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Installing packages without linking #18971

also opened this Issue · 5 comments

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I'd like to install several versions of Ruby (or really any Homebrew package) without linking any of them. Basically, I'd like to treat any formula as keg-only.

I can't seem to find a way to do this, although it seems trivial. I thought there'd be something like brew install --no-link .

Is there a way to do what I want, or some reason why this is a bad idea?

I'd really like to use Homebrew to install Ruby versions, and rbenv to manage them.

(originally posted


brew install ruby; brew unlink ruby will do it. Doesn't seem a particularly bad idea but if you put rbenv before Homebrew in your path that'll achieve the same.


Right now the doctor warns if not-keg_only-formulae are unlinked.
I know keg_only formulae are specially handled (they are being added to CFLAGS etc.). Is the same done for unlinked "normal" formulae? Until this is not done, we should hold back a brew install --no-link option because it can break other builds. I am not sure about this - would need to check the source.

Besides that, I think a --no-link option might be worth considering. I heard a similar request several times. Though, I don't have a strong opinion on this.


Honestly, if you want to install multiple Rubies, I would just brew install rbenv ruby-build and let Rbenv/Ruby-build take it from there. You may need to manually set some CFLAGS (see the ruby-build wiki), but the end result is pretty easy to work with.


Agreed, and you may run into other subtle issues in trying to use Homebrew as a Ruby version manager. For example, the install names of the shared libraries will point at HOMEBREW_PREFIX/lib rather than any specific keg, which seems likely to cause trouble.

Much better off using a tool that was designed for this purpose like ruby-build or


Seems to be consensus that this is a WONTFIX, sorry.

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