F# Goes Open Source

by Miguel de Icaza

Last week, Don Syme announced that Microsoft has open sourced the F# compiler and the F# core libraries under the Apache 2 license.

In addition, on Tuesday, Don also announced a new release that fixes a handful of bugs specifically for users targeting Mono.

F# is a fascinating language, but I had not really spent much time with it as we could not really distribute it as an open source compiler limiting its usefulness in the Linux and Mac worlds. Now F# can become just another language that developers can use.

F# supports asynchronous programming today, and it was the inspiration for C# 5.0's async support. There is no need to wait for C# 5 to come out, you can start using async workflows today with F# everywhere.

MonoDevelop plugin

At the F# in Education workshop Tomas Petricek announced his MonoDevelop add-in for F#. Although he has not released a binary add-in, the source code to his plugin is available here. It provides intellisense, parameter documentation, on-the-flight error underlying and support for the F# interactive shell from the IDE.

Distributing F#

Our plan is to distribute F# as part of Mono for both OSX and Linux. This will take some time, in the meantime, check fsxplat.codeplex.com for instructions on how to get started with F# on MacOS and Linux.

It will likely run out of the box on Mono/Android and Mono/Wii. Since F# uses generics extensively, we do not know if it can be used to target the iPhone or the PS3 as both require Mono's full static compiler. We will be evaluating this in the coming weeks.

Don, minutes after open sourcing F# enjoying a tasty meal.

F# Resources

These resources are straight from Don's blog:

Posted on 11 Nov 2010