[Rubyinstaller-devel] RE: FXRuby and the (new) Ruby Installer for OS X

Curt Hibbs curt at hibbs.com
Mon Aug 16 10:53:10 EDT 2004

Steve, I'm CC'ing Rich Kilmer on this because he's a highly proficient OS X
Ruby developer that may be able to provide some useful feedback (and I don't
think he's on the RubyInstaller-Devel ML)...

The key idea behind the One-Click Ruby Installer is to have a very low
barrier-to-entry for the non-hardcore user, and that this is realized
through a very fast and extremely easy installation. Harcore techies are not
the target audience (they know how to build things from source, and usually
prefer to do their own builds anyway). Our target audience is the much
broader, but less technical user who may not want (or even know about) the
C-based developer toolchain.

On windows the one-click installer is an 11MB download and installs in about
1 minute. If someone wants to try out Ruby on windows, its a no-brainer:
simple and fast to install (just as easy to uninstall). The end-result is a
ready-to-use environment.

If the windows one-click installer required the to first register for a
developer toolset, perform a hundred megabyte download, install the
developer tools, and then run the one-click installer... we would lose our
target audience because most of them would give up and our goal of extending
Ruby to "the masses" would go unrealized.

The hardest of the hard-core Ruby geeks on Windows do their own builds of
Ruby, but a great many professional level Ruby developer's still use the
one-click installer for windows. There have been over 12,000 downloads of
the windows one-click installer from RubyForge. And that's just in the last
six months! Before that the one-click installer was on SourgeForge and I
don't have figures for that. This is solid evidence that we are reaching a
previously unmet need.

Think of our target OS X audience, not as the *nix type geek who is schooled
in the use of C, but rather as the legion of AppleScript users who need
something better (as with windows, hardcore geeks will always roll their
own, but most developers will still prefer a simple one-click installer). We
want to be more like an application, and less like a typical programming
language installation.

We don't want to be just another packaging system. Correct me if I'm wrong,
but a source-based installation is already provided by fink and darwinports.
Duplicating this probably wouldn't sway their hardcore users, and wouldn't
be simple enough to reach our target audience.

A good example/model of this type of binary distribution on OS X might be
TclTk Aqua (http://tcltkaqua.sourceforge.net/).

I think the real questions we should be asking are:

1) What are the roadblocks and/or problems with a binary OS X installer?

2) Do these problems have reasonable solutions that we can live with?

If the answer to #2 is "no", then I guess we would have no choice but to go
with a source-based installer.


   We should probably add RubyCocoa to the list of included extensions.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Stephen Steiner [mailto:ssteiner at mac.com]
> Sent: Monday, August 16, 2004 6:57 AM
> To: Curt Hibbs
> Cc: RubyInstaller-Devel
> Subject: Re: FXRuby and the (new) Ruby Installer for OS X
> > But, I just can't imagine that installing a commercial app OS X would
> > need
> > to have development tools present to compile source code. How do
> > commercial
> > products for OS X handle this problem?
> Commercial apps are not programming languages.  A commercial app, if
> done
> properly for OS X, is a self contained bundle that can just be dragged
> to the
> Applications folder.  When  things have to be installed all over
> creation (/usr/local/lib,
> /usr/local/bin etc.) things are more complicated.
> > I suppose a hybrid approach is also possible. A VMWare installation on
> > Linux, for example, contains precompiled binaries for the most common
> > target
> > configuration but falls back to building from source when needed. The
> > main
> > problem here is handling build failures in a user friendly manner.
> Yes, build failures are definitely a problem.  The .pkg installer has
> pre and post
> flight scripts but that's about it for error handling.  Perhaps one of
> the other
> installers does more but I'm not familiar with any of them at this
> point.
> > I have to rely on your technical expertise as I am speaking from
> > general
> > knowledge and I am totally ignorant of the technical problems of
> > installing
> > software on OS X.
> OS X == BSD == Linux == Unix, for all intents and purposes when you're
> talking about installing things like Ruby itself.  That's why I favor a
> source
> build: you never know exactly what's there on the system unless you
> compile with it.
> >    Your emails don't seem to be making it to the RubyInstaller-Devel ML
> > (even though I can see you are sending them there). Are you getting any
> > rejection or bounce messages back from mailman?
> >
> Nope, they just don't seem to be making it there for some reason.
> Steve
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