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hererocks 0.17.0

Tool for installing Lua and LuaRocks locally

hererocks is a single file Python 2.7/3.x script for installing Lua (or LuaJIT) and LuaRocks, its package manager, into a local directory. It configures Lua to only see packages installed by that bundled version of LuaRocks, so that the installation is isolated.

Basic usage

hererocks lua53 -l5.3 -rlatest      # Install Lua 5.3 with latest LuaRocks into 'lua53' directory.
source lua53/bin/activate           # Run activation script, adding 'lua53/bin' to $PATH.
lua -v                              # Lua, LuaRocks, and programs
luarocks install luacheck           # installed using LuaRocks
luacheck --version                  # can now be used.
deactivate-lua                      # Remove 'lua53/bin' from $PATH.
lua53/bin/lua -v                    # All the binaries can still be used directly.

For more info see below or run hererocks --help for a complete listing of options.


Using pip: run pip install hererocks, using sudo if necessary.

Manually: download hererocks with wget, then use python ... to run it.


  • Python 2.7 or 3.x
  • Git for installing from Git repositories.
  • Compiler:
    • Windows: MinGW with tools such as gcc in PATH, or Visual Studio 2008 or later (see help message for --target).
    • OS X: cc.
    • Other systems: gcc.

Activation scripts

hererocks writes several activation scripts into bin subdirectory of the installation directory. When sourced (on Windows: simply executed) they add path to that subdirectory to PATH environment variable. This allows one to use lua, luarocks and other programs installed in the created environment directly. Additionally, activation scripts make deactivate-lua command available. It removes path to currently activated environment from PATH. Activating an environment deactivates the previous one automatically, if it exists.

Several versions of activation scripts are installed to support various shells:

  • Windows:
    • Batch: activate.bat.
    • PowerShell: activate.ps1.
  • Other systems:
    • Bash, Zsh, Dash: activate.
    • Fish:
    • Tcsh, csh: activate.csh.

Command-line options

Installation location

The first argument of hererocks command should be path to the directory where Lua and/or LuaRocks should be installed. If it does not exist, it will be created.

If installation directory already has Lua installed, a new version of Lua or LuaRocks can be installed over it as a seamless upgrade (packages installed with LuaRocks will keep working) provided new and old Lua minor versions are same. E.g. Lua 5.1.5 and LuaJIT 2.1 can be installed over Lua 5.1.1, but not over Lua 5.2.1. Otherwise, when installing an incompatible Lua version, the installation directory should be removed prior to running hererocks. If hererocks detects that it has already installed requested version of Lua or LuaRocks built with same options into the directory, it will skip installation for that program, unless --ignore-installed/-i is used.

After installation Lua and LuaRocks binaries will be in the bin subdirectory of the installation directory. Scripts installed using LuaRocks will also turn up there. Lua binary is always named lua, even if it’s LuaJIT under the hood, and LuaRocks binary is named luarocks as usual.

Version selection

--lua/-l, --luajit/-j and --luarocks/-r options select versions of programs to install. There are three ways to specify how to fetch the sources:

  • Using version number, such as 5.1.5. If patch or minor versions are left out the latest possible version will be used, e.g. for Lua 5.2 is currently equivalent to 5.2.4 and for LuaJIT 2.1 is same as 2.1.0-beta3. latest or ^ can be used to select the latest stable version. hererocks will fetch and unpack sources of the selected version from corresponding downloads location, verifying their SHA256 checksum.
  • Using git URI plus reference to checkout, separated by @. Default reference is master, and there are default git URIs for Lua (, LuaJIT ( and LuaRocks ( For instance, --luajit @458a40b installs from a commit at the LuaJIT git repository and --luajit @ installs from its master branch. hererocks will use git command for cloning.
  • Using path to a local directory.

Compatibility flags

Lua and LuaJIT have some flags that add compatibility with other Lua versions. Lua 5.1 has several options for compatibility with Lua 5.0 (on by default), Lua 5.2 has 5.1 compatibility flag (on by default), Lua 5.3 - both 5.1 and 5.2 compatibility flags (only 5.2 compatibility is on by default), and LuaJIT has 5.2 flag (off by default). hererocks can change these flags before building when using --compat option. Possible arguments are default, none, all, 5.1 and 5.2.

Installing standard PUC-Rio Lua

Available versions: 5.1 - 5.1.5, 5.2.0 - 5.2.4, 5.3.0 - 5.3.4.

Use 5.1.0 to install Lua 5.1 which was released without patch version for some reason.

When building Lua, hererocks tries to emulate a sensible make target. The default can be seen in the help message printed by hererocks --help. To select another target use --target option.

Installing LuaJIT

Available versions: 2.0.0 - 2.0.5, 2.1.0-beta1 - 2.1.0-beta3.

Installing LuaRocks

Available versions: 2.0.8 - 2.0.13, 2.1.0 - 2.1.2, 2.2.0 - 2.2.2, 2.3.0, 2.4.0 - 2.4.3, 3 (installs from luarocks-3 branch of the LuaRocks git repository).

Version 2.0.8 does not support Lua 5.2. Versions 2.0.8 - 2.1.2 do not support Lua 5.3.

Using hererocks to set up automated testing

Popular continuous integration services such as Travis-CI and do not support Lua out of the box. That can be solved using hererocks in just a couple of lines. Here is an example of Travis-CI configuration file (.travis.yml) using hererocks to install a rock and run Busted test suite under Lua 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, LuaJIT 2.0 and 2.1:

language: python # Can use any language here, but if it's not 'python'
                 # it becomes necessary to pass '--user' to pip when installing hererocks.
sudo: false      # Use container-based infrastructure.

  - LUA="lua 5.1"
  - LUA="lua 5.2"
  - LUA="lua 5.3"
  - LUA="luajit 2.0"
  - LUA="luajit 2.1"

  - pip install hererocks
  - hererocks env --$LUA -rlatest    # Use latest LuaRocks, install into 'env' directory.
  - source env/bin/activate          # Add directory with all installed binaries to PATH.
  - luarocks install busted

  - luarocks make # Install the rock, assuming there is a rockspec
                  # in the root of the repository.

  - busted

Equivalent configuration (appveyor.yml) for Appveyor that allows testing on Windows:

  - LUA: "lua 5.1"
  - LUA: "lua 5.2"
  - LUA: "lua 5.3"
  - LUA: "luajit 2.0"
  - LUA: "luajit 2.1"

  - set PATH=C:\Python27\Scripts;%PATH% # Add directory containing 'pip' to PATH
  - pip install hererocks
  - hererocks env --%LUA% -rlatest
  - call env\bin\activate
  - luarocks install busted

  - luarocks make

  - busted
File Type Py Version Uploaded on Size
hererocks-0.17.0.tar.gz (md5) Source 2017-09-13 26KB