Building Erlang from source and using it with direnv

10 Jan 2023 11:25 erlang kerl

Building and installing Erlang is almost compatible with my use erlang rule for direnv. Here’s how to bodge it.

Lying to kerl

Because the activate, activate.csh, etc. scripts are expanded from templates during kerl install, we can’t simply copy them from one of the other Erlang directories.

Instead, we’ll fool kerl into thinking that it built Erlang from source, even though we did it.

I’ll assume that you’ve got $ERL_TOP still set from when you built Erlang/OTP.

grep -q "^git,source" "$HOME/.kerl/otp_builds" || \
    echo "git,source" >> "$HOME/.kerl/otp_builds"

mkdir -p "$HOME/.kerl/builds/source"

[ -e "$HOME/.kerl/builds/source/otp_src_git" ] || ln -sf "$ERL_TOP" "$HOME/.kerl/builds/source/otp_src_git"

Installing Erlang using kerl

kerl install source "$HOME/.kerl/erlangs/source"

Once you’ve done that, you can put use erlang source in .envrc.

Updating the installation

If you’re hacking on Erlang, and you rebuild it, you’ll need to get kerl to reinstall it. This involves some more trickery:

kerl delete installation source
kerl install source "$HOME/.kerl/erlangs/source"