Posted on Aug 7, 2010

Exciting times for RubyInstaller project


I would like to summarize in this blog post what has been going on with RubyInstaller project and what is coming up.

On a previous post I mentioned we reached RubyInstaller goal of provide a stable installer and a series of tools to ease the life of Ruby developers using Windows.

Of course, perfection is a myth, and is good to know that you can always improve what you did before.

But, where to start?

Development Kit as installer

We start looking to what users said on Twitter, our group and of course the bug tracker. We noticed one of the big problems: the Development Kit and complicated instructions.

As you might know already, Windows do not come with development tools out of the box. Even more, if you opt for Microsoft ones (Visual Studio) you might end having issues with GNU tools or projects that do not support MSVC very good.

We took the approach of using Free Software, and base our work on GCC and MinGW project which made more easy for us redistribute things ready for you to use.

A proper DevKit installer is under works, at this time a 7z and self extracting packages can be generated, but the installer will do more stuff, which you find more about it in our group.

Upgrading to GCC 4.5.0

One of the reasons we moved from Visual C 6.0 to GCC was that the compiler was no longer available (and also cost money). Now, it is time to move to a newer version of GCC, to take advantage of specific optimization flags and improved debugger (GDB).

All the components which lack GCC binaries for Windows are built from source for RubyInstaller project.

You can checkout use-devkit branch at GitHub
use-devkit branch has been merged into master.

This proved two important things: our DevKit is able to compile out of the box some projects without tweaks, and two, we are eating our own food.

Getting ready for Ruby 1.9.2

Yes, Ruby 1.9.2 final is coming out soon, and we can say RubyInstaller provided a rc2 for experimentation 2 months ago, and we are building newer packages for further testing.

We hope be able to deliver RubyInstaller 1.9.2 binaries as soon 1.9.2 gets out.

We still need you, and your feedback

Please keep in mind all the contributors are doing all this work in their free time.

Help is always welcome and appreciated. There is not a specific set of skills required, just the willingness to help.

Feedback is important too, and will love hear from your experiences using RubyInstaller, no matter how weird or Rails-related is the thing you’re working on.

That’s all, as I said, exciting stuff coming soon.


  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Arjun Ghosh, Luis Lavena. Luis Lavena said: What is coming up for RubyInstaller project? Read it here #ruby #windows [...]

  • Hi Luis,
    its good to see the RubyInstaller project starting to reach Ruby version parity with other O/S platforms. I persisted with developing on Windows + Ruby for a long time, and nagged about the issues about it a while back ( RubyInstaller was a big improvement on the original Ruby 1-Click. Eventually I had to make the switch to ubuntu to make use of some essential libs for my project.

    I am on Ubuntu now, but will run through a 1.9.2 RubyInstaller. I am curious though – how comprehensive is the DevKit for installing gems from source? I never had the time to get the earlier versions to work within my time commitments.

    Its always been my thought that many of the source only gems were the true Achilles heel of any success of Ruby on Windows. Its good to see this reaching a turning point.

    Anyway Luis, this is good stuff. I fully appreciate that working on the Windows binaries for Ruby is an important but very thankless job. Windows deserves a proper Ruby impl. thanks for all the good work.

  • Luis says:

    Hello Richard,

    Thank you for your words. I remember replying to your article already, hehehe.

    As any compilation process, installing gems that use a C extension for performance (RedCloth, Mongrel, etc) should install without an issue.

    Gems that depends on external libraries and headers will always need them, no matter what platform you’re using.

    The good part of Linux is that you can apt-get and get development headers and libs needed by your gem. On Windows is a bit more tricky if these are available.

    We can’t solve all the problems, but at least try to reduce these situations.

  • Grzegorz Daniluk says:

    People wonder why MySQL is much more popular than Postgresql. For me the answer is obvious. There were no native Postgresql installation for Windows for many years. Windows is and will be dominant desktop OS for next ten years for sure. That’s why I think your job is very important for the Ruby community.

    It is impossible to port all libs to Windows. However it will be fine if most popular libraries are ported. It was really nice surprise when I used your Ruby installer and Postgresql driver worked out of the box. Currently I develop my pet project on Windows and deploy it on Ubuntu. And now I am waiting for 1.9.2 version.

    As for now I had only few problems with RubyInstaller. Some libraries still assume that there is only one windows platform “mswin” and don’t check for “mingw”. Hopefully that kind of problems are trivial to fix.

  • Peter says:

    Rubyinstaller is great. I use it regularly to do trunk builds of ruby for windows. The sandbox setup lets me build even when my system is setup for other things. I’m going to look at the use-devkit/gcc 4.5 builds now.

    Really useful work, thank you.

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  • Mariano says:

    Hola Luis, estoy tratando de instalar la version 1.8.7 en (Windown 7) y va todo bien ahora el problema es cuando quiero crear la base de datos con Mysql me ha sido imposible siempre me da un error cuando hago el “rake db:create” se cuelga el ruby.
    Estuve leyendo varios post, y probe cambiar la version del Mysql de la 5.1 a 5.0 pero he tenido el mismo problema.
    Te agradeceria si me podes indicar en donde puede estar el error o si tenes algun intructivo para seguir.

    mil gracias.