rbenv not behaving on Nitrous.io boxes


Obligatory Nitrous.io review that you didn’t ask for

Girls and boys.

Nitrous.io has been a slight bit of an adventure for me. An ambitious project that is raising a whole boat load of money doing what it does. To the tune of something like $6.65 million bucks.

Skip the BS

Now if you’re a fan of crappy pizza, that can buy you A LOT of crappy pizza. Let’s see…

Johns favorite

  • 1x Papa John’s Large Speciality Pizza = ~$15 bucks
  • 6,650,000/15 = 443,333 Large Specialty Pizzas
  • Which would last you, having one each day = 443,333/365 = 1,215 years
  • Which would take ~16 (1,215/76) men their entire lives to eat

HOLY. 1,215 years of crappy pizza. You think you would die? I think so, probably.

But the real question here is does Nitrous.io do what it does well? Pretty much.

Syncing with the Nitrous.io desktop app for OS X is pretty slow (perhaps understandably so) for a guy like me building apps with a save-refresh-save-refresh workflow. This is especially the case if you’re doing front-end stuff and need to see quick feedback on visual changes. It really does take a couple seconds too many to bear for changes to be sent from your machine to the box with your server running on it. Our connection speed seems to be pretty good (?): 109.47 Mbps download and 24.78 Mbps upload.

CPU and memory resource allocation on boxes is wonky. From time to time I’ll experience extreme slow downs and random out-of-memory errors. Support has been great and they’ve provided suggestions, but things are still a bit flaky. Yeah that’s not really a technical assessment: take it or leave it.

But I’m still trucking through it, because I believe in Nitrous.io and what they hope to achieve. Bringing development environments and their clutter off our computers and into the cloud.

‘the F does this have to do with rbenv?


Well the general wonkiness of Nitrous.io in its fledgling days segues nicely into the wonkiness I was experiencing when trying to install rbenv on my box.

In short, gems were not being installed correctly into their rbenv-appropriate, Ruby-version-prefixed folders (~/.rbenv/versions/2.0.0/...). No matter what version of Ruby I was on using rbenv, all gems seemed to get installed to the system gem directory. This kind of stuff drives me nuts, even though I could have gone working through it, since at least the Ruby versions themselves were changing correctly.


Turns out those unsavory fellows over at Nitrous.io (kidding) were setting one of the GEM_HOME/GEM_PATH variables (I forget which one). Some of the team over at rbenv seem to think this is not a good practice for Ruby-swtiching tools. I’d probably agree considering things weren’t working with those environment variables set. To be sure they ain’t, and to fix your rbenv, just pop in both of these bad boys into your ~/.bashrc or ~/.bash_profile to make sure they aren’t set.

# ~/.bash_rc or ~/.bash_profile

# some other BS
# ...

unset GEM_HOME
unset GEM_PATH

Now for some pizza. I just ordered a medium Pepperoni.


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