Manage OCaml installations in your $HOME
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ocamlbrew - A tool for managing OCaml installations in $HOME

ocamlbrew aims to be a simple tool for getting up and running with various versions of OCaml. The concept, along with some basic code, is borrowed from perlbrew.


  • bash
  • OCaml's build requirements
  • Any non-OCaml dependencies required by other software selected for installation.
    • To fetch all depedencies coming from a fresh Ubuntu 12.04 installation:
      • sudo apt-get install curl m4
        • curl is for fetching files
        • m4 is required by findlib
    • BSD systems may require GNU make. Use the $OCAMLBREW_MAKE environment variable to specify the correct make or gmake executable to use.


Getting started

Using ocamlbrew is very easy. In its most basic form, ocamlbrew can run in a completely automated fashion:

curl -kL | bash

See for more installation options.

ocamlbrew will print the name of the log file where compilation output is being directed. This can be watched to track build progress and/or used for troubleshooting in case one of the build steps fails.

Configurable environment variables

ocamlbrew can be configured with several environment variables.

  • $OCAMLBREW_BASE The most important is $OCAMLBREW_BASE which defines the directory under which all software built and installed by ocamlbrew will reside. $OCAMLBREW_BASE defaults to $HOME/ocamlbrew.
  • $OCAMLBREW_LOGFILE Output from the build process will be directed to this file. This defaults to a randomly named file under $TMPDIR if defined or /tmp otherwise.
  • $OCAMLBREW_FLAGS This is only for installations which do not involve downloading ocamlbrew locally. This variable specifies which flags to pass to ocamlbrew. $OCAMLBREW_FLAGS defaults to -a.

Available command line flags

-h              Display this message
-b [path]       Use [path] as $OCAMLBREW_BASE
-v [version]    Install the given version of OCaml (i.e. 4.00.1)
-c "[flags]"    Flags to pass to OCaml's configure
-p [patch]      Patch to apply to OCaml
-a              Install everything with no prompts
-o              Install OCaml, no prompts
-f              Install OCaml and findlib, no prompts
-r              Install OCaml, findlib, and opam, no prompts
-x              Install OCaml, findlib, opam, and oasis (via opam), no prompts
-s [path]       Install OCaml from Subversion [path]
-g [url]        Install OCaml from Git [url]
-G [revision]   Checkout Git [revision] before build
-t              Install OCaml from Subversion trunk
-n [name]       Install under $OCAMLBREW_BASE/[name]

The build and installation will occur under $OCAMLBREW_BASE Subversion paths should be relative to

After installation

ocamlbrew will provide instructions on how to setup the newly installed OCaml environment once all build and installation steps are complete. After following those instructions, depending on the options selected at ocamlbrew startup, the OCaml toolchain, ocamlfind, opam, oasis, utop, and ocamlscript will be available from the shell environment.


ocamlbrew is distributed under the MIT license. See LICENSE for details.