OK! I have to write something about this. Warren Brian Noronha on the #ruby-lang IRC (FreeNode) channel pointed me to some nasty blog entries (too-biased and the buckblogs here) about the current state of Ruby’s standard library packages in Debian. Besides the fact that such an issue shouldn’t be a reason at all to switch distro (if it is, one can keep switching forever), there is a point in all this.

A bug report has been open for a while requesting the creation of a ruby-stdlib virtual packaging and I’ve seen it be seconded many times on the debian-ruby mailinglist. Unfortunately I’ve seen no action on nor any comments about this bug/request. I’ve heard many requests for putting everything in one ruby-stdlib package, which is not a really nice solution either, IMO. I can understand the maintainers reluctance; such a package would introduce dependencies on Tk, XML libraries, etc.

A compromise could be to make the ruby package depend on ruby-stdlib-core, which is a real package containing all architecture independent libs without causing dependencies on other Debian packages (ala perl-modules). Both can be installed regardless anything. Next to that, ruby should recommend on the virtual ruby-stdlib-other (or some other name) package, that depends on smaller stdlib packages as libruby-tk, etc (ala gstreamer0.8-plugins).

NB. If someone has other suggestions, please mail them to the debian-ruby list or drop by at the IRC channel (#debian-ruby@FreeNode).