The Chronicle

of a ColdFusion Expatriate

Rbenv Revisited

March 11, 2013

A few days ago I wrote about my experience with Rbenv, the Ruby environment manager (is that what they call it?). My overall experience was good, but I did encounter a couple of hiccups getting the “ruby-build” plugin to work. While installing the whole kit once again on this cute new Ubuntu laptop, I figured it out.

I shouldn’t have been so audacious as to try to install Rbenv using apt because, naturally, it isn’t the latest version. When you run the rbenv command, it actually executes a bash script that hands off to the program that handles whichever command you are running. In other words, when you run rbenv versions, it hands off to rbenv-versions, if it exists in your path.

It’s that “bootstrapping” bash script that is responsible for making sure that all of the necessary paths are searched for the program in question. The latest version (from github) actually looks through the ~/.rbenv/plugins directory. The version from apt does not.

Serves me right. Fortunately, fixing it is easy:

$ sudo apt-get remove rbenv
$ rm -rf ~/.rbenv
$ git clone git:// ~/.rbenv
$ git clone git:// 

That’s pretty much it. Remember to add the path stuff to your ~/.profile or ~/.bashrc or whatever. I share my shell configurations across several machines, not all of which use Rbenv, so I came up with this, which works nicely:

if [ -d $HOME/.rbenv/bin ]; then export PATH=$HOME/.rbenv/bin:$PATH; fi
if which rbenv > /dev/null; then eval "$(rbenv init -)"; fi

That will only change your path and import the Rbenv initialization settings if Rbenv actually exists. Harmony.

The next problem that I had was that Ruby had no OpenSSL support and refused to let bundler run. Ruby needs to be compiled with OpenSSL support, but I had built it using “ruby-build,” which takes no options (and generally doesn’t need to). Oddly it worked fine on the Ubuntu VM where I did this last time.

For whatever reason, this laptop didn’t have openssl nor libssl-dev installed. The thing is, if you don’t have libssl-dev, ruby won’t be able to compile its built-in OpenSSL stuff, but it won’t tell you this. Or, at least, it won’t fail to build, and since ruby-build gobbles up all of the output of the build process, you probably won’t know.

So the moral of the story is, on a virgin box, install openssl and libssl-dev before running your rbenv install stuff.