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Problem: Deploy a rails app written in debian lenny (rails 2.1) into this stable web-server (etch)

Solution: Put everything inside your lib/vendor rails application (search google about it and good luck).

but if you need for some reason a per-server installation insted of a per-application try this:

  • Install "ruby1.8" with all the suggested optional packages
  • Install "ruby1.8-dev libsqlite3-dev libopenssl-ruby build-essential"
  • Download GEM (rubygems-1.2.0.tgz) from
  • add your user to group staff and re-login, now you can write inside /usr/local.
  • edit setup.rb (GEM) and change the line below to prevent gem from copy rails bin into /usr/bin, I think there is some better way to do this


if prefix.empty?
  lib_dir = Gem::ConfigMap[site_or_vendor]
-  bin_dir = Gem::ConfigMap[:bindir]
+  bin_dir = '/usr/local/bin'


ruby setup.rb

and it should install gem inside your /usr/local dir.

Export some variables

export GEM_HOME=/usr/local/lib/ruby/gems
export PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/lib/ruby/gems/bin

then run

gem1.8 install -v=2.1.0 rails
gem1.8 install sqlite3-ruby
gem1.8 install mongrel
gem1.8 install mongrel_cluster

copy your application and shoot script/server, it should work starting a mongrel.


mongrel_rails cluster::configure -e production -c /var/yourhomesapps -a --user www-data --group www-data

and as ROOT

mkdir /etc/mongrel_cluster
cp /usr/local/lib/ruby/gems/gems/mongrel_cluster-1.0.5/resources/mongrel_cluster /etc/init.d/
chmod +x /etc/init.d/mongrel_cluster
cd /etc/mongrel_cluster
ln -s /var/yourhomesapps/config/mongrel_cluster.yml yourapps.yml

edit "/etc/init.d/mongrel_cluster" and add

- PID_DIR=/var/run/mongrel_cluster
- USER=mongrel
+ PID_DIR=/tmp/mongrel_cluster
+ USER=www-data


+ export PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/lib/ruby/gems/bin
+ export GEM_HOME=/usr/local/lib/ruby/gems

# Gracefully exit if the controller is missing.
which mongrel_cluster_ctl >/dev/null || exit 0

and fire a

/etc/init.d/mongrel_cluster start

now do

update-rc.d mongrel_cluster defaults 90

Ok you are ready to proxy from your web-server to mongrel running on ports 3000 and 3001.

ps: if your apps in not a root apps, ex: http://mywebsite/apps/myapps, then you have to use --prefix parameter when create mongrel_cluster.yml, or for ex. your images will be at /images instead of /apps/myapps/images.


  • logs grow into your apps/log directory without control
  • PIDs are stored into your app dir which is not good.