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Date: -- (:)
From: David Teller <David.Teller@u...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] The OCaml Community (aka back from the Developer Days)
On Mon, 2008-01-28 at 01:38 +0100, Oliver Bandel wrote:
> Hi!
> I'm not clear if I understand you correctly.
> Would that mean that the standard-libs will be thrown off the
> OCaml-distribution, and the bare compiler will be available
> from INRIA?
> All other things are coming from the "community"?
> If so, I would not be happy about it.

>From what I understand, what is commonly regarded as the standard libs
would not be thrown off the distribution. On the other hands, things
like LablTk or OCamlBrowser might be considered for separate

> I have no problem with the standard-lib as it is now.
> Every person who wants to use extlib and such things,
> can use it, but nobody must use it.
> I prefer the standard distribution.
> Possibly, when I decide to use extlib or other things,
> I can do, but it's my choice.
> If the currently distributed OCaml distribution would
> be split into the core compiler and external libs,
> then the Core-distribution alone does not help so much.
> One plus of OCaml's distribution as it is now, is, that it compiles good
> out of the box. One tgz-package and all is well.
> when things are split up to many packages, this makes
> a lot of trouble in installation - a thing, which I do not like.
> I'm a prigrammer, not an administrator, and so I prefer
> easy installation.
> If I need extras, I CAN use them, but I can stay with the
> standard-distribution, and all works well.

Let me rephrase the idea.
At the moment, OCaml follows a model comparable to the JDK:
* One True Distribution
* every single file in the distribution is managed by INRIA (e.g. at the
moment, that .5 person full-time)
* bug reports are managed by INRIA
* nothing from the distribution may be fixed or improved by

The opposite model is the Linux model:
* a small number of developers concentrate on the kernel
* the kernel may be downloaded by itself although that's only
interesting for few people
* a large number of developers work on everything besides the kernel
* yet other developers consider the work of the previous group, test it,
manage and turn it into distributions
* most people don't even know that the kernel may be downloaded alone,
because they choose from a distribution.

The idea, here, is to *eventually* move from a JDK model to a Linux
model. Large steps have already been undertaken in that direction, with
GODI, the Debian packages, the Fedora packages, etc. The next step would
be to make this the official way of getting OCaml for the end-user. Of
course, this requires solving a number of problems, such as Windows
binaries, etc.

> What, if different external libs are not fitting together?
> This may bring a lot of installation-annoyance.

Well, that's part of the difficulties :)

> > * binaries & installers
> > * testing
> > * code repositories (Ã  la CPAN)
> Yes, a CPAN-like thing would be good.

CPAN-like things are being discussed. Sylvain Le Gall has ideas and some
of the infrastructure ready, so we're waiting for him to start a thread
on this subject.

(I hope I answered your other concerns above)

> > * deciding standard practices (e.g. Unicode)
> > * expanding the platform (e.g. development environments, DSLs)
> > * maintaining FAQs and tutorials
> The reference manual for the OCaml as it is now,
> IMHO should be done more verbose and up-to-date.
> I think on the OCaml-C-part when writing this sentence...

Well, don't hesitate to start your own thread on this subject whenever
we have bootstrapped the process :)

> > * evangelism...
> I try to avoid this more and more... I already have convinced some
> people, but since a while I started to avoid such evangelism
> and better concentrate on my own... so I will use it,
> if possible; if others don't want, they can use Java or Perl. ;-)

Well, the main point was that INRIA isn't in charge of evangelism. 

> So, I hope changes will be done carefully, so that
> OCaml will stay safe/secure/reliable and easy to install.

Well, I only have good things to say about installing OCaml in Debian or


David Teller
 Security of Distributed Systems
 Angry researcher: French Universities need reforms, but the LRU act brings liquidations.