> I'd like to drop gem_prelude down to 'require "rubygems"'. If you want, we can profile this against normal and pathological gem setups first.


Perhaps another option would be trimming gem_prelude down "something like"

module Kernel
  alias old_r require

  def require *args
     begin
        old_r *args
     rescue LoadError
        require 'rubygems'
        old_r *args
     end
  end

end

(to not impact those that never use it)
Cheers!
-r