Installing Ruby

You can use several tools to install Ruby. This page describes how to use major package management systems and third-party tools for managing and installing Ruby and how to build Ruby from source.

Choose Your Installation Method

The following overview lists available installation methods for each of the major platforms. Choose the way that is the most comfortable for you.

Third Party Tools

Many Rubyists use third-party tools to install Ruby. They confer various advantages but are not officially supported. Their respective communities are very helpful, however.


rbenv allows you to manage multiple installations of Ruby. It does not support installing Ruby, but there is a popular plugin named ruby-build to install Ruby. Both tools are available for OS X, Linux, or other UNIX-like operating systems.

RVM (“Ruby Version Manager”)

RVM allows you to install and manage multiple installations of Ruby on your system. It can also manage different gemsets. It is available for OS X, Linux, or other UNIX-like operating systems.


If you are on Windows, there is a great project to help you install Ruby: RubyInstaller. It gives you everything you need to set up a full Ruby development environment on Windows.

Just download it, run it, and you are done!

RailsInstaller and Ruby Stack

If you are installing Ruby in order to use Ruby on Rails, you can use the following installers:

  • RailsInstaller which uses RubyInstaller but gives you extra tools that help with Rails development. It supports OS X and Windows.
  • Bitnami Ruby Stack which provides a complete development environment for Rails. It supports OS X, Linux, Windows, virtual machines and cloud images.

Package Management Systems

If you cannot compile your own Ruby, and you do not want to use a third party tool, you can use your system’s package manager to install Ruby.

Certain members in the Ruby community feel very strongly that you should never use a package manager to install Ruby and that you should use tools instead. While the full list of pros and cons are outside of the scope of this page, the most basic reason is that most package managers have older versions of Ruby in their official repositories. If you would like to use the newest Ruby, make sure you use the correct package name, or use the tools described above instead.

The following package managers are described below:

apt (Debian or Ubuntu)

Debian GNU/Linux and Ubuntu use the apt package manager. You can use it like this:

$ sudo apt-get install ruby

As of writing, the ruby package provides Ruby 1.9.3, which is an old stable release, on Debian and Ubuntu.

yum (CentOS, Fedora, or RHEL)

CentOS, Fedora, and RHEL use the yum package manager. You can use it like this:

$ sudo yum install ruby

The installed version is typically the latest version of Ruby available at the release time of the specific distribution version.

portage (Gentoo)

Gentoo uses the portage package manager.

$ sudo emerge dev-lang/ruby

By default, this will try to install all available versions (1.8, 1.9, and 2.0). To install a specific version, set RUBY_TARGETS in your make.conf. See the Gentoo Ruby Project website for details.

pacman (Arch Linux)

Arch Linux uses a package manager named pacman. To get Ruby, just do this:

$ sudo pacman -S ruby

Homebrew (OS X)

On OS X Mavericks, Ruby 2.0 is included. OS X Mountain Lion, Lion, and Snow Leopard ship with Ruby 1.8.7.

There are a number of options for installing newer versions of Ruby. Most OS X users in the Ruby community use the third party tools to install Ruby, but there are some package managers supporting Ruby.

Many people on OS X use Homebrew as a package manager. It is really easy to get Ruby:

$ brew install ruby

Also, since OS X is based on Unix, downloading and installing from the source is just as easy and effective as the other solutions. To help you with the installation of new Ruby versions on OS X, it is probably a good idea to use the third party tools.

Ruby on Solaris and OpenIndiana

Ruby 1.8.7 is available for Solaris 8 through Solaris 10 on Sunfreeware and Ruby 1.8.7 is available at Blastwave. Ruby 1.9.2p0 is also available at Sunfreeware, but this is outdated. Using the third party tools can get you the latest version of Ruby.

To install Ruby on OpenIndiana, please use the Image Packaging System (IPS) client. This will install the latest Ruby binaries and RubyGems directly from the OpenSolaris network repository for Ruby 1.9. It’s easy:

$ pkg install runtime/ruby-18

Like before, the third party tools are a good way to obtain the latest version of Ruby.

Other Distributions

On the other systems, you can search the package repository of your Linux distribution’s manager for Ruby, or the third party tools might be the right choice for you.

Building from Source

Of course, you can install Ruby from source. Download and unpack a tarball, then just do this:

$ ./configure
$ make
$ sudo make install

By default, this will install Ruby into /usr/local. To change, pass the --prefix=DIR option to the ./configure script.

Using the third party tools or package managers might be a better idea, though, because the installed Ruby won’t be managed by any tools.