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 From:  Jesse Guardiani <jesse at wingnet dot net>
 To:  m0n0wall at lists dot m0n0 dot ch
 Subject:  RE: thoughts on PHP as an rc system?
 Date:  Thu, 24 Feb 2005 10:30:58 -0500
Braden McGrath wrote:

> While I'm not a m0n0 developer, I'd like to make a few observations
> about PHP as an RC system.
> The biggest thing in my head is that it *only* makes sense if you need
> PHP on the system for some other reason.  On many small, embedded
> applications, you do NOT have PHP because you don't have a webserver...
> and in those cases it makes no sense.  However, since m0n0 already has
> php involved for the entire GUI, why not?

I think this is a good opportunity for me to explain in more detail
*why* I'm asking this question:

I'm not a big fan of PHP. In general, I think it's slow, insecure, and
sloppy. However, one of the main things it has going for it is popularity.
(I like Perl even less, so don't try to sell me on a Perl subsystem!)

My language of choice these days is OCaml. OCaml is fast, secure, and
incredibly flexible. In addition, OCaml can be used as a web language,
just like PHP. However, one of the major things OCaml has going AGAINST
it is UN-popularity. It's an ML language and the syntax is incredibly
obscure and difficult for most proceedural programmers to grasp at first.
For example, being a C/C++ programmer, I learned Perl in two weeks. In
contrast, it took about two months for me to learn OCaml, and I still
struggle with the functional paradigm on a fairly regular basis.

That said, I think it would be a very cool research project to rewrite
m0n0wall's PHP scripts in OCaml. However, I'm not interested in simply
throwing away months of my life for no good reason. If I do rewrite
m0n0wall's PHP scripts in OCaml, I fully expect that I would be the
only person interested, if not capable, of maintaining the OCaml code.
So I would need a reason. A problem in need of solving.

So, before doing something stupid, I'm curious: Is there really anything
that m0n0wall's PHP system lacks that is PHP's fault? Or are the people
who are intimately familiar with m0n0wall's PHP system really pretty
darn happy with it? If it's found lacking, if there are obvious problems
that genuinely need solutions, then that would be enough of an excuse
for me to mentally justify spending the time in the name of research.
But if everyone is really happy with the PHP system, then I guess I
would be better off writing PHP code to better the existing project...

Jesse Guardiani, Systems Administrator
WingNET Internet Services,
P.O. Box 2605 // Cleveland, TN 37320-2605
423-559-LINK (v)  423-559-5145 (f)