Is there a Ruby Way to releasing? For example, I’ve used Python’s
distutils in the past.
Or should I just build a .tar.gz that includes a README that tells the
user to “cd src; make && make install”?
Sadly, there is no real standard for this yet (although I think we
should shoot for a much higher standard than the distutils There are
some promising things in the works, like RubyGems and rpkg (and probably
others I haven’t kept up with) but certainly no standard has emerged yet.
If it’s a C/C+±based extension you want to be sure to include an
extconf.rb script so that a platform-appropriate Makefile gets
generated. This is described (among other places) in the README.EXT file
from the Ruby source code distribution, and in books like “Programming
Ruby” and the “Ruby Developer’s Guide”.
If your software consists of more than “just” the C extension part –
for example, supporting scripts and library files – you might also take
a look at Minero Aoki’s setup.rb script
(http://www.loveruby.net/en/setup.html). This is the system I’m
currently using for FXRuby and it basically works well. He does not yet
have support for some things I’d like, such as documentation files and
test scripts, but it’s about as good as it gets short of rolling your
How about documentation? Is there any standard way to build it? I have
the .rd file and a Makefile that runs rd2, but that doesn’t do any sort
of installation. (Is there a standardized procedure for installing
documentation on *nix systems? I’ve been in the Debian world for so
long I can’t remember what is standard and what is just Debian
I don’t think it’s standardized. On my Red Hat 7.2 system, documentation
files tend to get installed in places like /usr/share/doc (or
/usr/local/share/doc) but I don’t know that this is true in general.