Setting up Ubuntu 9.04 for Ruby on Rails development

I've just installed Ubuntu 9.04 "Jaunty Jackalope", and so far I'm really impressed. It's slick and fast, with some really nice little touches (e.g. my laptop wakes up when I open the lid - I used to have to hit the power button to wake it up from suspend).

Here are the steps I went through to set it up for Rails development;

  • Launch a terminal and become root
  • aptitude install build-essential
This gives you a c compiler and a bunch of other stuff essential to allow you to build other packages (hence the name)
  • aptitude install git-core
I use git for version control. Of course, there are a bunch of subversion and other packages available too. In Ubuntu 9.04, the version of git is, which is good enough for me.
  • aptitude install phpunit php5-curl
I do some PHP development too. You can ignore this and the php mysql package later on, if you don't.
  • aptitude install ttf-mscorefonts-installer
This makes fonts look a lot nicer in firefox.
  • aptitude install rails vim-rails ruby1.8-dev
This will install rails 2.1.0. A later version would be nicer, but all my projects have their own version of rails in the vendor directory, so this is good enough.

I use gvim as my editor. You can skip the vim-rails if you don't.

The "ruby1.8-dev" package is important. Without this, you'll get failures loading "mkmf" whenever you try to install gems.
  • aptitude install mysql-server-5.0 php5-mysql mysql-client-5.0 libmysqlclient15-dev
Ubuntu 9.04 comes with mysql 5.1, but a lot of my projects are still using 5.0, so I want to stick to that for now.

"libmysqlclient15-dev" is required when we want to switch to a native mysql library for ruby. If you don't do this, you'll get deprecation warnings because the non-native, pure ruby library is going to be dropped soon.
  • gem install ruby-debug hpricot mongrel
So far, those have been the only gems I needed to install to get to the point where my specs would run.

Happy installing, and please add a comment if you've got any suggestions.