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Vagrant Install on Mac OS X

Gareth Rushgrove recently wrote a good blog post about why you should be using virtualisation.

(incidently, it got coverage on Hacker News and David Singleton also blogged a follow up).


Vagrant is a tool for building and distributing virtualized development environments.

To quote the Vagrant website:

By providing automated creation and provisioning of virtual machines using Oracle’s VirtualBox, Vagrant provides the tools to create and configure lightweight, reproducible, and portable virtual environments.

The installation instructions are simple:

$ sudo gem update --system
$ gem install vagrant

However, there were a few small gotcha’s a came across which are worth sharing.

Firstly, you need to run the vagrant install under sudo (runs it with root privileges), otherwise it complains about permissions:

$ sudo gem install vagrant

Secondly, I got the following error:

$ sudo gem install vagrant
Building native extensions. This could take a while...
ERROR: Error installing vagrant:
ERROR: Failed to build gem native extension.

/System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/1.8/usr/bin/ruby extconf.rb
mkmf.rb can't find header files for ruby at /System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/1.8/usr/lib/ruby/ruby.h

Gem files will remain installed in /Library/Ruby/Gems/1.8/gems/json-1.5.1 for inspection.
Results logged to /Library/Ruby/Gems/1.8/gems/json-1.5.1/ext/json/ext/generator/gem_make.out

It turns out this is easy to solve – all you need to do is dig out your OS X install CD, go into the optional extras and install Xcode.

It takes a while to run but once it’s complete, Vagrant installs fine.

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