[Rubygems-developers] gem format

Chad Fowler chad at chadfowler.com
Wed Jul 7 16:32:16 EDT 2004

Hello All,

  I had a nice chat with Mauricio last night, wherein he suggested that we
migrate the gem format to tar/gzip instead of the Ruby/YAML/Base64 thing
we've got now.  He also graciously volunteered to contribute his code from
rpa-base to enable this.

  I'm starting to like the idea, myself.  Originally, I liked the idea of
gems being Ruby files, primarily so that we could actually "run" them for
installation.  In practice, however, I'm not finding myself doing this.
And, I don't think we've done much updating of the functionality, since
we're focused primarily on the gem command.  My educated guess is that
most RubyGems users are and will usually use remote installation as
opposed to separately downloading gems and installing them.

  There are obvious advantages to using tar/gzip, including the fact that
many tools already support it.  I think it would be especially nice for
browsing the contents of a gem before installing it.

  Can anyone think of any other reasons *not* to switch?

  I think it should be a very clean thing to integrate.  In fact, a new
format.rb file would do the trick, replacing the implementation of the
Gem::Format class.  Nothing else should have to change if it was done

Further thoughts?  I know it's kind of a big change, but it actually
shouldn't affect the users of RubyGems much (other than the need to
convert old-style gems to the new format--scriptable, of course).


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