Technical notes and explications of code


This is the third, in a sort-of-three-part-series on Ruby managers. In the first post, I discussed using rbenv in place of rvm which I had been using up until that point. I found rbenv to be more lightweight than rvm, and it proved to be a better fit for my production environment.

Chruby is an even more slimmed-down version of rbenv’s essential features. It simply changes your ruby to whichever version you need it to be. That’s it. The improvement, in my mind, is due to the fact that it doesn’t use shims or other shell acrobatics. This was causing me some grief when testing certain Rails- engine applications that would install and spin-up sample Rails applications in order to run all the tests. The particular problem with this was that it required global gems and not gems that were confined to a particular location or subfolder. When doing this under rbenv, you needed to run rehash and using rbenv-rehash didn’t seem to work either.

Rails Gotta Brand New bin/

The other issue is that Rails 4 now keeps all of your application executables in the local bin/ directory. This is a good thing, but since I was keeping bundler’s gem executables in the same directory, it was a bit of a mess. It didn’t seem like a good idea to mix a gems executables in the same directory as the custom executables from your application. The better solution was to go with a simpler bundler config for each directory:

BUNDLE_PATH: .bundle

and keep ~/.bundle/config empty. This way, everything works in its default state everywhere, unless I’ve specified a particular configuration for a given project. This is great if you want to have psudo-gemsets or groups of gems confined to a particular project while the rest of the system has whatever it needs.

Installing chruby

Very, very easy. I did it with Homebrew:

brew install chruby

I had to remove rbenv first, which had also been installed with Homebrew:

brew uninstall rbenv
rm -Rf ~/.rbenv

Installing new rubies is done with ruby-install, which rbenv also used, but here we use it in its original form:

brew install ruby-install
ruby-install ruby 1.9
ruby-install ruby 2.0

Which will install two rubies, the latest stable 1.9 version and the latest 2.0 version. Then if you want to switch, it’s just a matter of:

chruby ruby-1.9.3-p286
chruby ruby-2.0.0-p195

If you want a default ruby with each shell, say version 1.9, add these lines to your .bashrc, .bash_profile, or .profile:

source /usr/local/share/chruby/chruby.sh
chruby ruby-1.9.3-p286

Similarly, you could add a new file to /etc/profiles.d under RedHat if you wanted all your users to get specific rubies upon login.

Project Rubies and Gems

For projects that require specific versions of ruby, or anywhere else in your system where you want a certain version of ruby to run, simply put one of these in your directory with whatever ruby you wish:


Project gems are done via bundler, using the config file I laid out at the beginning. Then, when you run bundle install, the gems are placed under .bundler. System-wide gems are installed with the gem command and placed in their default location under ~/.gem/ruby with the directory name of the current version.


I did notice that when I switched from a global bundle config to a local per-directory config, the location of the gems moved from .bundle to .bundle/ruby/1.9.1 which was odd since I’m using ruby 1.9.3. Re-arranging and re-configuring the .bundle directory did the the trick without having to install anything:

cd .bundler
rm config
mkdir -p ruby/1.9.1
cp * ruby/1.9.1/
cd ..
bundle config --local path .bundle
bundle config --local disable_shared_gems '1'

Also, you should always use bundle exec within your projects to ensure you’re getting the correct executable from your bundle.

Future Plans

I’m still using rbenv in production. I may switch over the chruby, but for now I’m very satisfied with rbenv and will continue to use it for my servers and use chruby for my local development work.