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Why don't you use batteries?
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Date: 2009-09-05 (10:23)
From: Gaius Hammond <gaius@g...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Why don't you use batteries?

On 5 Sep 2009, at 10:44, David Allsopp wrote:

> Using a very simple analysis from
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_desktop_operating_systems,
> 97.14%[1] of the computers in the world run an OS which does not  
> have a
> "Linux"-style package manager (very sad, but true). Therefore a one- 
> click
> installer should be a higher priority than supporting package  
> managers *if*
> you want wider adoption of the system at all. Many developers will  
> be using
> Windows whether they want to or not (or OS X - though I apologise if  
> OS X
> does in fact have a package manager; please subtract 4.59% the  
> previous
> number if it does) because they'll be in companies whose IT  
> infrastructure
> is Windows, even if they have a few *nix boxes in the machine room  
> "for
> those weird developers".

I do most of my development on Solaris, we operate a variety of OSs in  
production including Solaris, various Linuxes, various Windows  
versions. To deploy Python code, I say to the sysadmins, "can you drop  
ActivePython on these boxes" and they do, it's a snap, and it all  
works the same everywhere. That is a big factor in language adoption.  
I think we can all agree that Perl and Java are horrible languages,  
but they're ubiquitous because of this.

In my OCaml environment, Oracaml has to be built with SunStudio  
(because it links against C++ code, Oracle's OCCI libraries, compiled  
with SunStudio). Plplot has to be built with GCC. Pcre doesn't work  
with the Pcre library package from Blastwave (this is a repository of  
Solaris software a la GODI), you have to compile the C from source and  
forego the benefits of package management. Plplot isn't happy with  
OCaml 3.08 and Oracaml isn't happy with 3.11 (tho' this is fixable,  
it's a symptom of it being abandoned, do I dare rely on it for real  
work?). I could go on...

For me the benefits of OCaml do outweigh these factors for my own use  
- that is code written by me for my own and my team's use on the main  
machine we share for our work. I can't even contemplate using OCaml to  
be deployed elsewhere in the organization - I'd have to become nearly  
a full time build engineer to support it!

> Also personally, when I come across a piece of software that offers a
> live-CD or virtual appliance as a means of demonstration it makes me  
> look
> elsewhere as to me it implies that installation and maintenance is so
> complicated that it's made the developers go to the trouble of  
> building a
> demo PC (albeit virtual!) just to guarantee that it works properly  
> first
> time... but that's probably "just me".

No, you've hit the nail on the head here.