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Re: [Caml-list] OCaml on Debian or Ububtu (reprise)
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Date: -- (:)
From: Chad Perrin <perrin@a...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] OCaml on Debian or Ububtu (reprise)
On Sun, Dec 17, 2006 at 07:28:52PM +0100, Philippe Wang wrote:
> Bill Wood wrote :
> >Rats!  I fat-fingered the original post with this subject big time; my
> >apologies.  Of course, I'm interested in asking this community about
> >OCaml on Debian or Ubuntu.
> >
> >Again, apologies for the mixup.
> I don't think you should choose your linux distrib just because of that...
> Ubuntu and Debian don't aim the same kind of users.

That's definitely true.  For instance, Ubuntu aims to make it easier to
get started, while Debian aims to make getting started fit your
preferences more exactly; Ubuntu is more for people who want everything
to "just work" from the very beginning, while Debian is more for people
who want everything to "just keep working" once you get it working in
the first place; Ubuntu better serves those who want the most common
software available all the time by default without any effort, while
Debian better serves those who want the widest range of software to
choose from, and do not mind having to choose from amongst those options
to get precisely what they want; Ubuntu tends to better suit people who
don't want to have to think about security at all, while Debian tends to
better suit people who want the best security configuration they can
get, and are willing to spend time tweaking the system to suit their
needs; Ubuntu generally provides more cutting-edge software than the
more stable release branches of Debian, while Debian generally provides
better tested package compatibility and more edge-case software to suit
uncommon needs; et cetera.

Some of this may apply to OCaml, and how you intend to make use of
OCaml.  For instance, assuming strong support for OCaml in both Ubuntu
and Debian, Ubuntu is likely to get new versions of OCaml tools,
libraries, and parsers more quickly than the main Debian release
branches (Stable and Testing, specifically), while with Debian they're
likely to be more stable when first introduced.  Also, while wholly new
tools related to OCaml development will be more likely to be eventually
included in Debian, they'll typically show up more quickly in Ubuntu (if
they show up at all).

> On both, there are many OCaml users and there is no reason why one would 
> be worse for OCaml.
> However, maybe Ubuntu community is more active now as it is _the_ fast 
> spreading linux distribution !

More active?  Are you sure about that?  It sees greater growth rates,
but it'll need to see the same disparity in growth rates in
knowledgeable people for years to approach the size and richness of the
Debian community.  It's huge -- by far the largest Linux distribution
community in existence -- and the community tends toward a higher
average level of technical expertise specifically because the two
distributions are (as you say) aimed at different types of users.

> Make your choice for other reasons, like file systems (debian only 
> supports ext2 ext3 and reiserfs when you install it, while ubuntu 
> supports more FSs...)

I'm afraid you must not be very familiar with the current state of
affairs in Debian.  For the last three years, I've been using XFS, from
a choice of more than a half-dozen different filesystem types, with
Debian installs.  JFS, FAT, and other filesystem types are also

> Well, maybe this mailing list is not the right place to ask such a 
> question ;-)

Sure it is.  His question was about OCaml support.  Both Debian and
Ubuntu support OCaml in their official package repositories.  It's a
good question, and now it's answered.

OCaml support in Debian is excellent.  It's rock-solid, in fact.  Ubuntu
tends to be a little bit less reliable in terms of its less-mainstream
packages, but that doesn't mean that its OCaml support is lacking -- I
haven't tried using OCaml on Ubuntu, so you'll have to get such
information from someone else.  As you (Philippe Wang) seem to indicate,
OCaml support is at least "good enough" in Ubuntu, in which case I agree
that choice of distribution should probably be based on some other factor
if the field of options before you is Ubuntu and Debian (though as I
pointed out above it's possible that the differences in Ubuntu and
Debian might still play a role in making the best choice).

CCD CopyWrite Chad Perrin [ ]
Brian K. Reid: "In computer science, we stand on each other's feet."