RVM on OS X Mavericks

Ruby Version Manager (RVM) and OS X Mavericks can be painful. Though if you use Ruby then you should use RVM so hopefully this guide can help. There's a lot of issues with getting it to work. I am a course assistant for the Web Applications course at Stanford University and we have students install RVM, Ruby, and Rails and there have been so many issues that I thought I'd make a post. I can't guarantee that this will work but I've tested it many times for OS X Mavericks that I believe it should work!

Main test setup has been a virtual machine with a fresh install of Mac OS X Mavericks thus if you have certain developer tools installed then this may have some conflicts, but if you leave a comment with errors, I could possibly help!

In general, these instructions work for Mavericks but should theoretically work for past versions as well now.

Command Line Tools in Terminal

Open up the terminal and run the following command (a pop-up will appear which you should continue and install):

sudo xcode-select --install

This will install the command line tools necessary to build and configure the RVM installation.


You should next install homebrew. As of today, the RVM installation utilizes homebrew to install dependencies and we will install it first before RVM. The RVM installation will sometimes fail without homebrew first installed. You should run the following command (or view the homebrew website for the most up to date installation command):

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.github.com/Homebrew/homebrew/go/install)"

Next, after finishing, you should run brew doctor to verify everything is good with your system, if there are any errors, attempt to remedy the situations which homebrew will try to help with advice.


Install RVM using the following command (you can also install it by following the instructions on the website at rvm.io):

\curl -sSL https://get.rvm.io | bash -s stable --auto-dotfiles

This step can take a few minutes as it needs to install dependencies as well using homebrew. I've seen it range between 5-30 minutes but luckily it shows a little status information.

You may also need to provide a password at some point depending on your system configuration as the installation may need privileges to create or modify certain files or folders.

Finally, you'll want to completely quit the terminal and then reopen it so that the settings take affect and you can now use RVM.

Install Ruby

Now you're ready to install the Ruby version you'd like! For example if you want version 2.1.1 then we can do the following in the terminal:

rvm install 2.1.1 --with-gcc=gcc

You should have GCC default installed on Mavericks so this should work and avoid trying to install GCC 4.6 through homebrew. Then you can set the Ruby version to the default one by doing the following command in the terminal:

rvm use 2.1.1 --default

Now you can type ruby -v to see the version which should show 2.1.1. And now you have RVM installed on your system and you should be able to install different versions of Ruby and use them!


If you don't have Mavericks, you may still be able to follow these steps but you might need to install the command line tools by downloading the dmg file from the Developer Website which requires an Apple ID to view (don't worry, you don't need a Developer account). Download the latest command line tools for your OS X version. Once you've downloaded it, open the dmg file and install the package. Then continue from the top.

At some point you may also need to specify the version of gcc to run such as:

rvm install 2.1.1 --with-gcc=gcc

Some other options you may need are clang or gcc46. Good luck!

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