Ruby for small devices?

Hello ruby fellows,

I would like to know if anyone has experience with embedding ruby in
small devices and if such project exists ?

In my current work, I’m using Elphel cameras, mobile phones, etc…
But ruby is pretty heavy, plus I don’t know if it compiles on ARM or
other CPUs.

Any hint would be appreciated :slight_smile:


Check out the “Embedding Ruby” presentation from RubyConf 2005:

The stuff you’re interested in starts around page 18, I’d say.


Check out the “Embedding Ruby” presentation from RubyConf 2005:

Good stuff.

I run Ruby on my iPAQ (I suppose zauri work as well) which has
a StrongArm 200 MHz (arm v4l)
32 MB flash, 32 MB RAM

and as in the above presentation, I chopped the stdlibs in a couple of
packages so I do not carry all the dependencies around. See to get the general idea (polluted with
apps) and bear in mind that I have 1.8.3 packages cross compiled as well
(but not uploaded). mm, I also see that my descriptions are a bit too


Ok, thanks a lot ppl :slight_smile:

Wilson, the paper was a very interesting read. It’s quite funny to see
what people do with ruby.

Kero, seems down for me. Are you sure it’s the right
domain ?

For more precisions, Elphel cameras1 run with an Etrax Axis
Processor and an FPGA.
I will look into this during the week.


This is about Smalltalk on small devices, not Ruby, but it may be of

I just discovered Scratchbox ( and its awesome for
cross-compilation of biggish apps.

[ quick overview:

It’s a cross-toolchain for arm and ppc. It’s main ‘wow’ feature
is that it uses qemu-arm to emulate an ARM host.
You run ‘/scratchbox/login’ and have root on an emulated ARM, then
build software.

All the ease of compilation (i.e. you can just run ‘./configure’,
it ships with an svn client, etc.)
except an order of magnitude faster (qemu is a bit slow, but i386
is much faster than arm
in the first place, so it’s a net win).

For platforms that the emulator isn’t good enough for, you can use
to login to the PDA, mount the toolchain and source tree from your
scratchbox using NFS and build stuff there.


Ruby 1.8.3 built with no trouble
( ext/dl expected a /bin/sh, but a symlink fixed that) and irb, etc runs
in the scratchbox. Now i just need to
copy the files onto my slug where it can run natively.

See the quick howto at:

  • that’s all i needed, just substituted ruby for glib.

Kero, seems down for me. Are you sure it’s the right domain ?

Sorry, that should be

On 12/9/05, Wilson B. [email protected] wrote:

Check out the “Embedding Ruby” presentation from RubyConf 2005:

The leaking Mutex problem showcased in the presentation page 27, I
think the following change fixes it at least for #synchronize :

def unlock
return unless @locked
Thread.critical = true

  • @locked = false
    t = @waiting.shift
  •  @locked = t # if there is a waiting thread, keep the mutex locked
    t.wakeup if t
    rescue ThreadError
    Thread.critical = false

if @locked is false, a thread entering #lock sets Thread.critical=true


checks for @locked, sees that it’s false, and jumps the queue

begin if t
rescue ThreadError


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