Programming Ruby

The Pragmatic Programmer's Guide

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One of the major features of Open Source projects is the technical support. Articles in the mass media often criticize open source efforts for not having the same tech support that a commercial product has. And boy is that a good thing! Instead of dialing up some overworked and understaffed help desk and being treated to Music On Hold for an hour or so without ever getting the answer you need, we have a better solution: the Ruby community. The author of Ruby, the authors of this book, and many other Ruby users are willing and able to lend you a hand, should you need it.

The syntax of Ruby remains fairly stable, but as with all evolving software, new features are added every now and again. As a result, both printed books and the online documentation can fall behind. All software has bugs, and Ruby is no exception. There aren't many, but they do crop up. See the bug reporting section on page 527 for details.

If you experience a problem with Ruby, feel free to ask in the mailing lists or on the newsgroup (more on those in just a minute). Generally you'll get timely answers from Matz himself, the author of the language, from other gurus, and from those who've solved problems similar to your own.

There might be similar questions in the mailing lists or on the newsgroup, and it is good ``netiquette'' to read through recent postings before asking. If you can't find the answer you need, ask, and a correct answer will usually show up with remarkable speed and precision.

Web Sites

The official Ruby Home Page is

You can also find Ruby information at In particular, you'll find complete online references to Ruby's built-in classes and modules at, and to the Ruby FAQ at

While you're surfing, drop in on and see what we're up to.

Download Sites

The latest version of Ruby can be downloaded from:

Mirror sites are:

Precompiled Windows binaries (using cygwin) are in the pc/ subdirectory.

Usenet Newsgroup

Ruby has its own newsgroup, comp.lang.ruby. Traffic on this group is archived and mirrored to the ruby-talk mailing list.

Mailing Lists

There are five mailing lists now talking about Ruby. The first is in English, the last four in Japanese: English language discussion of Ruby (mirrored to comp.lang.ruby). Japanese language discussion of Ruby. List for Ruby developers. List for people writing extensions for or with Ruby. Ruby in mathematics.

See for details on joining a mailing list.

The mailing lists are archived, and can be searched using

Bug Reporting

If you think you've spotted a bug in Ruby, you may want to browse the bug database at You may also want to check to see if a new version of Ruby is available---perhaps the bug you've found has already been fixed.

You can submit a bug report either by using the Web page mentioned above or by sending an e-mail to

When reporting a suspected bug, it would be a good idea to include the output of ``ruby -v'' along with any problematic source code. People will also need to know the operating system you're running. If you compiled your own version of Ruby, it might be a good idea to attach your rbconfig.rb file as well.

If you have a problem using irb, be aware of its limitations (see the reference section beginning on page 517). See what happens using just Ruby itself.

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Extracted from the book "Programming Ruby - The Pragmatic Programmer's Guide"
Copyright © 2001 by Addison Wesley Longman, Inc. This material may be distributed only subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the Open Publication License, v1.0 or later (the latest version is presently available at

Distribution of substantively modified versions of this document is prohibited without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.

Distribution of the work or derivative of the work in any standard (paper) book form is prohibited unless prior permission is obtained from the copyright holder.