Unix system programming in OCaml book
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ocamlunix — Unix System Programming in OCaml

Release !!VERSION!!

ocamlunix is the english translation of Xavier Leroy and Didier Rémy's Unix system programming course.

ocamlunix is distributed under a Creative Commons by-nc-sa license. For the details see the file LICENSE.

Project home page : http://ocaml.github.io/ocamlunix
Contact & typos : Daniel Bünzli daniel.buenzl i@erratique.ch


To generate the documents you will need in your $PATH :

  1. An OCaml distribution with ocamlbuild (i.e. at least version 3.10).
  2. A recent TeX distribution (tested with TeX Live 2008).
  3. And for the HTML version: HeVeA (tested with version 1.10), ghostscript (tested with version 8.63)

Document generation

From the root directory of the distribution the following commands can be issued to build the various versions of the document (ocamlbuild can be used directly instead of ./build)

> ./build ocamlunix.pdf    # PDF version
> ./build ocamlunix.html   # Monolithic HTML
> ./build index.html       # HTML by chapters

The results are in the directory _build/src. To generate all versions of the document you can simply type :

> ./build

The result can be installed in the $INSTALLDIR directory by typing :

> INSTALLDIR=/path/to/instal/dir ./build install

if $INSTALLDIR is left unspecified +ocamlunix is used.

The target install doesn't install the archive with the sources, use install-distrib for that. For example to publish to the website do :

 > INSTALLDIR=/path/to/www ./build install-distrib

The _build directory can be removed by typing

 > ./build clean

Quick guide to the distribution

src/ contains the tex sources from which the HTML version and the PDF version are generated. Most chapters are in their own file. They are aggregated by the master file ocamlunix.tex which also contains useful macros common to both versions. This is also the place where you'll want to comment out chapters while working on a specific one to reduce compilation times.

Layout and macros distinctions between the HTML and the PDF version are respectively in the file prelude.hva and prelude.sty. Minor layout and content distinctions are performed using the macros \ifhtml, \ifhtmlelse and \ifnothtml.


Pictures are created with the PGF/TikZ package. For the HTML version they are first extracted via the preview package (invoke the target ocamlunix-image.pdf) and then converted to pngs with ghostscript (invoke the target ocaml-image.pngs). This is handled automatically when one of the HTML versions is build.

Code extraction

The environments listingcodefile and codefile (the contents of the latter being invisible in the final document) allow to write code in the file specified as an argument to the environment. This code is in fact written to the file _build/src/ocamlunix.code. By building the target:

> ./build ocamlunix.extract

The contents of this file will be extracted to the code/ directory of the distribution. Once this is done programs can be built e.g. by typing :

> ./build echo.native

The result will be in the _build/code/ directory. If you use the build script (vs. ocamlbuild directly), trying to build a *.native or *.byte will automatically build the ocamlunix.extract target.

Translation credits

  • Chapter — translator / proofreader
  • Generalities — Eliot Handelman / Prashanth Mundkur
  • Files — Richard Paradies (reworked by Daniel C. Buenzli) / Erik de Castro Lopo
  • Processes — Mark Wong-VanHaren / Anil Madhavapeddy
  • Signals — Thad Meyer / David Allsopp
  • Pipes — Daniel C. Buenzli / John Clements
  • Sockets — Till Varoquaux, Priya Hattiangdi and Prashanth Mundkur (reworked by Daniel C. Buenzli) / Prashanth Mundkur
  • Threads — Eric Cooper / Prashanth Mundkur
  • Remaining text — Daniel C. Buenzli / Prashanth Mundkur