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Trying to install boom

boom is a key-value store, running on the command line and written in ruby. I don't know whether I need a key-value store for my command line, but I remember when I didn't know if I needed a laptop, bash, Linux, VirtualBox, an RSS aggregator, and so many other things. So, I thought I'd try it. And, I of course decided to try it first on the machine I command line the most, my work machine, which runs Ubuntu 10.04, the long-term support version.

jacoby@oz:~$ uname -a
Linux oz 2.6.32-34-generic #77-Ubuntu SMP Tue Sep 13 19:40:53 UTC 2011 i686 GNU/Linux
jacoby@oz:~$ ruby -v
ruby 1.9.1p378 (2010-01-10 revision 26273) [i486-linux]
jacoby@oz:~$ gem -v
jacoby@oz:~$ gem install boom
WARNING:  Installing to ~/.gem since /var/lib/gems/1.9.1 and
	  /var/lib/gems/1.9.1/bin aren't both writable.
WARNING:  You don't have /home/jacoby/.gem/ruby/1.9.1/bin in your PATH,
	  gem executables will not run.
ERROR:  Error installing boom:
	multi_json requires RubyGems version >= 1.3.6
jacoby@oz:~$ gem update --system 1.3.7
ERROR:  While executing gem ... (RuntimeError)
    gem update --system is disabled on Debian. RubyGems can be updated using the official Debian repositories by aptitude or apt-get.

I followed this up by downloading and building ruby and trying to do a gem install from that. Into my second day, I decided that spending more of my precious time trying to get it working on Ubuntu was a waste. So I briefly considered reimplementing it in perl, then found ruby for Windows and installed it on my Win7 box. Then I opened a term and did the gem install. And now it works.

I find this profoundly disappointing.

I don't think this is the fault of Zach Holman, the creator of boom. I have now tried boom on Windows and kinda like it. I suspect (and might pop open VirtualBox and a bleeding-edge distro to check) that the problem is that Ubuntu or just U10.04 is stuck with an ancient RubyGems the way that RHEL is stuck with ancient Perl. I just know that I don't believe it should've been a problem.


  1. RVM ( makes the pain of handling custom Rubies somewhat tolerable.