I’m curious what native gems/extensions people are typically using. In
general it seems like most native extensions fall into two categories:
- They are wrappers around a C API/library, as in zlib, rmagick,
- They are written for performance reasons, to implement a particular
algorithm in a native language or call a library for the same reasons
And there’s a lot of grey area, with some extensions falling in both
Wrappers can now largely be handled by FFI, and I hope more and more of
them will use FFI as needed to access those libraries. But I’m concerned
about extensions written for performance, since Ruby 1.9 and JRuby do
almost as much to speed Ruby up.
Ultimately, my quest is to eliminate Ruby’s dependence on extensions for
things FFI or “faster Ruby” could do, since it will improve the future
for both the standard and alternative implementations.
So, what native gems or extensions do you use? Why do you use them or
why do they exist?