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Rubinius uniformly uses Rake as the build system for its own files. However Rubinius also includes the source for several external libraries and these typically use makefiles.
Rubinius consists of the executable, and various support files like the core and standard libraries. The executable needs to know where to find these files even if moved to a different location. To handle this problem, Rubinius distinguishes two build types: development and install. The executable stores the full path to its base directory, relative to which it expects to find the files it needs.
The development executable stores the path to the source directory in which it was built. You can then move the executable to a different location but as you make changes to the core library files in the kernel/** directories, the executable will continue to use those files.
The install executable stores the path to the install directory. Again, even if the executable is moved to a new location, it will continue to find the installed files.
This has consequences, of course. If you build a development executable and then rename your source directory, you will need to rebuild. Likewise, if you build an install executable and rename the install directory, the executable will not function, even if the executable is in the directory. The executable checks a single, hard-coded path. If this ends up being very painful for some reason, we'll revise it.
To install Rubinius, you must first configure it with an install prefix:
The configure process creates a 'config.rb' file that specifies the key file paths that Rubinius uses. Once configured, run 'rake install' to build and install. The install procedure builds all the files, including compiling the Ruby standard library files in the lib/ directory, then copies them into the install location using the 'install' program. The install tasks are located in rakelib/install.rake.