Recently I was looking for an Ocaml solution for the Nexus 7. There are a couple of ocaml top-levels available but neither offer the ability to open packages or support for opam. Enter gnuroot.

The excellent gnuroot application enables a linux image to be run alongside Android on an unrooted device. I determined to use this to install a full ocaml development environment and then to install the iocaml package and the hardcaml package to support hardware design. iocaml is used to serve an iocaml notebook to an Android web-browser providing a great graphical development environment complete with any opam packages that you decide to install.

The procedure to get this all running is documented below and has been tested on a 2nd generation Nexus 7 and a Minix Neo X7 media hub. It should work on any Android device with enough memory. A bluetooth keyboard is a very useful addition!

  • Install gnuroot and the gnuroot debian wheezy or wheezyX image from the play store.

Open gnuroot and login using the fake root option. It is then necessary to install opam from sources.

$ apt-get update
$ apt-get install ca-certificates
$ cd ~
$ wget
$ apt-get install unzip
$ unzip
$ cd opam-master
$ apt-get install build-essential
$ apt-get install ocaml ocaml-findlib 
$ make lib-ext
$ ./configure
$ make
$ make install

I then install ocaml 4.01.0

$ opam init
$ opam switch 4.01.0

Install your editor of choice e.g apt-get install vim

Add the line … deb wheezy-backports main to sources.list.

$ vim /etc/apt/sources.list

Install library dependencies

$ apt-get install m4 zlib1g-dev libffi-dev libssl-dev libzmq3-dev

Finally install the opam packages iocaml and hardcaml.

$ opam install hardcaml iocaml

Execute iocaml and then access localhost:8888 from your Android web-browser.