility features of the join-calculus. Nevertheless, there are useful distributed programs that can be written without code mobility. Full compatibility with OCaml not only means that we can write such programs starting from existing, sequential, source code in OCaml, but it also means that the existing source code may call external libraries that need not be re-compiled.

The OCaml system does not provide just-in-time compilation

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