Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Installing Ruby on Rails in Ubuntu 12.04 on Azure

In previous posts, I covered installing Ubuntu on Windows Azure, remotely accessing Linux from Windows Azure, installing LAMP and installing Git on Linux and a few other topics. The next subject I’ll be writing about is the Ruby on Rails web development platform.

There are some great resources out there for learning Ruby and Rails, and when the install goes smoothly, it’s very easy. I’m not an expert on Ruby, but the install didn’t go swimmingly for me, so I’m writing this post.

Step 1 – Install RVM and Ruby

\curl -L | bash -s stable --ruby

Ruby Version Manager (RVM) is a great tool for working with Ruby. You can even run multiple versions of Ruby and easily switch back and forth.


Step 2 – Install Rails

Finally, you can use RubyGems to install rails:

gem install rails (may need sudo, I had to run it with both, see note below)

Note: if you see the error, ERROR:  Error installing rails: activesupport requires Ruby version >= 1.9.3.”, (or some other version) install Ruby 1.9.3 (Yes, even if you have a newer version installed) then use RVM to set the old version as the default using: rvm use ruby-1.9.3. This caused me much angst today. You can use ruby –v to see which version you’re running and rvm list to see the installed versions.

I also ran into this ugly error:

cawood@cawood:~$ rails --version
/usr/lib/ruby/1.9.1/rubygems/dependency.rb:247:in `to_specs': Could not find railties (>= 0) amongst [activesupport-4.0.2, atomic-1.1.14, bigdecimal-1.1.0, bundler-1.3.5, bundler-unload-1.0.2, executable-hooks-1.2.6, gem-wrappers-0.9.2, i18n-0.6.9, io-console-0.3, json-1.5.5, minitest-4.7.5, minitest-2.5.1, multi_json-1.8.2, rake-, rdoc-3.9.5, rubygems-bundler-1.4.2, rvm-, thread_safe-0.1.3, tzinfo-0.3.38] (Gem::LoadError)
        from /usr/lib/ruby/1.9.1/rubygems/dependency.rb:256:in `to_spec'
        from /usr/lib/ruby/1.9.1/rubygems.rb:1210:in `gem'
        from /usr/local/bin/rails:18:in `<main>'

I had to run gem install rails (with no sudo) to get all the gems to install properly. After I did that, I could see that Rails was installed properly:

cawood@cawood:~$ rails --version
Rails 4.0.2

Of course, my list of installed gems was much longer because the missing gems had been installed. It should look like this:

cawood@cawood:~$ gem list

*** LOCAL GEMS ***

actionmailer (4.0.2)
actionpack (4.0.2)
activemodel (4.0.2)
activerecord (4.0.2)
activerecord-deprecated_finders (1.0.3)
activesupport (4.0.2)
arel (4.0.1)
atomic (1.1.14)
bigdecimal (1.1.0)
builder (3.1.4)
bundler (1.3.5)
bundler-unload (1.0.2)
erubis (2.7.0)
executable-hooks (1.2.6)
gem-wrappers (0.9.2)
hike (1.2.3)
i18n (0.6.9)
io-console (0.3)
json (1.5.5)
mail (2.5.4)
mime-types (1.25.1)
minitest (4.7.5, 2.5.1)
multi_json (1.8.2)
polyglot (0.3.3)
rack (1.5.2)
rack-test (0.6.2)
rails (4.0.2)
railties (4.0.2)
rake (
rdoc (3.9.5)
rubygems-bundler (1.4.2)
rvm (
sprockets (2.10.1)
sprockets-rails (2.0.1)
thor (0.18.1)
thread_safe (0.1.3)
tilt (1.4.1)
treetop (1.4.15)
tzinfo (0.3.38)

Alternate Method—This didn’t work for me on Ubuntu 12.04

Step 1 – Install Ruby

You can either install the standard version: sudo apt-get install ruby-full build-essential
or the minimal requirements with: sudo aptitude install ruby build-essential libopenssl-ruby ruby1.8-dev (note the version number – you’ll have to update that).

I’m going with the first option to install ruby-full.


Step 2 – Install the Ruby Version Manager

CAUTION: Normally you would just run: sudo apt-get install ruby-rvm

However, there is an issue with the Ubuntu RVM package, so you should run this instead: \curl -L | bash -s stable --ruby --autolibs=enable --auto-dotfiles

If you do run into issues with RVM. For example, using rvm use doesn’t change to the version you want, you can run these commands to clean your system (see this thread).

sudo apt-get --purge remove ruby-rvm
sudo rm -rf /usr/share/ruby-rvm /etc/rvmrc /etc/profile.d/

Then, open new terminal and validate environment is clean from old RVM settings (should be no output):

env | grep rvm

Step 3 – Check that You’re Using the Latest Version of Ruby

ruby –v will show you which version you’re using.

If you’re not using the one you want, you can use RVM to upgrade. This will download the source that is then used by RVM in the next step to compile and install Ruby; it is not a quick command.

sudo rvm install ruby-1.9.3-p125


sudo rvm install ruby-1.9.3 (Note version number)

However, if you do the second option, you may need to workaround an issue before updating. If you try to install ruby-1.9.3, you might get the error: “ERROR: The requested url does not exist: '' from RVM. You can workaround this by downloading the package yourself.”

sudo curl -o /usr/share/ruby-rvm/archives/ruby-1.9.3-.tar.bz2 \

Check that you’re using the latest Ruby: ruby -v

If not, switch to the latest using RVM: rvm use 1.9.3

Step 4 – Install Rails

Finally, you can use RubyGems to install rails:

sudo gem install rails

Step 5 – Install a Web Server

I use Apache and MySQL, so the LAMP install works for me, but there are other options such as WEBrick or Lighttpd.

Other posts on this topic: getting started

Ubuntu documentation – Ruby on Rails

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