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Installing OCaml


The Homebrew package manager has an OPAM installer, which is usually updated pretty quickly to the latest stable release. The Perl-compatible Regular Expression library (PCRE) is used by the Core_extended suite, so you will want to install that as well.

$ brew install ocaml
$ brew install pcre

Another popular package manager on MacOS X is MacPorts, which also has an OCaml port:

$ port install ocaml
$ port install ocaml-pcre

Debian Linux

On Debian Linux, you should install OCaml via binary packages. You'll need at least OCaml version 3.12.1 to bootstrap OPAM, which means using Debian Wheezy or greater. Don't worry about getting the absolute latest version of the compiler, as you just need one new enough to compile the OPAM package manager, after which you use OPAM to manage your compiler installation.

$ sudo apt-get install ocaml ocaml-native-compilers camlp4-extra
$ sudo apt-get install git libpcre3-dev curl build-essential m4

Notice that we've installed a few more packages than just the OCaml compiler here. The second command line installs enough system packages to let you build your own OCaml packages. You may find that some OCaml libraries require more system libraries (for example, libssl-dev), but we'll highlight these in the book when we introduce the library.

Building from source

To install OCaml from source code, first make sure that you have a C compilation environment (usually either gcc or llvm installed)

$ curl -OL
$ tar -zxvf ocaml-4.00.1.tar.gz
$ cd ocaml-4.00.1
$ ./configure
$ make world world.opt
$ sudo make install

The final step requires administrator privilege to install in your system directory. You can also install it in your home directory by passing the prefix option to the configuration script:

$ ./configure -prefix $HOME/my-ocaml

Once the installation is completed into this custom location, you will need to add $HOME/my-ocaml/bin to your PATH, normally by editing the ~/.bash_profile file. You shouldn't really to do this unless you have special reasons, so try to install binary packages before trying a source installation.

Installing OPAM


OPAM maintains multiple compiler and library installations, but
this can clash with a global installation of the `ocamlfind` tool.
Uninstall any existing copies of `ocamlfind` before installing

OPAM manages multiple simultaneous OCaml compiler and library installations, tracks library versions across upgrades, and recompiles dependencies automatically if they get out of date. It's used throughout Real World OCaml as the mechanism to retrieve and use third-party libraries.

Before installing OPAM, make sure that you have the OCaml compiler installed as described above. Once installed, the entire OPAM database is held in your home directory (normally $HOME/.opam). If something goes wrong, just delete this .opam directory and start over from a clean slate. If youre using a version of OPAM you've installed previously, please ensure you have at least version 0.9.3 or greater.


Source installation of OPAM will take a minute or so on a modern machine. There is a Homebrew package for the latest OPAM:

$ brew update
$ brew install opam

And on MacPorts, install it like this:

$ port install opam

Debian Linux

There are experimental binary packages available for Debian Wheezy/amd64. Just add the following line to your /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb wheezy main

When this is done, update your packages and install OPAM. You can ignore the warning about unsigned packages, which will disappear when OPAM is upstreamed into Debian mainline.

# apt-get update
# apt-get install opam

From source

If the binary packages aren't suitable, you need to install the latest OPAM release from source. The distribution only requires the OCaml compiler to be installed, so this should be pretty straightforward. Download the latest version, which is always marked with a stable tag on the project homepage.

$ curl -OL
$ tar -zxvf latest.tar.gz
$ cd opam-latest
$ ./configure && make
$ sudo make install

Setting up OPAM

The entire OPAM package database is held in the .opam directory in your home directory, including compiler installations. On Linux and MacOS X, this will be the ~/.opam directory. You shouldn't switch to an admin user to install packages as nothing will be installed outside of this directory. IMPORTANT: If you run into problems, just delete the whole ~/.opam directory and follow the installations instructions from the opam init stage again.

$ opam init
$ opam switch 4.01.0dev+trunk

The first command line gets OPAM up and running, the second one will download and install a more up-to-date version of the compiler. The +short-types patch described above greatly improves error messages that would be encountered with using Core and Async. (As of 4.01, this compiler variant should be obsolete.)

You'll then need to install the necessary libraries to use this example. You can do that by typing:

$ opam install async core_extended

When you're done here, look at the instructions in the README to see what to do next.