Using Ruby Enterprise Edition and Passenger on OS X with RVM

Ever since I installed Ruby 1.9.2-head with RVM (Ruby Version Manager) I’ve become a convert of using it to manage all of my Ruby installs.

Last week I decided to install Ruby Enterprise Edition on my development environment as my default Ruby install. My motivation for this was two-fold; better memory management and a comment by Laurent Sansonetti (one of the authors of MacRuby and works at Apple) on an article written by Robby Russell titled Installing Ruby on Rails, Passenger, PostgreSQL, MySQL, Oh My Zsh on Show Leopard, Fourth Edition.

The comment left by Laurent suggested not to rename the default Ruby install (and then symlinkling the Ruby installed via Ports) but to manage it by setting the load path.

Using RVM, we can install any Ruby version we want and have it set as the default Ruby instance easily. Let’s see how it’s done.

Note: The following documentation worked on my install of OS X. When encountering an error with the following instructions refer to the RVM documentation.

Installing the RVM Gem

There are multiple ways to install RVM, but I chose the gem install method (even if it is listed as not recommended in the documentation).

sudo gem install rvm

Installing RVM and Adding Hooks to Your Shell (bash, zsh, etc.)

Once the gem has been installed, you can now run the rvm-install command to add the hooks to your shell by running the following:


After RVM has been installed, you’ll be prompted to change something in your shell profile (the end of the install process will provide you with a code snippet). Since I’m using Oh My Zsh, and therefore the z shell (zsh), I opened up my .zshrc file located at /Users/carlos/.zshrc and pasted the code snippet at the bottom of the file.

Here is an example (the code snippet might be different depending on your shell and the version of RVM that was installed):

if [[ -s /Users/carlos/.rvm/scripts/rvm ]] ; then source /Users/carlos/.rvm/scripts/rvm ; fi

Updating RVM to the Latest Version

The gem version of RVM seems to be a little behind (this may be why it’s not recommended) so we’re going to update it. This updates RVM to the latest, greatest version.

rvm update --head

Installing Ruby Enterprise Edition and Dependencies

As the title of this post suggests, we’re going to be installing Ruby Enterprise Edition. According the web site, using Ruby Enterprise Edition has the potential to reduce Ruby memory consumption by 33% (on average) when used in combination with Phusion Passenger.

Before we can start installing Ruby Enterprise Edition we need to install Readline.

rvm package install readline

Once that’s done, we’re ready to get to the main event; installing Ruby Enterprise Edition.

rvm install ree -C --with-readline-dir=$HOME/.rvm/[yourusername]

Usually it will take some time for Ruby to be downloaded, compiled and properly installed with RubyGems support. When that’s done, you can switch over to your new RVM Ruby interpreter:

rvm use ree

Installing RubyCocoa for Use with the Passenger Preference Pane

Passenger is easiest to administer with the Passenger Preference Pane but it has some dependencies that we’ll have to install in order for it to work. If you don’t wish to manage virtual hosts with the Passenger Preference Pane, you can skip down to the next section.

Installing RubyCocoa

At the time of this writing, RubyCocoa 1.0.1 has been released but it’s broken at this time so we’ll have to rely on RubyCocoa 1.0.0.

Let’s download this from source and build it:

tar xzf RubyCocoa-1.0.0.tar.gz && rm RubyCocoa-1.0.0.tar.gz && cd RubyCocoa-1.0.0

ruby install.rb config --build-universal=yes
ruby install.rb setup
sudo ruby install.rb install

To make sure that RubyCocoa you’ll need to pop open an IRB session:

require 'osx/cocoa'

If everything has gone well, you’ll see the shell return ‘true’ and you’re ready to install the Passenger Preference Pane

Installing and Configuring Passenger

Note: If you already had a development environment up and running, you’ll need to re-install your gems into the new RVM’d environment. When installing a gem into an RVM’d environment, do not prepend the command with sudo.

Before we can install Passenger, we’ll need to generate some wrapper scripts. This is done with the following:

rvm ree --passenger

Since the Ruby Enterprise Edition suggests using it with Passenger, we’ll go ahead and install the gem now.

gem install passenger

Once the gem has been installed, we need to to make sure that Apache is running; open up the System Preferences and then the Sharing applet. Make sure that Web Sharing is checked. Doing so will start the Apache web server.

Since Apache has been installed we need to have Passenger and Apache be friends. Start off by adding the Passenger module to Apache:

rvmsudo passenger-install-apache2-module

Towards the end of the installation process, you’ll be prompted to copy some information to put into your Passenger configuration file. There is a catch though, the Passenger install has no idea that you’re using RVM so the last two lines have inaccurate information (they are most likely referencing your system Ruby instance). The fix for this is easy though, you’ll just have to change the references to point to your RVM’d instance instead.

Here is an example from my install (obviously you’ll want to replace [yourusername] with your actual username:

LoadModule passenger_module /Users/[yourusername]/.rvm/gems/ree-1.8.7-2010.01/gems/passenger-2.2.11/ext/apache2/mod_passenger.so
PassengerRoot /Users/[yourusername]/.rvm/gems/ree-1.8.7-2010.01/gems/passenger-2.2.11
PassengerRuby /Users/[yourusername]/.rvm/bin/passenger_ruby

As mentioned, the above code snippet needs to be added to a passenger configuration file which I normally put in /private/etc/apache2/other and I call the file passenger.conf. I should note that this directory is owned by root, so when you create the file and save it you’ll have to provide your system password in order to make the changes.

Here is a sample of my configuration file:

LoadModule passenger_module /Users/carlos/.rvm/gems/ree-1.8.7-2010.02/gems/passenger-2.2.14/ext/apache2/mod_passenger.so
PassengerRoot /Users/carlos/.rvm/gems/ree-1.8.7-2010.02/gems/passenger-2.2.14
PassengerRuby /Users/carlos/.rvm/bin/passenger_ruby

#Set the default environment to development
RailsEnv development

# Which directory do you want Apache to be able to look into for projects?
<Directory "/Users/carlos/work">
	Order allow,deny
	Allow from all

Finishing Up

If you’d like to make Ruby Enterprise Edition your default Ruby Interpreter, just use the following command:

rvm ree --default

Once Passenger has been configured, all that’s left to do is restart Apache. You can restart Apache by going to the System Preferences Pane and selecting the Sharing applet. Uncheck and re-check Web Sharing.

You should now be able to add Rails and Rack applications with the Passenger Preference Pane. Note: When opening the Passenger Preference Pane, you might see this warning:

Passenger Preference Pane 32bit Warning

This is normal if you have a 64-bit machine. Since RubyCocoa is 32-bit, it just has to relaunch the preference pane.

RVM is a fast moving target and as such these installation instructions may be out of date by the time you read them. I try to update my older posts when I get new information, but if you stumble across something that doesn’t work or if you know of a better way of doing something, please let me know.


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