How do you maintain ruby based stuff

Valeri Galtsev galtsev at
Tue Feb 27 16:39:56 UTC 2018

Dear Experts,

In another thread one attractive solution was recommended to me 
(redmine) with the comment: yes, it is based on ruby, still... And when 
I was setting it up I fully understood the comment. Now I have more 
general question (just to make fundamental decision for myself for a 
future, which will allow me not to waste my time and not even consider 
things that one can not maintain because they are based on...).

So, in general, does anyone maintain any solution, service, software 
suite based on ruby? If yes, how do you do that? Do you set it up once, 
freeze it, and keep it without updating? Or it is updated together with 
everything else (which may be just dedicated jail)?

One thing I observe all the time about ruby: its major version changes 
as frequently as twice a year. Older versions are finally obsoleted. 
What happens to the stuff that is based on ruby? In my particular case I 
was installing redmine + apache + passenger. Apache module is provided 
by one of ruby packages via symlink, which points into wrong place, but 
even if it was correct apache configuration imminently contains paths 
with major plus minor ruby versions. This will mean that routine update 
bringing upgraded versions of ruby and friends will break things, this 
fixing "enterprise level" solution broken by update sound like routine 

So, I'm at loss, any advise will help. How does one maintain things 
based on ruby?

In the past when helping my users who are scientists and use python for 
variety of things, when some python modules were breaking on them, I was 
telling "python is a sneaky snake": compatibility of modules grossly 
depends on versions... Yet, I can point to the greatest example based on 
python: mailman. I use mailman since forever, and never ever I had any 
issue with it. This is the great example of how software should be 
written. In the past I was staying away from ruby for some reason, but 
now after having to touch it a bit I realize how much I love python - 
compared to my ruby experience that is.

Thanks in advance for all your insights!


Valeri Galtsev
Sr System Administrator
Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics
University of Chicago
Phone: 773-702-4247

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