Node.js using NVM and Jekyll using rbenv on (X)ubuntu 16.04

Posted by Janne Cederberg on August 10, 2016
Category: system configuration
Tags: node, ruby, jekyll

Disclaimer: This article is an update on the previous article regarding (X)ubuntu 14.04. The post is primarily self-documentational and it’s probably not entertaining (at least for the majority of people :)


I reinstalled my work machine from Xubuntu 14.04 to 16.04; I didn’t on purpose do an upgrade but a full install just to start afresh. This is article is just a short updated summary of installing NVM, Node.js, npm, rbenv, ruby and jekyll.

Installing Node using NVM

wget -qO- | bash

This will install Node.js Version Manager (NVM) in your home directory (~/.nvm) and add a few NVM-related initialization lines in your ~/.bashrc.

Install Node and NPM

Next, select and install the version of Node.js that you want to install. You can install multiple versions. You can list all the available versions with nvm ls-remote. I went with

nvm install 6.3.1

for installing the newest version that was available at the time.

Installing Ruby and Jekyll using rbenv

Installing dependencies

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install git-core zlib1g-dev libssl-dev libreadline-dev

Notice that build-essential seemed to not be needed, at least builds succeeded without installing it (and also dpkg -l | grep build-essential returns nothing).

Installing rbenv

The following will first clone rbenv in ~/.rbenv. After that it was add initialization code to your ~/.bashrc:

git clone git:// ~/.rbenv
echo 'export PATH="$HOME/.rbenv/bin:$PATH"' >> ~/.bashrc
echo 'eval "$(rbenv init -)"' >> ~/.bashrc

Preparing to install Ruby

The following will clone the required stuff to make installing Ruby quick-n-easy. Without the following you won’t have rbenv install available to you:

git clone git:// ~/.rbenv/plugins/ruby-build
echo 'export PATH="$HOME/.rbenv/plugins/ruby-build/bin:$PATH"' >> ~/.bashrc
source ~/.bashrc

Finally installing Ruby

Once you’re this far you’re now ready to install Ruby. To list the available version, run rbenv install --list. Once you’ve selected the version to use (like here I opted to use version 2.3.1), you can run the installation:

rbenv install -v 2.3.1
rbenv global 2.3.1

Notice that the -v flag is actually not referring to version in this case (as you might think) but is a flag to turn the verbose installation mode on. More info about install flags: rbenv help install.

Installing Bundler for rbenv

To be able to use Gemfiles to keep track of dependencies we’ll install Bundler to get to use the bundle command. We can’t simply install Bundler from where ever but we’ll need an rbenv related version. Here we go:

git clone ~/.rbenv/plugins/bundler
gem install bundler
rbenv bundler on

Installing Jekyll

Here’s a list of the available Jekyll versions. The newest version of Jekyll is currently v3.2.1. Some of my sites break under v3.x though and hence I also want to also use v2.5.3. To install them both:

gem install jekyll -v 3.2.1
gem install jekyll -v 2.5.3

Using Bundler with Jekyll

Create your Gemfile according to what you need. For example on one of my sites I need Jekyll v2.5.x, jekyll-paginate and jekyll-sitemap so my Gemfile for that site looks like this:

source ""
gem "jekyll", "~>2.5.3"
gem "jekyll-sitemap"
gem "jekyll-paginate"

Once you have the Gemfile created and you run jekyll serve or jekyll build, if you get errors, try running this as first resort:

bundle install

For more info on Gemfile syntax, see

Eliminate Gemfile from Jekyll output

Also eliminate Gemfile and Gemfile.lock from Jekyll output in _site directory by adding this to your Jekyll _config.yml file:

  - "Gemfile*"


After a fair amount of frustration, nvm, node, npm, rbenv, ruby (2.3.1) and jekyll (v3.2.1 and v2.5.3) now work correctly, yey!