Ruby on Rails support in Intrepid - call for reviewers and cheerleaders

Darren Hinderer darren.hinderer at
Fri Aug 22 05:50:07 BST 2008

Thanks for your work Neil!

The ruby community is very much a bleeding edge group of developers,
and so waiting 6 months between releases is really not useful. When I
do my rails development on hardy, I install ruby, mysql, and ruby gems
from apt, and from there use straight gems.


On Wed, Aug 20, 2008 at 7:31 AM, Stephan Hermann <sh at> wrote:
> On Wed, Aug 20, 2008 at 02:07:46PM +0100, Neil Wilson wrote:
>> Scott,
>> I'm trying to avoid the wheres and wherefores of what gem is about.
>> Suffice to say that Rails depends upon effective gem support, such
>> that the configuration of Rails can specify gem dependencies directly.
>> So if Ubuntu wants Rails, it has to have Gem that works. Therefore I
>> saw my task as trying to get gem to work as a user would expect it to
>> work without gem destroying the operating system, leaving cruft lying
>> around the filesystem in the wrong place and try and prevent it
>> running into itself too much
>> It's an exercise in containment.
> What about teaching ROR to use an overlay, especially for the webapp you
> code for?
> I mean, the problem with gem is's nasty...
> afaik gem can do something like a destdir install somehow (when I'm not
> mistaken and my mind is working in normal parameters, and my knowledge
> from old ROR times is still valid).
> If you have such a structure:
> /var/www/ROR_App1/<... std ror dirs ...>
> /var/www/ROR_App1/gems/<gem1> ...
> this gems dir will be used as overlay, so somehow it needs to be
> possible to LD_PRELOAD/LD_LIBRARY_PATH this directory (via config in
> apache2/lighty/whereever)
>> >>What are you referring to exactly ? Which use case do you have in mind ?
>> >
>> >It's my understanding that gems produces one complete package (gem) with
>> >all Ruby libs needed to run the application and that there is no internal
>> >notion of versioning.
>> Think of gem as a source package that generates binary packages on the
>> fly. It has notions of build dependencies with other gems (including
>> versioning) and run dependencies.
>> One thing it can do is manage several versions of the same gem on the
>> machine at the same time.
>> For example the Rails gem depends upon the rake, activesupport,
>> activerecord, actionpack, actionmailer and actionresource gems. You
>> can install multiple different versions (usually one of each minor
>> revision - 1.2.6, 2.0.2 and 2.1.0) and gem will ensure that the
>> correct versions of the dependent gems are brought in at run time.
> As long as gems are only delivering their own binaries...
> But gems are much more, you can include complete (one or more) upstream
> packages (I had this at one ocasion, there was this imagemagick gem and
> this module was only working with a special imagemagick version, so it
> shipped it together with the other cruft, but instead of installing it
> somewhere where this imagemagick lib didn't hurt, it was just a smartass
> and installed it in /usr/lib, overwriting the distro imagemagick).
> This gem package didn't respect: DESTDIR, neither it respected the
> ./configure --prefix=<...> it destroyed other apps...but
> this wasn't documented anywhere, btw.
> so, having an overlay dir, where those gems can be installed without
> disturbing the other software, fine...but not as it is now, and not
> installing their stuff into /usr/local/lib or into /opt/foo....
> Regards,
> \sh
> --
> Stephan '\sh' Hermann           | OSS Developer & Systemadministrator
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