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[Caml-list] Alternative proposal: COAN
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Date: 2003-02-28 (10:53)
From: Sven Luther <luther@d...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Alternative proposal: COAN
On Fri, Feb 28, 2003 at 06:20:16PM +0900, Jacques Garrigue wrote:
> * Easy installation means that you should be able to download, compile
>   and install the desired ocaml program or library in one single
>   command, including all the dependencies.
>   This does not mean that a binary should be available. A binary will
>   only work with a single version of ocaml and all dependencies, which

Yes, but notice that this may also be true for the source version, which
sometimes need to be changed between sucessive ocaml versions. Also,
this does not take into account the fact that the libraries you may use
will change also from time to time.

I have been confronted with this problem quite a bit, and i think we
need to move to something where each library (and ocaml suite) can
advertize its compatibility version. Something akin to the sonames used
by C shared libraries.

I began this move for the ocaml debian package in december, by moving
the libdir to /usr/lib/ocaml/3.06, and have planes to have fully
parallel instalable ocaml packages by the time 3.07 and debian/sarge are

The libdir is only one thing, but there are also the binaries to take
into acount, most important among them is ocamlrun. I would encourage a
move from ocamlrun to ocamlrun-<version> in the standard install, or at
least a configure option to add the version number to all binaries.

The aim of this is to be able to still keep bytecode executables around
which were compiled for older versions, even when you are working with
the new version.

>   is way too restrictive. Binaries may be provided on a by OS basis,
>   but then it is much more comfortable for users to use the packaging
>   system provided by the OS (tgz on FreeBSD, rpms on redhat, deb on
>   debian, pkg on OSX, ??? on windows...) If the basic framework is
>   right, that work should be easy enough.

You know that there are at least 3 BSD ports of debian, not yet
official though. There is also work on debian/mingw, and debian/djpp
(for plain dos).

> * Dependency resolution and automatic recompilation/reinstallation is
>   the core of the problem.
>   When you modify an ocaml library, all its dependencies have to be
>   recompiled. You certainly want to automate this, and have some
>   foolproof system to be able to go back to a stable state. This is
>   also an area where a bit of compiler "support" may become necessary.
>   At least, have different library directories for different version
>   of ocaml, ideally some scheme a la OSX to install several versions
>   of the same package in parallel.

Yes, i agree with you on that.


Sven Luther
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