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What's new in LuaRocks 3.0

New rockspec format

New rockspec format: if you add rockspec_format = "3.0" to your rockspec, you can use a number of new features. Note that these rockspecs will only work with LuaRocks 3.0 and above, but older versions will detect that directive and fail gracefully, giving the user a message telling them to upgrade. Rockspecs without the rockspec_format directive are interpreted as having format 1.0 (the same format from LuaRocks series 1.x and 2.x) and are still supported.

The following features are only enabled if rockspec_format = "3.0" is set in the rockspec:

  • Build type builtin is the default if build.type is not specified.
  • The builtin type auto-detects modules using the same heuristics as write_rockspec (for example, if you have a src directory). With auto-detection of the build type and modules, many rockspecs don't even need an explicit build table anymore.
  • New table build_dependencies: dependencies used only for running luarocks build but not when installing binary rocks.
  • New table test_dependencies: dependencies used only for running luarocks test
  • New table test: settings for configuring the behavior of luarocks test. Supports a test.type field so that the test backend can be specified. Currently supported test backends are:
    • "busted", for running Busted
    • "command", for running a plain command.
    • Custom backends can be loaded via test_dependencies
  • New field build.macosx_deployment_target = "10.9" is supported in Mac platforms, and adjusts $(CC) and $(LD) variables to export the corresponding environment variable.
  • LuaJIT can be detected in dependencies and uses version reported by the running interpreter: e.g. "luajit >= 2.1".
  • Auto-detection of source.dir is improved: when the tarball contains only one directory at the root, assume that is where the sources are.
  • New description fields:
    • labels, an array of strings;
    • issues_url, URL to the project's bug tracker.
  • cmake build type now supports build.build_pass and build_install_pass to disable make passes.
  • git fetch type fetches submodules by default.
  • Patches added in patches can create and delete files, following standard patch rules.

New commands

  • New command: luarocks init. This command performs the setup for using LuaRocks in a "project directory":
    • it creates a lua_modules directory in the current directory for storing rocks
    • it creates a .luarocks/config-5.x.lua local configuration file
    • it creates lua and luarocks wrapper scripts in the current directory that are configured to use lua_modules and .luarocks/config-5.x.lua
    • if there are no rockspecs in the current directory, it creates one based on the directory name and contents.
  • New command: luarocks test. It runs a rock's test suite, as specified in the new test section of the rockspec file. It also does some autodetection, so it already works with many existing rocks as well.
  • New command: luarocks which. Given the name of an installed, it tells you which rock it is a part of. For example, luarocks which lfs will tell you it is a part of luafilesystem (and give the full path name to the module). In this sense, luarocks which is the dual command to luarocks show.

New flags

  • New flags --lua-dir and --lua-version which can be used with all commands. This allows you to specify a Lua version and installation prefix at runtime, so a single LuaRocks installation can be used to manage packages for any Lua version. It is no longer necessary to install separate copies of LuaRocks to manage packages for Lua 5.x and 5.y.
  • New flags added to luarocks show: --porcelain, giving a stable script-friendly output (named after the Git --porcelain flag that serves the same purpose) and --rock-license.
  • New flag --temp-key for luarocks upload, allowing you to easily upload rocks into an alternate account without disrupting the stored configuration of your main account.
  • New flag --dev, for enabling development-branch sub-repositories. This adds support for easily requesting dev modules from, as in: luarocks install --dev luafilesystem. The list of URLs configured in rocks_servers is prepended with a list containing "/dev" in their paths.
  • luarocks config, when called with no arguments, now displays your entire active configuration, using the same Lua syntax as the configuration file. It is sensitive to the flags given to it (--tree, --lua-dir, etc.) so it presents the resulting configuration produced by loading the currently-active configuration files and the given flags.

