Table of Contents

GraalVM Updater

GraalVM Updater, gu, is a command-line utility to install and manage optional GraalVM language runtimes and utilities. Each of these language runtimes and utilities must be downloaded and installed separately. To assist you with the installation, they are pre-packaged as JAR files and referenced in the documentation as “components”. GraalVM Updater can be also used to update your local GraalVM installation to a newer version or upgrade from a Community to Enterprise Edition. Read more in Upgrade GraalVM.

GraalVM Updater is included in the base GraalVM distribution and can be used with the <graalvm>/bin/gu launcher. The source code of GraalVM Updater is located in the <graalvm>/lib/installer folder.

Component Installation

The following GraalVM language runtimes and utilities are available for installation.


  • Native Image – a technology to compile an application ahead-of-time into a native executable
  • LLVM toolchain – a set of tools and APIs for compiling native programs to bitcode that can be executed on GraalVM


  • Java on Truffle – a Java Virtual Machine implementation based on a Truffle interpreter for GraalVM
  • Node.js – Node.js 14.18.1 compatible
  • Python – Python 3.8.5-compatible
  • Ruby – Ruby 3.0.2-compatible
  • R – GNU R 4.0.3-compatible
  • Wasm – WebAssembly (Wasm)

GraalVM Updater verifies whether or not the version of a component is appropriate for the current GraalVM installation. Components are released for each GraalVM distribution with respective updates, and those downloaded for previous release(s) cannot be used with newer ones. A component may require other components as prerequisites for its operation. GraalVM Updater verifies such requirements and will either attempt to download the required dependencies, or abort the installation if the component’s requirements are not met.

Note: Components intended for Oracle GraalVM Enterprise Edition cannot be installed on GraalVM Community Edition.

Three modes of a component installation are supported:

Installation from Catalog

There is a components catalog available on GitHub, maintained by Oracle, from which you can install a component by its name.

  1. Get a list of IDs and descriptive names of the components available in the catalog:
    gu available
  2. Install the component package using the ComponentId value. For example, for ruby:
    gu install ruby

    GraalVM Updater first downloads the list of components, then uses the information in the list to download the actual component package, then installs it. To see more verbose output during the installation, like the download progress bar, print versions, and dependency information, use the -v (--verbose) switch.

If a component being installed depends on another component, GraalVM Updater will search the catalog to find an appropriate dependency and install it as well. If the required components cannot be found, installation will fail.

When using custom catalog URLs, it is possible, for a convenience, to set the environment variable GRAALVM_CATALOG pointing to the custom catalog’s URL. GraalVM Updater will use the URL defined by GRAALVM_CATALOG in preference to the builtin ones. You may setup the environment variable in startup or profile scripts.

Note: If you need, for some reason to set the GRAALVM_HOME environment variable, it may affect gu operation. If it is set, it should point to the intended GraalVM installation, same as JAVA_HOME and PATH.

Manual Installation

  1. Download a component from the Oracle GraalVM Downloads page in consideration of the operating system, the Java version, and architecture (if applicable).

  2. Having downloaded the appropriate JAR file, install it with:

    gu -L install component.jar

    For example, to install Native Image for Java 11 GraalVM Enterprise distribution on macOS, run:

    gu -L install native-image-installable-svm-svmee-java11-darwin-amd64-<version>.jar

The -L option, equivalent to --local-file or --file, installs a component from a downloaded JAR. However, a component may depend on other components (e.g., Ruby depends on the LLVM toolchain). For example, gu -L install component.jar will fail if the required components are not yet installed. If all dependencies are downloaded into the same directory, you can run:

gu -L install -D

Check gu --help or gu -C for how to instruct GraalVM Updater to find and process required components.

Installation from Local Components Collection

Components can be downloaded manually in advance to a local file folder, or to a folder shared on the local network. GraalVM Updater can then use that folder instead of the catalog:

gu install -C /path/to/downloads/directory ComponentId

Specify the directory to use for the components collection. It is possible to type a component’s name (like ruby) instead of a filename. GraalVM Updater will also attempt to find required dependencies in the local component collection.

When installing components from a given directory, you can allow installing all components which have the correct version number for GraalVM using wildcards:

./gu install -C ~/Download/Components/ native*

This will install the native-image component, or anything that starts with native.

