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The Ruby Language FAQ: Installing Ruby Next Previous Contents

3. Installing Ruby

3.1 What operating systems support Ruby?

Ruby is developed under Linux, and is written in fairly straightforward C. It runs under UNIX, DOS, Windows 95/98/NT/2000, Mac OSX, BeOS, Amiga, Acorn Risc OS, and OS/2.

H Morita notes:

There's a MacOS (not X) port of Ruby, by Hisakuni FUJIMOTO at However it's based on Ruby 1.1b7, and hasn't been updated since December 1999. It's highly experimental. It may crash and sometimes freeze the OS, even with the sample scripts included in the Ruby distribution. (Sounds like fun ;-).


Rob tells us that there's Ruby 1.6.4 for OS/2 at

Chris Gehlker tells us there's a precompiled binary of Ruby for Max OS X 10.* at

3.2 Where can I get Ruby sources?

The latest version of Ruby can be downloaded from: Mirror sites are also listed on this page.

Also on this page is a link to a nightly snapshot of the development tree.

3.3 Can I get to the development source tree?

If you have a CVS client, you can check out the current source tree using:

% cvs -d login
(Logging in to
CVS password: guest
% cvs -d co ruby

If you do not have CVS you can get a nightly snapshot of the development source from

3.4 How do I compile Ruby?

Under Unix, Ruby uses the autoconf system to configure the build environment. You don't need the autoconf command on your box to build Ruby from a distribution; just use the commands:

% ./configure  [configure options]
% make
% make test
% make install

You may need superuser privileges to install Ruby if you don't override the default installation location (/usr/local). You can get a full list of configure options using:

% ./configure --help

If you are working from the CVS archive, you may need to run autoconf before running configure.

3.5 **Changed** How do I tell Ruby where my libraries are?

On some systems, the build process may fail to find libraries used by extension modules (for example the dbm libraries).

You can tell Ruby where to find libraries using options to configure. From [ruby-talk:5041]:

  ./configure --with-xxx-yyy=DIR

where xxx is either

  opt           extra software path in general
  dbm           path for dbm library
  gdbm          path for gdbm library
  x11           ...for X11..
  tk            ...for Tk...
  tcl           ...for Tcl...

and yyy is either

  dir           specifies -I DIR/include -L DIR/lib
  include       specifies -I DIR
  lib           specifies -L DIR

On HP-UX, there may be problems building with gcc. Try using the native compiler instead. WATANABE Tetsuya recommends:

  CC="cc -Ae" CFLAGS=-O ./configure --prefix=/opt/gnu

There may also be problems with HP's native sed. He recommends installing the GNU equivalent.

3.6 Are precompiled binaries available?

A single download that contains everything you need to run Ruby under various Windows operating systems. is available from RubyCentral's One-click Windows installer. This installation uses cygwin, and includes Tk support.

If you want other installation options, precompiled binaries for Windows are also available from If you download the ruby-1.x.y-yyyymmdd-i386-cygwin.tar.gz package (which is a good choice), you'll also need to download the cygwin DLL, available from the same page.

Reuben Thomas writes:

You could mention that there's a port to Acorn RISC OS, currently of v1.4.3. I made the port, and have no plans to maintain it, but I did send the patches to matz, so newer versions may well compile too.

I do provide a binary distribution of 1.4.3 for the Acorn at

3.7 What's all this 'cygwin', 'mingw', and 'djgpp' stuff?

Ruby is written to take advantage of the rich feature set of a Unix environment. Unfortunately, Windows is missing some of the functions, and implements others differently. As a result, some kind of mapping layer is needed to run Ruby (and other Unix-based programs) under windows.

You may come across different versions of the Ruby executable that use different wrapper mapping layers.

The rbdj version is a stand-alone version of the Windows binary of Ruby. It uses the DJ Delorie tools (

The rbcw version is a Windows binary of Ruby that requires the cygwin library, available at or from the Ruby download pages. Cygwin is a both an emulation layer and a set of utilities initially produced by Cygnus Solutions (now part of Redhat). The Cygwin version of Ruby probably has the fullest set of features under Windows, so most programmers will want to use it.

To use the rbcw version, you will need to install the cygwin .dll separately. Once you have installed cygwin on your computer, copy cygwin1.dll (which is found in the bin subdirectory of the cygwin distribution) to your Windows\System32 folder (or somewhere else on your path).

Thanks to Anders Schneiderman for the basis of this description

3.8 Why doesn't Tk graphics work under Windows?

  1. Is Tk installed correctly on your Windows box? Go to to find a precompiled binary Tcl/Tk distribution for your box.
  2. Are the environment variables TCL_LIBRARY and TK_LIBRARY pointing to the directories containing tcl and tk?
  3. Is the tk library in your path?

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