New build system

New build system: the configure and Makefile scripts were completely overhauled, making use of LuaRocks 3 features to greatly simplify them:

  • Much of the detection and configuration work they performed were moved to runtime, to make LuaRocks more dynamic and resilient to environment changes
  • The system-package-manager-friendly mode is still available, as the default target (make, formerly make build).
  • The LuaRocks-as-a-rock mode (make bootstrap) is also still available, and was greatly simplified: it no longer uses custom Makefiles: LuaRocks installs itself using luarocks make, and its own rockspec uses the builtin build mode.
  • A new build mode: make binary compiles all of LuaRocks into a single executable, bundling various Lua modules to make it self-sufficient, such as LuaFileSystem, LuaSocket and LuaSec.
    • For version 3.0, this will remain as an option, as we evaluate its suitability moving forward to become the default mode of distribution.
    • The goal is to eventually use this mode to produce the Windows version of LuaRocks. We currently include an experimental make windows-binary target which builds a Windows version using the MinGW-w64 cross-compiler on Linux.

General improvements

  • New feature: namespaces: you can use luarocks install user/package to install a package from a specific user of the repository.
  • Improved defaults for finding external libraries on Linux and Windows.
  • Detection of the Lua library and header directories is now done at runtime. This uses the same machinery that LuaRocks employs for external_dependencies in general (with some added logic to cope with the unfortunate rampant inconsistency in naming of Lua libraries and header paths due to lack of upstream standardization).
  • luarocks-admin add now works with file:// repositories
  • some UI improvements in luarocks list and luarocks search.
  • Preliminary support for the upcoming Lua 5.4: LuaRocks is written in the common dialect supporting Lua 5.1-5.3 and LuaJIT, but since a single installation can manage packages for any Lua version now, it can already manage packages for Lua 5.4 even though that's not out yet.

User-visible changes

  • Breaking change: The support for deprecated unversioned paths (e.g. /usr/local/lib/luarocks/rocks/ and /etc/luarocks/config.lua) was removed, LuaRocks will now only create and use paths versioned to the specific Lua version in use (e.g. /usr/local/lib/luarocks/rocks-5.3/ and /etc/luarocks/config-5.3.lua).
  • Breaking changes: luarocks path now exports versioned variables LUA_PATH_5_x and LUA_CPATH_5_x instead of LUA_PATH and LUA_CPATH when those are in use in your system.
  • Package paths are sanitized to only reference the current Lua version. For example, if you have /some/dir/lua/5.1/ in your $LUA_PATH and you are running Lua 5.2, luarocks.loader and the luarocks command-line tool will convert it to /some/dir/lua/5.2/.
  • LuaRocks now uses dev instead of scm as the favored version identifier to describe development versions of a rock, aligning it with the terminology used in It still understands scm as a compatibility fallback.
  • LuaRocks no longer conflates modules foo and foo.init as being the same in its internal manifest. Instead, the luarocks.loader module is adapted to handle the .init case.
  • Wrappers installed using --tree now prepend the tree's prefix to their package paths.
  • luarocks-admin commands no longer creates an index.html file in the repository by default (it does update it if it already exists)

Internal changes

  • Major improvements in the test suite done by @georgeroman as part of the ongoing Google Summer of Code 2018 program. The coverage improvements and test suite speed-ups have been essential in getting the sprint towards LuaRocks 3.0 more efficient and reliable!
  • Modules needed by luarocks.loader were moved below the luarocks.core namespace. Modules in luarocks.core only depend on other luarocks.core modules. (Notably, luarocks.core does not use luarocks.fs.)
  • Modules representing luarocks commands were moved into the luarocks.cmd namespace, and luarocks.command_line was renamed to luarocks.cmd. Eventually, all CLI-related code will live under luarocks.cmd, as we move towards a clean CLI-API separation, in preparation for a stable public API.
  • Likewise, modules representing luarocks-admin commands were moved into the luarocks.admin.cmd namespace.
  • New internal objects for representing interaction with the repostories: luarocks.queries and luarocks.results
  • Type checking rules of file formats were moved into the luarocks.type namespace.