Check Installed Components

Installed components can be printed with:

gu list

Generic support for Node.js, R, Ruby, Python, and WebAssembly will work out of the box in most cases. It is recommended to fine-tune system-dependent configurations, following the recommendations in the component post-installation messages.

Component Uninstallation

Components may be uninstalled from GraalVM when no longer needed. To uninstall a specific component, use its ComponentId. Run gu list to find out the exact ComponentId. The command to uninstall the component is:

gu remove ruby

If more components end with, for example, ruby, the installer will print an error message that a component’s full name is required (org.graalvm.ruby). The uninstallation removes the files created during the installation. If a file belongs to multiple components, it will be removed when the last component using it is removed.

Note that the LLVM toolchain component may fail uninstallation invoked from the command line or the Visual Studio Code user interface if its dependent component(s) remain installed. In this case, remove the dependent component first, or add the -D option, which would remove dependent components in addition to those explicitly selected:

gu -D remove llvm-toolchain

Upgrade GraalVM

GraalVM Updater has the capability to update the existing GraalVM installation on your local machine to the most recent version. Besides that, it can also upgrade the edition from Community to Enterprise.

For example, having GraalVM 20.x installed, update to the most recent available version with:

gu upgrade

GraalVM Updater will attempt to download the latest version of either GraalVM Enterprise or GraalVM Community Edition, if available. It will not rewrite the existing installation, but unpack it into a new directory and print out the location path. It will also verify if you have any optional components installed in the current GraalVM installation and update those as well. If the “parent” installation contains a symlink to the currrent GraalVM installation, that symlink will be updated. If your setup involves some environment variables (e.g., PATH) pointing to a selected GraalVM installation, those variables should be updated manually.

By appending the --edition switch, you can switch editions. For example, to upgrade GraalVM Community Edition to Enterprise, run:

gu upgrade --edition ee

It will install the newest version of GraalVM Enterprise Edition, next to the current installation. GraalVM Updater will again check for the optional component presence, verify if a component is appropriate for the installation, and upgrade it as well.

Note: You can only upgrade GraalVM to a newer version with GraalVM Updater. The downgrades to an older version, and from GraalVM Enterprise to Community Edition are manual.

Installation Configuration

The installation command of GraalVM Updater accepts multiple options and parameters, and allows this syntax:

gu install [-0CcDfiLMnosruvyxY] param [param ...]

The following options are currently supported:

  • -0, --dry-run: dry run, do not change anything
  • -c, --catalog: treat parameters as component IDs from the GraalVM components catalog. This is the default
  • -C, --custom-catalog <url>: use a specific catalog URL to locate components
  • -L, --local-file: treat parameters as local filenames of packaged components
  • -M: force gu to ignore dependencies of installed components
  • -f, --force: force overwrite, bypass version checks
  • -i, --fail-existing: fail on an existing component
  • -n, --no-progress: do not display the downloading progress
  • -o, --overwrite: overwrite different files
  • -r, --replace: replace existing components
  • -s, --no-verify-jars: skip integrity verification of component archives
  • -u, --url: interpret parameters as URLs of packaged components
  • -v, --verbose: be verbose. Prints versions and dependency information
  • -x, --ignore: ignore failures
  • -y, --only-validate: do not install, just check compatibility and conflicting files
  • -Y, --validate-before: download, verify, and check file conflicts before any disk change is made

Rebuild Images

GraalVM components for language runtime support may change. For example:

  • polyglot native libraries become out of sync.
  • removed languages runtimes may cause the native binary to fail on missing resources or libraries.

To rebuild and refresh the native binaries, use the following command:

gu rebuild-images [--verbose] polyglot|libpolyglot|js|llvm|python|ruby|R... [custom native-image args]...

GraalVM Updater Commands Overview

Command-line help is available by running gu or gu -h. Run gu <command> -h to get help specific for the particular command. For example, gu install -h.

