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Installing Rails on Ubuntu 12.10

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Installing Rails on Ubuntu 12.10

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Installing Ruby and Rails on Ubuntu 12.10 can throw up some errors. I’ve found a method that worked, and wrote a few notes about it.

Please note
This is a fresh copy of a post I wrote some time ago. It does still work as described. However, I am close to finishing a book on Rails 4.0. It will be published by SitePoint, so keep an eye out for it there. It should be available within the next couple of months. There is a much more comprehensive description of how to install Rails for Ubuntu in it.

I chose to go with RVM because that it was I used with previous versions of Ubuntu. All this work is done on the terminal. To install Ruby and Rails, you need to make sure that you have curl installed:

sudo apt-get install curl

While you are at it, you might as well install Git:

sudo apt-get install git-core

Next, we can install RVM:

curl -L get.rvm.io | bash -s stable

Installing the Dependencies for Ubuntu

Then, and this bit is critical, do:

rvm requirements

You’ll get a list of dependencies that MUST be installed for things to work properly. The list will look something like this:

Additional Dependencies:
# For Ruby / Ruby HEAD (MRI, Rubinius, & REE), 
install the following:
ruby: /usr/bin/apt-get install build-essential openssl libreadline6 libreadline6-dev curl git-core zlib1g zlib1g-dev libssl-dev libyaml-dev libsqlite3-dev sqlite3 libxml2-dev libxslt-dev autoconf libc6-dev ncurses-dev automake libtool bison subversion pkg-config

You have to install the dependencies. Bad things will happen if you don’t.

Well, not really bad things: Ruby/Rails just won’t work.

Next, you need to make sure that RVM is being loaded as a function. And this might present a problem. The usual method is to get on Terminal and do:

source ~/.rvm/scripts/rvm

Re-start Terminal, and then do:

type rvm | head -n 1

You should get: RVM is a function as a reply. If you do, great. If not, you’ll need to follow the instructions on the RVM web site here. What you need to do, is get Gnome-Terminal to Run command as login shell.

Here is how it’s explained on the RVM web site:

“By default, gnome-terminal runs Bash as usual, as a non-login shell, therefore skipping /etc/profile* and executing only the user’s ~/.bashrc. This means that RVM doesn’t load and you get the infamous ‘RVM is not a function’ message.”

(Source: rvm.io)

So when you have done that, and run type rvm | head -n 1 again, you should get the RVM is a function response.

Installing Ruby

Things should become a lot easier now. To install Ruby, we just do:

rvm install 1.9.3

RVM will go ahead and download and install Ruby version 1.9.3. Next, make sure that your system is using the newly installed Ruby:

rvm use 1.9.3 --default

We should be good to install Rails now:

gem install rails

The MySQL Gem

You can install MySQL through Software Centre these days. But when you do, make sure you also install libmysqlclient-dev because the mysql2 gem needs the header files. Otherwise, you will see all kinds of weird error messages when trying to install the gem.


I am now able to build Rails apps on my Ubuntu 12.10 installation. I’ll update this post if I find anything else that needs a tweak to get it working.

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