Installing Rails on Debian or Ubuntu is quite simple. To ensure that you have a Rails-compatible version of Ruby installed, do not install the old (and possibly broken) version of Ruby with apt-get/aptitude. Rather, install Rubygems and have it fetch Ruby for you. Again… Do not install rails using apt-get/aptitude! The debian repository includes a very old and broken version.
From the command line, run:
aptitude update && aptitude upgrade
This will make sure you have everything up to date.
aptitude install rubygems build-essential
This will install RubyGems, the ruby package manager, and pull in ruby if you don’t have it installed already. The build-essential package contains all the native build tools for your system (gcc, dev libs, etc.). Build-essential isn’t required for Rails itself, but assuming you’ll ever want to install a gem with native extensions (like mongrel), you’ll need it.
Don’t forget to export the path via /etc/bash.bashrc (e.g.: export PATH=$PATH:/var/lib/gems/1.8/bin)
Lastly, we’ll install rails itself:
gem install rails --include-dependencies
You’re done. Now you may create (mkdir /var/rails) and chown (chown -R www-data:www-data /var/rails) your rails directory. Next, type su -m www-data and then rails testapplication to create your first r.o.r. webapp.
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