GraalVM Updater usage options:

  • gu info [-cClLnprstuvV] <param>: print the information about specific component (from file, URL, or catalog)
  • gu available [-aClvV] <expr>: list components available in the catalog
  • gu install [--0CcDfiLMnosruvyxY] <param>: install a component package
  • gu list [-clv] <expression>: list installed components or components from catalog
  • gu remove [-0DfMxv] <id>: uninstall a component
  • gu upgrade [-cCnLsuxSd] [<ver>] [<cmp>]: upgrade to the recent GraalVM version
  • gu upgrade --edition ee: upgrade from GraalVM Community Edition to the most recent available version of GraalVM Enterprise Edition
  • gu rebuild-images: rebuild the native launchers. Use -h for detailed usage * GraalVM Updater common options:
  • -A, --auto-yes: say YES or ACCEPT to a question
  • -c, --catalog: treat parameters as component IDs from the catalog of GraalVM components. This is the default
  • -C, --custom-catalog <url>: use user-supplied catalog at URL
  • -e, --debug: enable debugging and print stacktraces
  • -E, --no-catalog-errors: do not stop if at least one catalog is working
  • -h, --help: print help
  • -L, --local-file, --file: treat parameters as local filenames of packaged components
  • -N, --non-interactive: enable non-interactive mode. Fail when input is required
  • --show-version: print version information and continue
  • -u, --url: interpret parameters as URLs of packaged components
  • -v, --verbose: enable verbose output. Print versions and dependency information
  • --version: print version

Oracle GraalVM Enterprise Edition users might need to pass an additional verification step to login to the Oracle components repository. GraalVM Updater tool provides options for that:

  • --public-key / -k <path>: set the path to a custom GPG public key path
  • --username/-U: enter a username

Runtime options:

  • --native: run using the native launcher with limited Java access (default)
  • --jvm: run on the Java Virtual Machine with Java access
  • --vm.[option]: pass options to the host VM. To see available options, use --help:vm
  • --log.file=<String>: redirect guest languages logging into a given file
  • --log.[logger].level=<String>: set language log level to OFF, SEVERE, WARNING, INFO, CONFIG, FINE, FINER, FINEST, or ALL
  • --help: print this help message
  • --help:vm: print options for the host VM

Configure Proxies

If GraalVM Updater needs to reach the component catalog, or download a component package, it may need to pass through the HTTP/HTTPS proxy, if the network uses one. On macOS, the proxy settings are automatically obtained from the OS. On Linux, ensure that the http_proxy and https_proxy environment variables are set appropriately before launching the gu tool. Refer to the distribution and/or desktop environment documentation for the details.

GraalVM Updater intentionally does not support an option to disable certificate or hostname verification, for security reasons. A user may try to add a proxy’s certificate to the GraalVM default security trust store. A user can also download a component manually to a folder, and then use gu -L install /path/to/file or gu -C /path/to/download/dir install component to install from a local filesystem.

Working without Internet Access

If your machine cannot access and download the catalog and components from the Internet, either because it is behind a proxy, or for security reasons, GraalVM Updater can install components from a local directory, or a directory on a network share accessible on the target machine.

You need to prepare a directory, download all components that you want to install and their dependencies (in case they require other GraalVM components to work) into that directory.

Then you can use gu -L install /path/to/file (where the -L option instructs to use local files, equivalent to --local-file or --file). Adding the -D option will instruct GraalVM Updater to look for potential dependencies in the directory next to the installable file. Additionally, gu -C /path/to/download/dir install component can be used, with the specified directory contents acting as a catalog of components.

Note that with gu -L you need to specify the component’s file name, while when using gu -C <dir>, the component name must be used:

# Specify file location
gu -LD install /tmp/installables/ruby.jar

# Specify component name
gu -C /tmp/instalables install ruby

Replace Components and Files

A component may be only installed once. GraalVM Updater refuses to install a component if a component with the same ID is already installed. However, the installed component can be replaced. GraalVM Updater first uninstalls the component and then installs a new package.

To replace a component, use the -r option, and the -L (--local-file or --file) option to treat parameters as local filename of a packaged component:

gu install -L -r component.jar
gu install -r ruby

The process is the same as if gu remove is run first and gu install next.

GraalVM Updater also refuses to overwrite existing files if the to-be-installed and existing versions differ. There are cases when refreshing file contents may be needed, such as if they were modified or damaged. In this case, use the -o option:

gu install -L -o component.jar
gu install -o ruby

GraalVM Updater will then instruct the user to replace the contained files of a component. By default, it will not alter anything. Alternatively, use the -f (--force) option, which disables most of the checks, and allows the user to install non-matching versions.


If a language component is not installed, running code that tries to initialize that language context can result in an exception like this:

Caused by: A language with id '$language' is not installed. Installed languages are: [js, llvm].

If you see a problem like that, install the language runtime component as explained above on this page.