I maintain Emacs ada-mode, which has some Ada code that users must compile. The biggest source of problems reported by users is incompaiblities among the AdaCore packages and compiler versions. Having only one distribution to deal with makes this much simpler, especially since the Alire ada-mode package can specify what versions of dependencies to use. I can provide the Alire package - i can’t provide packages for all of the other distributions.
I do not feel strongly to keep these things available in the OS package manager. I’m ok with using “apt install gnat” and “apt install gprbuild”, and then also install vscodium (https://vscodium.com/) together with the Ada extension for writing Ada code. I use a virtual machine with GNAT Community Edition 2019 for using AdaControl which is then already a very powerful version of AdaControl. I really love GNAT Studio but it may be hard to build from sources and thus hard to maintain for a package manager. What I think is important is that it should be super easy to get started with Ada development on a platform.
Thanks Stephen, I didn’t interpret it like that but I believe you are right. What’s important is that it should be easy to get started. Inspired by your message I installed alire and tried it out. Very easy to get started. Even removing gnat and gprbuild from debian packages is OK for me too.
I understand that maintaining that packages is a lot of work and getting use to Alire will help a lot. But I will miss the debian way of installation. Alire is missing a guide on what to install to have a nice platform to start with Ada/SPARK and I used AdaCore’s latest community package to get some hints what might be missing.
It may be coincidence but I had issues with the debian packages compared to Alire. Of course not all projects are meant for Alire yet. That aside. I do think that having an Alire binary in the repos might serve as an Ada advertisement when users are searching in a package manager.