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Re: Giving up on RubyGems

From: Thompson, David
Subject: Re: Giving up on RubyGems
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 2015 08:43:36 -0400

Hi Pjotr,

This cheered me up!

On Wed, Oct 21, 2015 at 5:46 AM, Pjotr Prins <address@hidden> wrote:
> Hi Dave,
> You know I am not so much interested in fixing upstream concepts which
> appear to be mixed up (indeed). I think you are heroic for trying to
> discuss this with the Rubygem system authors. Kudos for trying.


> Still: GNU Guix Rubygem support is a major achievement.
> Fact is that:
> 1. We have successfully packaged rubygems for guix in a simple and
>    elegant way. I use them daily.
> 2. Enough tests are in there to make sure things work - in fact I was
>    mighty surprised that Nokogiri works on ARM+MIPS, despite the fact
>    that we haven't gotten the Nokogiri test system to work - and that
>    it works was tested by virtue of my bio-blastxmlparser gem which
>    *has* working tests.
> 3. Rubygems does not dictate how people package their gems. In fact,
>    if need be, we can also repackage into rubygems and deploy those.
>    We may even influence the upstream authors.

All good points.  You're right.  I shouldn't think that we've
accomplished nothing, because we have done a lot.

> I agree the Rubygem situation is not ideal and the maybe Rubygems
> people are misguided in their architectural choices. But I think they
> will probably converge towards our ideas in time. When a choice, such
> as no tests, or using git fuzzily, starts to bite, they will want to
> revert on that. I also love your argumentation that they should
> provide the source code next to the 'binary' distribution. Totally
> valid and in line with most licenses in use, including the Ruby
> license. Maybe the FSF should threaten a case.

Perhaps I could find a gem that is GPL licensed whose archive doesn't
include the corresponding source code, but it seems like finding a
needle in a haystack.  It probably doesn't exist.

> With Linux distributions and languages you can just see people
> reinventing the wheel (npm, pip, docker, firefox anyone?). It is
> amazing how much energy goes into all the combined packaging systems
> when they could simply be using Guix ;)
> Still, it is a form of evolution. Each his own (imperfect) niche.
> For us, I think we have to be purely pragmatic. I love the current
> Ruby build system in Guix and will use it for those gems that allow
> inclusion. It has to be source (anyway) to build against the Guix
> ruby-build-system.
> And when it fails we find some other way. It is simply software, i.e.,
> we can always fix it.

Yes, agreed.  We will evaluate on a case-by-case basis whether or not
the gem archive on meets our standards.  I will write a
patch sometime to add the 'gitify' phase back to the Ruby build system
as an optional phase for cases where we need to build from a tarball
or git checkout.

> So, yes, I think it is wise to give up on the rubygem authors for now.
> But please don't stop loving - the people who use - Ruby :)

I won't.  Thanks for cheering me up, Pjotr. :)

- Dave

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