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Packaging OCaml for Linux
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Date: -- (:)
From: Jacques Garrigue <garrigue@m...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Packaging OCaml for Linux
From: Matt Gushee <>

> I recently decided to try a new Linux distribution--Arch--and
> quickly became an enthusiastic convert. Now, I've noticed that there is
> no OCaml package for Arch Linux, and I would like to provide one. I'd
> like to hear the community's opinion on a couple of questions:
> 1) Which OCaml distribution should be the basis for the Linux package:
>    the basic distribution from INRIA, or GODI? Why do you think so?

GODI is probably difficult to make into a package: it is a package
manager itself.
On the other hand, if you provide GODI, then you don't need to package
anything else. That's the goal: not having to repackage all ocaml
libraries for every platform.

> 2) What about LablTk? Should it be included, excluded? Should I break it
>    into a separate package, as is often done with Python/Tkinter? Is
>    that even possible with OCaml?

You should be aware that ocamlbrowser (which is included in the
distribution) depends on LablTk. So if you remove labltk from the
package, default users will not get it.

I don't know how packaging works on Arch Linux.
With FreeBSD ports, you can set options when building packages, so
that you only remove labltk if you don't have X11, or your don't want
Tcl/Tk on your hard-disk.

(Actually, I have a problem with the minimalistic approach to
packaging on Linux. You often end-up having libraries installed with
partial configurations (less than your system supports) and without
headers. And then you must go around looking for the missing bits.
Gosh, hard-disks are not that small...)

> 3) Is there anything in the OCaml license that creates problems for a
>    Linux distribution package?

The QPL is open-source certified, so this should be OK, but maybe some
distributions only accept the GPL...

> 4) Any other "gotchas" I should be aware of?

Once you've started packaging, it must be maintained.
OCaml releases often happen in summer...

Jacques Garrigue