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OSR - "Batteries included" - Standardizing syntax extensions and extra libraries
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Date: 2008-03-05 (11:41)
From: Alain Frisch <alain@f...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] OSR - "Batteries included" - Standardizing syntax extensions and extra libraries
Berke Durak wrote:
> It's not better.  It's not the same thing;  ocamlcs could indeed be 
> implemented
> with ocamlfind.

I think ocamlfind basically solves the technical aspect of this 
OCaml-OSR distribution (although if you are ready to add .cma or -pp 
flags explicitly, just installing all the selected libraries together in 
the same directory as OCaml stdlib would also work).

But of course, the real issues with an extended distribution are not 
technical. Btw, there has already been an attempt to maintain such a 
distribution several years ago (Google for "Caml Development Kit"). It 
might be wise to look at the reasons why it is no longer active.

Some of the issues that need to be addressed:

- what is the intended audience? The will influence both the selection 
process and the motivation of people putting efforts into the distribution.

- what is the process to select new libraries, or to remove existing 
ones? I can imagine that many libraries will have a few supporters and 
no strong opponent, so there is a risk/chance that OCaml-OSR will just 
end up incorporating a huge amount of libraries. It should be decided 
early whether this is a good thing or not.

- what is the policy w.r.t. to upgrades of libraries? It is very common 
that a new version of a library break existing code, so simply upgrading 
as soon as possible might not be the best choice. Should several 
versions of OCaml-OSR be maintained in parallel?

- what should be done when a library doesn't work out-of-the box for a 
new version of OCaml? Should it be removed (temporarily) so as to allow 
an early distribution of OCaml-OSR with the new OCaml?

- who's in charge of maintaining a web site, upgrading libraries, 
testing for several architecture, preparing releases, etc?  This is a 
lot of work, so a collaborative approach might be needed, but 
responsibilities need to be defined.

- will there be binary distributions? (Relying on Debian/Fedora/... 
OCaml developpers does not solve the question for Windows.

- will the addition/upgrade of a single library force to reinstall all 
of OCaml-OSR, or will the distribution be made modular?

- will there be a common place to find the documentation for all the 
selected packages?

- will libraries that depend on C code and/or external components be 

-- Alain