Some operating systems are more friendly than others for developping Ruby on Rails applications.

But I can say from my experience that windows is hell NOT a friendly environment.

So,  a good way to work in decent conditions is to use VirtualBox + Ubuntu server to create a development environment for personal usage.

That’s just what I did 2 days ago, and I saved my progress in a gist as a reminder.

I’m using the server flavor of Ubuntu, because I’m trying to keep it as minimal as possible.

After the setup is done, I don’t need to interact with Ubuntu directly anymore. I launch it from Virtualbox, and I use Putty to connect to it via ssh. The usage of a public/private ssh key pair allows to login instantly.

Any Rails application is in fact stored as a folder in my Vista documents. The folder is shared with Ubuntu using VirtualBox shared folders.

This way, I do all my programming on the host operating system (here it’s Vista, but it could be OSX, another Linux, …). So I can use the tools of my choice, and I don’t have to install any editor to the virtual machine, but only what is needed for running the applications and deploy.

This approach is the best I found to keep things minimal and easy to manage.

And, the virtual machine stays low on ram (about 70mb).

Before following the steps from the gist, install Virtualbox + Ubuntu server 10.10 Maverick Meerkat.

Then login to Ubuntu server, and follow the steps from the gist:

Other useful resources: