[Rubygems-developers] gem format

Jim Weirich jim at weirichhouse.org
Thu Jul 8 18:19:29 EDT 2004

Chad Fowler wrote:
> 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.  
>   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 have no problem with changing the format.  Here are a couple of points ...

(1) We need to rev the gem format.  The gem format revision should 
explicitly be part of the file, and we should be able to detect the 
revision given an gem file of unknown format.  This gem format revision 
is separate from the gem software revision.

(2) Old revisions need to be supported, at least for a time.  I know our 
software is currently beta, but we have over 50 individual projects 
available as gems right now.  If changing the format of the file 
disrupts this, I think this would be a PR failure.

(3) Yes, please, whatever you do, get rid of the ruby code at the front 
of the gem file.

(4) The tar/gzip utilities donated by Mauricio ... are they portable 
across all our platforms?

(5) Will this delay our next release?  I'm thinking this change should 
go in after the next release.

(6) Speaking of which ... when are we releasing the next version?

-- Jim Weirich    jim at weirichhouse.org     http://onestepback.org
"Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct,
not tried it." -- Donald Knuth (in a memo to Peter van Emde Boas)

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