rbfu is a simple tool that manages multiple installations of Ruby and allows you to switch between them on the fly.
First and foremost, it supports an explicit invocation style that takes a Ruby version as a command line parameter or reads it from
.ruby-version, if present:
$ rbfu @1.8.7 ruby -v # switches to Ruby 1.8.7 and executes the command $ rbfu ruby -v # switches to Ruby version specified in .ruby-version
You can use
rbfu-env to modify the current environment:
$ rbfu-env @1.8.7 # modifies current environment to use Ruby 1.8.7 $ rbfu-env # same as above, but reads Ruby version from .ruby-version
And, of course, there's also an (optional) automatic mode that automatically modifies your shell session when you cd into a directory containing a
Most Ruby developers like to keep different self-compiled versions of Ruby on their systems so they can switch back and forth between them depending on the project they're working on. Most of them use RVM to do this; others prefer rbenv. Both are great tools, but do a little bit too much for my taste.
See, the thing is: switching Ruby versions is actually a trivial operation, since it merely involves modifying a couple of environment variables (
GEM_PATH). Both RVM and rbenv go through a lot of hassle in order to eventually perform this very simple operation.
rbfu is trying to keep things simple; it's a small shell script that doesn't do much else beyond changing the variables mentioned above.
I believe that software should be small and focused. rbfu doesn't come with support for gemsets (a feature I personally disagree with), nor will it compile Ruby for you (it's easy enough with ruby-build).
It just does one thing, and I think it does it really well.
If this appeals to you, please give rbfu a spin.
If you're on OS X and using Homebrew, you can install rbfu through the following command:
brew install http://git.io/rbfu.rb
Please don't forget to follow the instructions provided by the above command.
If you're not using Homebrew, don't worry; installing rbfu is very straight-forward (and should work fine on Linux & friends, too).
Download/clone the rbfu code and run the install script:
git clone git://github.com/hmans/rbfu.git cd rbfu ./install.sh
This will copy the
/usr/local/bin. If you need to install
rbfuto a different directory, you can supply the
PREFIXenvironment variable, manually copy
bin/rbfuto a directory of your choosing, or add the provided
bindirectory to your PATH. Either way, all you need to do is make
rbfuavailable in your
Add the following initialization line to a shell startup script of your choosing (eg.
eval "$(rbfu --init --auto)"
Or, if you don't want RVM-style automatic version switching (see below), leave out the
eval "$(rbfu --init)"
rbfu can switch between multiple installations of Ruby on the fly, and it expects them to live within directories named
$HOME/.rbfu/rubies/$VERSION/. Feel free to install your favourite Ruby versions however you prefer to do it, but I recommend the excellent ruby-build tool.
Using ruby-build, here's how you'd install a bunch of popular Ruby versions:
ruby-build 1.8.7-p352 $HOME/.rbfu/rubies/1.8.7-p352 ruby-build 1.9.2-p290 $HOME/.rbfu/rubies/1.9.2-p290 ruby-build 1.9.3-p194 $HOME/.rbfu/rubies/1.9.3-p194
Obviously, each installed Ruby version will have its own self-contained set of gems and associated binaries, so go wild!
First and foremost,
rbfu is meant to be invoked explicitely, meaning that you can prefix your commands with
rbfu, and it will make sure those commands run in an environment that is configured to use the specified version of Ruby.
The basic syntax looks like this:
rbfu [@<version>] <command>
A couple of examples:
rbfu @1.8.7 rake db:migrate rbfu @jruby bundle install rbfu @1.9.3 thin start
@<version> parameter is optional; if not specified, rbfu will look for a file named
.ruby-version (or, alternatively,
.rbfu-version) in your current directory, followed by your home directory. This allows you to set global default for your user account, and project-specific overrides.
.ruby-version files are expected to contain nothing but the Ruby version requested. For example:
echo "1.9.3-p0" > $HOME/.ruby-version rbfu ruby -v # will use 1.9.3-p0
@<version> parameter is given, it will always override whatever versions are specified in available
Modifying the current shell environment
Instead of prefixing all your commands with
rbfu, you can use
rbfu-env to reconfigure your current shell session. Example:
The above command will reconfigure your currently active shell session to use Ruby 1.9.3-p0. All commands run from within that session will use that version of Ruby, until the shell session is reconfigured again.
rbfu-env is only available if the
rbfu --init line has been added to your shell startup script, as described in the "Installation" section above.
Automatic Version Switching
If your shell startup script invocation of
rbfu --init includes the
--auto option (see "Installating rbfu"), rbfu will be configured to switch Ruby versions automatically when changing to a new directory containing a
(Also known as "works like RVM mode". Some people don't like this behavior, so it's optional -- simply remove the
--auto option to disable this.)
Frequently Asked Questions / Tips & Tweaks
How do I assign shorter names to my Rubies ("1.8.7" instead of "1.8.7-p352")?
rbfu doesn't care what the directories your Rubies are installed in are named. You can install a version like 1.8.7-p352 into
$HOME/.rbfu/rubies/1.8.7, and it will be available through
How do I alias a Ruby version to a different name?
Simply symlink the directory.
ln -s $HOME/.rbfu/rubies/jruby-1.6.5 $HOME/.rbfu/rubies/jruby rbfu @jruby
How do I create a new gemset?
RVM (a tool similar to rbfu) contains functionality to create completely separate sets of RubyGems (aka gemsets). rbfu does not contain such functionality, nor am I planning on adding it (I believe it's not neccessary; managing gem dependencies with Bundler works just fine, thank you very much.)
If you really want or need gemset-like functionality, you can emulate it by simply creating separate Rubies and using them in your projects (eg.
$HOME/.rbfu/rubies/project_b/). The overhead isn't all that bad.
How do I use rbfu with Pow?
.ruby-version file to your project, as well as a
.powrc file containing the following line:
This will make Pow start up your project through rbfu. We're working on adding built-in support for rbfu to Pow soon.
Why doesn't rbfu just install new Rubies itself?
This could be added easily (it's a simple invocation of
ruby-build); however, I'm actively deciding against it because the most important design decision for rbfu is that it's supposed to do just one thing, and installing Rubies is not that thing.
Installing new Rubies is easy enough; in fact, if a requested Ruby version is missing, rbfu will print the command required to install it (using ruby-build).
If you ever want to get rid of rbfu, make sure the
@system Ruby is active, remove the rbfu line from your shell startup script, delete the rbfu executable (or run
brew uninstall rbfu, if using Homebrew), reload your environment, and finally delete the
rbfu-env @system rm -rf $HOME/.rbfu/
Please note that this will also delete all Ruby versions managed by rbfu, including all of their installed gems. Destruction is fun!
Also, don't forget to remove the rbfu line from your shell startup script.
- rbfu now also looks for
.ruby-versionfiles, using the same format as the
.rbfu-versionfiles supported previously.
.ruby-versionis being established as a common Ruby version specification format, with support being added to RVM, rbenv and other Ruby version managers.
- zsh completion compatibility (thanks to @dbloete)
- improved compatibility with bash < 4.0
- First official release, featuring the new "@version" invocation style.
- Hendrik Mans (author and maintainer)
- Sebastian Röbke, Dennis Reimann, Lukas Westermann and Peter Aronoff (tab completion code for bash and zsh)
Copyright (c) 2011 Hendrik Mans
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