I'd be a bit more impressed with ML if there were more kick-ass ML programs out there. If it's really everything (some) people say it is, even with its small user base there should be great things being produced with it.
But anyway, I certainly wouldn't group ML with Java. I'd probably put it alongside Lisp, as an interesting language with a lot of power possibilities, that is hampered by its accessibility. ML's typing system certainly has very different motivations than Java's.
Sure. ML probably should be more mainstreamy (though OCaml IIRC does just that). The Lisp and FP communities (I guess) consist more of scientists/math people than programmers, so there are no real app repositories, although there seems to be work on that.
I wouldn't group ML and Java either (God, no!), but their static typing solves lots of problems in my experience (Java much less, though).# Mr Bitching, again