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Date: 2008-01-28 (21:29)
From: Dario Teixeira <darioteixeira@y...>
Subject: Alterlib? (was "Re: The OCaml Community")
> My understanding is that the benefits would come from having a richer,
> community developed "official" OCaml distribution.  So the stdlib
> would stay in place, but extra items would be included as well.  For
> example, package ExtLib and some commonly useful Camlp4 extensions
> along with the distribution .tar.gz/.exe/.dmg.  If I understood the
> meeting transcription in IRC, the official OCaml folks at INRIA would
> bless this as the proper way to get and install OCaml once the
> community structure is in place.


For compatibility reasons, Stdlib must be part of any standard Ocaml
distribution for the foreseeable future.  However, this does not
necessarily mean that the only community solution must be to provide
an ExtLib that complements Stdlib.  If it is felt that Stdlib+Extlib
does not fit well together (different conventions, etc), there is
always the option of creating "from scratch" a self-contained Alterlib
that incorporates everything you would wish from a standard library.
(note that I've written "from scratch" between commas because a lot
of code from Extlib and other open-source libraries could be reused).

Users who have heavily invested in Stdlib could continue using it;
others, however, could very well choose to ditch it altogether and
make sole use of Alterlib (with "-nopervasives", of course).

In short, here are the options:

a) modify Stdlib to suit the community's needs (complicated due
   to copyright issues and because INRIA does not have the manpower
   to effectively maintain all the additions);

b) keep Stdlib and put all the community's needs into Extlib
   (in a sense this the current situation; has the advantage of
   being straightforward; has the disadvantage that the APIs
   might not always go well together);

c) keep stdlib for compatibility reasons (INRIA's tarball must
   always include it), but provide a community built Alterlib
   that reimplements what's good about Stdlib together with
   stuff currently on Extlib (requires more work, but may
   result in a more modern, more consistent library)

Do I read the situation correctly?

Kind regards,
Dario Teixeira

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