Ruby Readline Documentation

Before today the Ruby readline library lacked documentation! In order to find some decent documentation you would have to read the README packaged with the source. Michael Fellinger (manveru) from #ruby-lang offered to help me get some decent documentation online. Take a look!


Mini MP3 Searching Shell – Skreemr

So its way to hard to download an mp3 in Safari. Right click the link and download? Pff, I want to ⌃S and be done with it. Well, this time I decided to avoid the problem all together. I use Skreemr to search for a particular song when it interests me.

In the past I wrote a little bash script, that makes use of curl, to download an mp3 to my desktop unique named so it wouldn’t have conflicts. This shell essentially wraps and drastically improves that to allow for searching, pagination, history, downloading, and opening mp3s off of Skreemr. It gives me just what I need. The functionality that I want without having to use torrents etc. I’m thinking of turning this into a gem.


This script requires the popular “escape.rb” script that gives some nice and safe shell escaping functions. You can download both from my GitHub scripts project.

Of course its available on my ~/bin and there will be another article later on that goes over a few aspects of this simple little script.


Installing Ruby 1.8.7 on Mac OS X 10.5.3

Yah, this week is all about solving problems. I run into a lot of them, but it gives me something to blog about. But hey, if I can spend 20 minutes writing down a solution to a couple hour problem that I had, then I could save you a few hours too.


Trying to install Ruby 1.8.7 (or even 1.9) on my Leopard machine produces warning messages on “make” that look like this:

gcc -I. -I../../.ext/include/i686-darwin9.1.0 -I../.././include
-I../.././ext/readline -DRUBY_EXTCONF_H=\"extconf.h\"    -fno-common
-g -O2 -pipe -fno-common   -o readline.o -c readline.c
readline.c: In function 'filename_completion_proc_call':
readline.c:659: error: 'filename_completion_function' undeclared
(first use in this function)
readline.c:659: error: (Each undeclared identifier is reported only once
readline.c:659: error: for each function it appears in.)
readline.c:659: warning: assignment makes pointer from integer without a 
readline.c: In function 'username_completion_proc_call':
readline.c:684: error: 'username_completion_function' undeclared
(first use in this function)
readline.c:684: warning: assignment makes pointer from integer without a 
make[1]: *** [readline.o] Error 1
make: *** [all] Error 1


I originally came across this problem right around new years and eventually found a solution thanks to Han Kessels on the Ruby Forums. It involved the following steps:

  1. Download the newest version of readline (version 5.2 at the time of writing) at You may have to apply the following patch. Thanks to Michael Biven for showing a nice simple way to do this from the command line:

    $ curl -O
    $ tar xzvf readline-5.2.tar.gz
    $ cd readline-5.2
    $ curl -O
    $ patch -p0 < readline52-012
    $ ./configure --prefix=/usr/local
    $ make
    $ sudo make install
    $ cd ..
  2. Now you can download the 1.8.7 version of ruby, and install it but you should point to the version of readline that you just installed (to /usr/local) like so:

    $ curl -O
    $ tar xzvf ruby-1.8.7.tar.gz 
    $ cd ruby-1.8.7
    $ ./configure --prefix=/usr/local/ruby1.8.7 --with-readline-dir=/usr/local
    $ make
    $ sudo make install
    $ cd /usr/local/ruby1.8.7/bin
    $ ./ruby -v
    ruby 1.8.7 (2008-05-31 patchlevel 0) [i686-darwin9.3.0]

The End Result

If you followed my terminal commands from above you should have a working Ruby 1.8.7 version installed in your "/usr/local/ruby1.8.7/bin". If you wanted ruby in a different directory then change the "--prefix=/usr/local/ruby1.8.7" option on ./configure to instead point to the directory you wanted it.

Why put it in its own directory at all? Well, I happen to have multiple version of ruby. By default I have 1.8.6, I have this version of 1.8.7, I even have a 1.9 version I installed a while ago. Its easy to remember where each is if the directory they reside in clearly states the name. This way I can test a script, maybe even run benchmarks, in each version of ruby. However, you might not want to take this extra measure.