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I took a liking to SML when working on a subversion-resistant development process and software configuration management system. The security requirements for tools was that verification of safe/secure usage is easy for humans and the executable matches the source. SML, with restricted coding style, is quite easy for humans to verify (vs C++) because of its syntax and high-level style. For source-to-binary verification, I found that the FLINT [1] team had a certifying compiler for SML along with verification of all sorts of stuff. The probability of it being backdoored was extremely slim and source was available. So, there you have it: SML & FLINT as solution to bootstrapping a subversion-resistant toolchain for use by mutually suspicious parties.

[1] http://flint.cs.yale.edu/flint/software.html

EDIT: Btw, thanks for the book!

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