Misc #13968

[Ruby 3.x perhaps] - A (minimal?) static variant of ruby

Added by shevegen (Robert A. Heiler) about 3 years ago. Updated almost 3 years ago.



Hello ruby core team and everyone else,

I think this has been brought up before, in one way or the other, but
just in case it was not, or not in this context, I would like to propose
that ruby can be compiled statically

Matz explained how this can be done for mruby:

This is not so difficult; allow me to copy/paste the major
steps for mruby (I modified it a bit):

Option A:

(1) compile your.rb files into a C file via mrbc. Example: "mrbc -Binit_yourlib -o mrblib.c *.rb"
(2) your code/application has to call "init_yourlib(mrb)" after "mrb_open()"
(3) compile your code/application with the generated C file
(4) link via "libmruby.a"
(5) static link options may have to be specified to the linker

Option B

(1) Create a binary "mrbgem". See mrbgems/mruby-bin-mirb for example.

And nobu added better support for statically linked extensions some years

Since time is a limited resource by the ruby core team, I understand that
you have to prioritize on issues that are more important, or needed more;
and a statically compiled ruby may not be of highest priority. Additionally,
you may want to know the use case of people, as to why they may want to
have a statically compiled variant of ruby.

I have a (small) use case which I think has not been explained before.

I often break stuff on my linux system when I compile programs. I use many
ruby helper scripts to compile programs, so I need ruby. :)

When I have a ruby available then I can often batch-compile, batch-install
and so on. This works very well so far for most programs out there.

Not always is there a host system available with ruby though; sometimes
I may be in a confined environment, such as workspaces at university
and a central server cluster to which I have no access (or rather,
permission to change files/directory). So I tend to compile into the
user directory there (home directory).

Anyway. Since I tend to break stuff, but sometimes other stuff is also
broken on such environments (looking at centos ...), I made it a habit
to compile some of the core utilities in a static manner into my home
directory; "make" for example or "sed". Both work very well. Others
are a bit misbehaving or stubborn, such as awk - I haven't managed
a statically compiled variant of awk yet.

Of course I also use "busybox," a statically compiled busybox that is.

This allows me to recover from many problems or errors if things go
awry (I can also use a live-DVD for recovery, at the least at home;
or also download some binaries that I know will work on the target
platform, so I have more ways to recover).

Now the thing is - most of what I do with busybox, has to do with
file manipulation of some sort; setting new symlinks, removing,
moving, creating files or directories.

Here I thought - I could use ruby rather than busybox. :)

But I'd want or need a statically compiled ruby, so that it does not
break depending on other programs there on the system.

I hope I could explain my use case. And I agree, only very few
people may ever want to have this perhaps.

I looked at my self-compiled MRI ruby, via "ldd", and these are the
libraries that ruby depends on: => /lib64/ => /usr/lib/ => /lib64/ => /lib64/ => /lib64/ => /lib64/

I guess this is not minimal; I could probably re-compile ruby
from a sandbox, to reduce the amount of .so objects that are
needed, but the above is only an example anyway.

I assume that making available a ruby that can be statically compiled,
is not trivial. It is probably easier for mruby, but mruby is, as far
as I understand it, more aimed towards knowledgable C/C++ hackers. I
am a bit too scared to try mruby when I do not really know C.

I should also state that I do not need a "full" ruby by the way. I can
live without the extension stuff, such as "readline" or "openssl" probably
(though I'd love to have open-uri since that may help in recovery; ruby's
open() functionality for remote data/websites is great).

I guess the core functionality I would need is, mostly, file manipulation.

So perhaps my request could be titled:

"A minimal variant of ruby - that is statically linked."

Now this may fit to mruby perhaps but I am a bit scared of mruby also
because I do not know mruby very well; I mostly work with MRI ruby. (I
did manage to compile mruby without problem and I could run ruby code
too but I am not sure how much is available on mruby by default "out
of the box". If I remember correctly, not every MRI ruby .rb file
will work "out of the box")

I also thought of filing an issue request at github-mruby but then I
thought that perhaps it may also fit into MRI ruby one day, which is
why I prepended with the ruby 3.x label. (I suppose that it may not
fit towards 2.x anymore since 2.x will probably focus on stability,
bug fixing and so forth.)

I hope I could explain my use case. I am not sure if it is a good
use case; I can probably just keep on using busybox ... but I would
prefer to actually work within a "ruby environment" in general,
simply because ruby is a LOT nicer to work with, in particular for
batch-automated tasks (I always prefer to use ruby rather than shell
scripts, for example).

If possible it would be nice if this issue could remain open for a
bit longer, if only to see if there is anyone else who may want to
have some statically compiled variant of ruby.

I see this sometimes in other issue requests, or similar suggestions,
so perhaps if there may be a seizable amount of people who may want
it, it could be put on a "long-term goal". Perhaps even past 3.x.

Last but not least I would like to repeat that I do not need a full
featured ruby per se, a minimal may suffice - but that minimal ruby
should ideally be easy to use+install. It's a bit like a mix
between "MRI ruby" and "mruby" what I want, I think. :D

That way, I could both have a MRI ruby that uses .so, but also e. g
a binary called "static-ruby" or "ruby-static" or something like
that, that can be used a bit like a "recovery ruby".

I wrote a lot so now it's time to close without much further ado -
thank you for reading!

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