Working with chruby and nvm on Ubuntu

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This guide shows you how to install and configure chruby and nvm on Ubuntu.

Table of Contents


I am setting up a new Ubuntu 16.04 dev environment. I wanted to take some notes on my progress. I am trying out chruby after it being highly recommended by the ruby gurus Eric and Zach. A natural place to start would be to get this Jekyll blog running locally. I ran into a few stumbling blocks.

Installing chruby and a Ruby version

There are many different ways to do this, I chose the method below.

  1. Download and Install chruby
     wget -O chruby-0.3.9.tar.gz
     tar xf chruby-0.3.9.tar.gz
     cd chruby-0.3.9/
     sudo make install
  2. Add chruby to your .bashrc
     source /usr/local/share/chruby/
     source /usr/local/share/chruby/
  3. Install dependencies
     sudo apt-get install -y build-essential bison zlib1g-dev \
     libyaml-dev libssl-dev libgdbm-dev libreadline-dev \
     libncurses5-dev libffi-dev
  4. Install Ruby 2.3.1 This will work for any version of Ruby, but 2.3.1 is the one that I needed.
     tar xf ruby-2.3.1.tar.bz2
     cd ruby-2.3.1/
     ./configure --prefix=/opt/rubies/ruby-2.3.1
     sudo make install
  5. Install Gems for Jekyll Now that we have Ruby installed, we can install bundler and install all of our Gems.
     chruby 2.3.1
     gem install bundle
     bundle install

Once everything had been installed I tried to start up jekyll, and of course it did not work since I do not yet have node installed.

`rescue in block (2 levels) in require': There was an error while trying to load
the gem 'jekyll-coffeescript'. (Bundler::GemRequireError)
Gem Load Error is: Could not find a JavaScript runtime. See for a list of available runtimes.

Since I often work with many different versions of node, I took the opportunity to install nvm rather than the version of node that is available in the Ubuntu repositories.

Installing nvm

nvm is a really nice tool for working with various versions of node.

  1. Run the installer script
     curl -o- | bash

    This will install nvm and add the appropriate lines to your ~/.bashrc file in order to load properly.

  2. Install the latest version of node
     nvm install node

    Source NVM To get nvm working in the same terminal, you can run source ~/.bashrc, alternatively you can open a new terminal and nvm will automatically be sourced since the installer script added the appropriate bits for us.

You can now load jekyll with jekyll -s. Not only do we have Jekyll running like a charm, we also are ready to work with any version of Ruby or Node with chruby and nvm.

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