GraalVM Updater

GraalVM Updater, gu, is a command line utility used 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, these are pre-packaged as JAR files and referenced in the documentation as “components”.


  • 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 with on the GraalVM runtime.

Language Runtimes:

  • Python – Python 3.8.2 compatible
  • Ruby – Ruby 2.6.6 compatible
  • R – GNU R 3.6.1 compatible
  • GraalWasm – WebAssembly (Wasm) ​ GraalVM Updater verifies whether 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. ​ Note: Components intended for Oracle GraalVM Enterprise Edition cannot be installed to GraalVM Community Edition. ​ A component may require other components as prerequisites for its operation. GraalVM Updater verifies such requirements and will attempt to download the required dependencies, or abort the installation if component’s requirements are not met.

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

Component Installation #

Three modes of a component installation are supported:

Manual Installation #

A manual installation is required for Oracle GraalVM Enterprise Edition users.

  1. Download a component from the Oracle Technology Network page. The following pre-built components are available for download:
    • Oracle GraalVM Enterprise Edition Native Image Early Adopter
    • GraalVM LLVM Toolchain Plugin
    • Oracle GraalVM Enterprise Edition Ruby Language Plugin
    • Oracle GraalVM Enterprise Edition Python Language Plugin
    • Oracle GraalVM Enterprise Edition WebAssembly Language Plugin
  2. Having downloaded a JAR file in consideration of the operating system and the underlying Java SE version, 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-java11-darwin-amd64-20.0.1.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 how to instruct GraalVM Updater to find and process required components.

Installation from Catalog #

The installation from catalog is required for GraalVM Community users.

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 components available in the catalog, their IDs and descriptive names:
    gu available
  2. Install the component package using the ComponentId value, for example, 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 required components cannot be found, installation will fail.

When using custom catalog URLs, it is possible, for a convenience, to set 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.

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 as the components collection. It is possible to type a components 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 correct version number for GraalVM Enterprise using wildcards:

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

It 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 R, Ruby, Python, and WebAssembly languages 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.

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 [custom native-image args]

Installation Configuration #

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

gu install [-0cCfFiLnorsuvyxY] 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
  • -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

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 [-0cCDfFiLnorsuvyxY] <param>: install a component package
  • gu list [-clv] <expression>: list installed components or components from catalog
  • gu remove [-0Dfxv] <id>: uninstall a component
  • gu update [-cCnLsux] [<ver>] [<param>]: upgrade to the recent GraalVM
  • gu rebuild-images: Rebuild native images. 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 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> to set the path to a custom GPG public key path
  • --username/-U to 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 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 -L option instructs to use local files, equivalent to --local-file or --file). Adding -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, 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/fastr.jar

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

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. But the installed component can be replaced. GraalVM Updater first uninstalls the component and then installs a new package. To replace component, use -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, if they were modified or damaged. Use -o option:

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

GraalVM Updater will just instruct 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.

Troubleshooting #

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.