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Announcing DebGem (beta), the RubyGem-to-Apt conversion service

By Hongli Lai on January 6th, 2009


Installing Ruby/Rails software on Debian and Ubuntu Linux distributions has been less than ideal until now. Ruby has a package manager called RubyGems, but Debian-based distributions have their own package manager, namely Apt, which manages the entire system and is preferred by most Debian users. RubyGems does not integrate well with Apt and cannot handle native Debian package dependencies. But on the other hand, Ruby software provided through the current Debian Apt repositories are not always up-to-date, e.g. the latest Rails version is often not available.

We are happy to announce DebGem, our RubyGem-to-Apt conversion service.

  • DebGem provides an Apt repository with Debian packages for virtually all gems available on RubyForge and GitHub. To put things into perspective, there are over 20000 gems on RubyForge and Github combined.
  • We support Debian and Ubuntu.
  • Installing an arbitrary Ruby library is now as easy as typing apt-get install libsomething-ruby.
  • Packages are kept up-to-date often. For example, the latest version of Rails is available through DebGem.
  • We support gems with native extensions as well, e.g. RMagick and Mongrel. We hand-tune individual packages to make sure that they have the proper package dependencies.
  • The repository is GPG signed.

Comments from a Debian member

We are committed to providing high-quality packages that integrate well into the system. For this reason, we’ve contacted Gunnar Wolf — a member of the Debian Ruby packaging team — for feedback prior to launching DebGem. In his latest blog post, he has expressed his approval of DebGem. Thanks Gunnar. 🙂

More information

DebGem is currently in free public beta. Please go to to learn more.