I knew that there are various Ruby patches available but I've never tried them as I didn't want to waste time for something that I thought I don't really need.
Then I found out that rvm comes bundled with patches ready to be applied, so I'm just a simple command line away from having a patched Ruby. Don't know how I missed that before.
One particular patch that worth trying is falcon. It improves startup time of big Ruby applications. And the bigger your Gemfile is the bigger the improvement.
Try it right now for yourself. It will only take a couple of minutes.
First upgrade rvm to make sure you have the latest
rvm get head
Then the actual Ruby build
rvm install 1.9.3 --patch falcon -n falcon
Note that this command can fail with the following error: Patch 'falcon' not found. The reason is that falcon patch is not yet supported on the latest Ruby patch level, in which case you will need to specify older patch level to make it work.
Find out what patchlevels have falcon support
✗ ls $rvm_path/patches/ruby/1.9.3/*/*falcon* | sort /usr/local/rvm/patches/ruby/1.9.3/p0/falcon.patch /usr/local/rvm/patches/ruby/1.9.3/p125/falcon.patch /usr/local/rvm/patches/ruby/1.9.3/p194/falcon.diff /usr/local/rvm/patches/ruby/1.9.3/p286/falcon.diff
So latest patch level with falcon support is 286 at the time of this writing.
Install specific patch level with falcon support
rvm install ruby-1.9.3-p286 --patch falcon -n falcon
Congratulations, you now have a patched Ruby installed.
Lets test how much improvement it is. The following is for one of my current projects with about 50 gems:
✗ rvm use default Using /usr/local/rvm/gems/ruby-1.9.3-p194 ✗ time bin/rails runner "puts :OK" OK bin/rails runner "puts :OK" 6.47s user 0.60s system 99% cpu 7.106 total ✗ rvm use ruby-1.9.3-p286-falcon Using /usr/local/rvm/gems/ruby-1.9.3-p286-falcon ✗ time bin/rails runner "puts :OK" OK bin/rails runner "puts :OK" 2.79s user 0.52s system 98% cpu 3.354 total
Nice! Startup time decreased from 3.354 to 1.106 seconds. More then twice faster.
I'm going to use this Ruby by default now
rvm use ruby-1.9.3-p286-falcon --default
And while we are on the "lets improve rails startup times" subject, lets do one more change. Add the following to your shell startup file. i.e. ~/.bashrc or ~/.zshrc
export RUBY_HEAP_MIN_SLOTS=1000000 export RUBY_HEAP_FREE_MIN=500000 export RUBY_HEAP_SLOTS_INCREMENT=1000000 export RUBY_HEAP_SLOTS_GROWTH_FACTOR=1 export RUBY_GC_MALLOC_LIMIT=100000000
This will tune Ruby GC settings to be better suited for running big apps (as it seems to be tuned for small Ruby scripts by default).
Lets see how much improvement that is
✗ time bin/rails runner "puts :OK" OK bin/rails runner "puts :OK" 2.27s user 0.58s system 98% cpu 2.890 total
Total improvement from 7.106 to 2.890 is almost 60%.
Now, stop fiddling with the environment and go back to creating something great! :)