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Introducing Traveling Ruby

By Hongli Lai on December 8th, 2014

Ruby is one of our favorite programming languages. Most people use it for web development, but Ruby is so much more. We at Phusion have been using Ruby for years for writing sysadmin automation scripts, developer command line tools and more. Heroku’s Toolbelt and Chef have also demonstrated that Ruby is an excellent language for these sorts of things.

However, distributing Ruby apps to non-Ruby-programmer end users on Linux and OS X is problematic. If you require users to install Ruby or to use RubyGems, they can get into trouble or become frustrated.

Creating platform-specific packages for each Linux distro and each OS requires a lot of work. Because building such packages requires a fleet of VMs, building packages takes a lot of time.

Our solution to this problem is Traveling Ruby, which lets you create self-contained Ruby app packages for Linux and OS X. It is a project which supplies self-contained, “portable” Ruby binaries: Ruby binaries that can run on any Linux distribution and any OS X machine. This allows Ruby app developers to bundle these binaries with their Ruby app, so that they can distribute a single package to end users, without needing end users to first install Ruby or gems.

Learn more about the motivation behind Traveling Ruby.

Key benefits

  • Self-contained: apps packaged with Traveling Ruby are completely self-contained and don’t require the user to install any further dependencies or runtimes.
  • Simple & easy: Traveling Ruby is very simple to use and very easy to learn. No complicated tooling to learn. You can grasp the basics in just 5 minutes.
  • Fast & lightweight: produce packages for multiple OS targets, regardless of which OS you are developing on. This is achieved without the need for heavyweight tools like VMs.

Learn more


You can learn more about Traveling Ruby here: