Howto install multiple Ruby version with rvm

My work requires Ruby 1.8.7 and Rails 2.3.8 so the default Ruby 1.8.7 on Mac OS X does the job well. However I am itching to try out the Rails 3.0.0 and Ruby 1.9.2. But I don’t want to mess up with my current setup, so how could I have two version of Ruby running that do not bitch at each other?

Well, this tutorial I will show you how to install mutiple instances of Ruby w/o PATH hassles. Thanks to ‘rvm’, doing this could not be easier. ‘rvm’ stands for Ruby Versioning Manager, is a script that help you capsulate many Ruby version.


First you need to make sure your system met the requirements . I am using a Mac, so I need XCode 3.2 installed (the Download version one, not the DVD version because it has some bugs). And you also need to have ‘git’ installed too.


Grab the ‘rvm’ from its github and run the installation script:

mkdir -p ~/.rvm/src/ && cd ~/.rvm/src && rm -rf ./rvm/ && git clone --depth 1 git:// && cd rvm && ./install

Once finished, you should see output telling you to append a short snippet to the .bashrc and .bash_profile file. On my Mac, I have to append the following snippet into ~/.bashrc and ~/.bash_profile

echo "if [[ -s /Users/MAC/.rvm/scripts/rvm ]] ; then source /Users/MAC/.rvm/scripts/rvm ; fi" >> ~/.bashrc
echo "source ~/.bashrc" >> ~/.bash_profile

Please replace the snippet in your output in the text after the ‘echo’ command.

Close your Terminal and open it again to reload the bashrc. And you can start play with ‘rvm’.

rvm version

would give you

rvm 1.6.32 by Wayne E. Seguin ( []

Next is to install ruby 1.8.7 and ruby 1.9.2

rvm install 1.8.7 -C --enable-shared,--enable-pthread
rvm install 1.9.2 -C --enable-shared,--enable-pthread

Once finishing the above step, you can verify if it’s successful by

rvm list

you should see ruby1.8.7 and ruby1.9.2 in the list

rvm Rubies

   ruby-1.8.7-p352 [ x86_64 ]
   ruby-1.9.2-p290 [ x86_64 ]

Default Ruby (for new shells)

   ruby-1.8.7-p299 [ x86_64 ]

System Ruby

   system [ x86_64 i386 ppc ]


To use an instance for example ruby 1.8.7, invoke command

rvm use 1.8.7

or for 1.9.2

rvm use 1.9.2

if you want to set 1.8.7 the default

rvm use 1.8.7 --default

or with 1.9.2

rvm use 1.9.2 --default

You can verify the instance info with

rvm info

Know issues

Ruby 1.8.7 skips building ri and rdoc. The workaround is specify:

rvm docs generate-ri

OR to generate ri doc from source:

cd $rvm_path/src/ruby-1.8.7-p352
make install-all

linecache19 and ruby-debug19 are not installed due to missing Ruby headers. Here is how to fix:

gem install ruby-debug19 -- --with-ruby-include=$rvm_path/src/ruby-1.9.2-p290
gem install linecache19 -- --with-ruby-include=$rvm_path/src/ruby-1.9.2-p290

About Jones Lee

Nothing much about me..

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Permalink 2 Comments

2 responses to “Howto install multiple Ruby version with rvm

  1. Rodrigo Lopes

    Nice post. It helped me a lot.

  2. Maurice Fäh

    Regarding the fact that building ri is skipped…
    You can also be specific and use
    $ rvm docs generate-ri

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