do not use gems, or any other programming languages package management

I recently had to explain to a math researcher why I wouldn’t deploy R packages directly to servers, which are basically tarballs. R has a CPAN like infrastructure too called CRAN. Today I’m screwing around with gems.

CPAN/CRAN/gems/etc are not debs.

/usr/bin/gem:23: uninitialized constant Gem::GemRunner (NameError)

This comes from running ‘gem update –system’ on a debian or ubuntu machine. Don’t. I’ll say that again, don’t. Rails people appear fond of gems, we need to stop this nuisance in it’s tracks. First, go read the debian position on gems, and appreciate it. Then, go and clean out ‘/usr/local/lib/site_ruby’. Run ‘gem -v’ and make sure gem is working again.

Fortunately lenny appears to protect you against running this command, but hardy doesn’t.

Maintaining servers is much more than getting software installed. I feel like I’ve ranted about this before, so I won’t again. Please, debianize your ruby gems, don’t use gem to install them. That goes for all your other forms of distributing language specific modules too.

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