Chef cookbook for ruby-build. Manages the ruby-build framework and its installed rubies. A LWRP is also defined.
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chef-ruby_build Build Status


Manages the ruby-build framework and its installed Rubies. A lightweight resources and providers (LWRP) is also defined.


Simply include recipe[ruby_build] in your run_list to have ruby-build installed. You will also have access to the ruby_build_ruby resource. See the Resources and Providers section for more details.



Tested on 0.10.8 but newer and older version should work just fine. File an issue if this isn't the case.


The following platforms have been tested with this cookbook, meaning that the recipes and LWRPs run on these platforms without error:

  • ubuntu (10.04/10.10/11.04/11.10/12.04)
  • mac_os_x (10.7/10.8)
  • debian
  • freebsd
  • redhat
  • centos
  • fedora
  • amazon
  • scientific
  • suse

Please report any additional platforms so they can be added.


There are no external cookbook dependencies. However, if you are installing JRuby then a Java runtime will need to be installed. The Opscode java cookbook can be used on supported platforms.


Depending on the situation and use case there are several ways to install this cookbook. All the methods listed below assume a tagged version release is the target, but omit the tags to get the head of development. A valid Chef repository structure like the Opscode repo is also assumed.

From the Opscode Community Platform

To install this cookbook from the Opscode platform, use the knife command:

knife cookbook site install ruby_build

Using Berkshelf

Berkshelf is a cookbook dependency manager and development workflow assistant. To install Berkshelf:

cd chef-repo
gem install berkshelf
berks init

To use the Community Site version:

echo "cookbook 'ruby_build'" >> Berksfile
berks install

Or to reference the Git version:

latest_release=$(curl -s$repo/git/refs/tags \
| ruby -rjson -e '
  j = JSON.parse(;
  puts { |t| t["ref"].split("/").last }.sort.last
cat >> Berksfile <<END_OF_BERKSFILE
cookbook 'ruby_build',
  :git => 'git://$repo.git', :branch => '$latest_release'

Using Librarian-Chef

Librarian-Chef is a bundler for your Chef cookbooks. To install Librarian-Chef:

cd chef-repo
gem install librarian
librarian-chef init

To use the Opscode platform version:

echo "cookbook 'ruby_build'" >> Cheffile
librarian-chef install

Or to reference the Git version:

latest_release=$(curl -s$repo/git/refs/tags \
| ruby -rjson -e '
  j = JSON.parse(;
  puts { |t| t["ref"].split("/").last }.sort.last
cat >> Cheffile <<END_OF_CHEFFILE
cookbook 'ruby_build',
  :git => 'git://$repo.git', :ref => '$latest_release'
librarian-chef install



Installs the ruby-build codebase and initializes Chef to use the Lightweight Resources and Providers (LWRPs).



The Git URL which is used to install ruby-build.

The default is "git://".


A specific Git branch/tag/reference to use when installing ruby-build. For example, to pin ruby-build to a specific release:

node['ruby_build']['git_ref'] = "v20111030"

The default is "master".


The default base path for a system-wide installed Ruby. For example, the following resource:

ruby_build_ruby "1.9.3-p0"

will be installed into "#{node['ruby_build']['default_ruby_base_path']}/1.9.3-p0" unless a prefix_path attribute is explicitly set.

The default is "/usr/local/ruby".


Determines how to handle installing updates to the ruby-build framework. There are currently 2 valid values:

  • "none", false, or nil: will not update ruby-build and leave it in its current state.
  • "sync" or true: updates ruby-build to the version specified by the git_ref attribute or the head of the master branch by default.

The default is "none".

Resources and Providers



Action Description Default
install Build and install a Ruby from a definition file. See the ruby-build readme(1) for more details. Yes
reinstall Force a recompiliation of the Ruby from source. The :install action will skip a build if the target install directory already exists.  
  1. ruby-build readme


Attribute Description Default Value
definition Name attribute: the name of a built-in definition(1) or the path to a ruby-build definition file. nil
prefix_path The path to which the Ruby will be installed. nil
user A user which will own the installed Ruby. The default value of nil denotes a system-wide Ruby (root-owned) is being targeted. Note: if specified, the user must already exist. nil
group A group which will own the installed Ruby. The default value of nil denotes a system-wide Ruby (root-owned) is being targeted. Note: if specified, the group must already exist. nil
environment A Hash of additional environment variables(2), such as CONFIGURE_OPTS or RUBY_BUILD_MIRROR_URL. nil
  1. built-in definition
  2. special environment variables


Install Ruby
ruby_build_ruby "1.9.3-p0" do
  prefix_path "/usr/local/ruby/ruby-1.9.3-p0"

  action      :install

ruby_build_ruby "jruby-1.6.5"

Note: the install action is default, so the second example is more common.

Install A Ruby For A User
ruby_build_ruby "maglev-1.0.0" do
  prefix_path "/home/deploy/.rubies/maglev-1.0.0"
  user        "deploy"
  group       "deploy"
Reinstall Ruby
ruby_build_ruby "rbx-1.2.4" do
  prefix_path "/opt/rbx-1.2.4"

  action      :reinstall

Note: the Ruby will be built whether or not the Ruby exists in the prefix_path directory.


Pull requests are very welcome! Make sure your patches are well tested. Ideally create a topic branch for every separate change you make.

License and Author

Author:: Fletcher Nichol ( endorse

Copyright 2011, Fletcher Nichol

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.