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Initializing Gemsets during Ruby Installs

When you install a new ruby, RVM not only creates two gemsets (the default, empty gemset and the global gemset), it also uses a set of user-editable files to determine which gems to install.

Working in ~/.rvm/gemsets, rvm searchs for global.gems and default.gems using a tree-hierachy based on the ruby string being installed. Using the example of ree-1.8.7-p2010.02, rvm will check (and import from) the following files:

For example, if you edited ~/.rvm/gemsets/global.gems by adding these two lines:


every time you install a new ruby, these two gems are installed into your global gemset.

Using the default or global gemsets, you can also make RVM include a specific version of a given gem. Here's how:

bundler -v~>1.0.0
hirb -v0.4.5

By default, rvm uses these gemsets to install common libraries (such as rake, and in the case of jruby, jruby-openssl.)


default.gems and global.gems files are usually overwritten during update of rvm (rvm get ...).

It is however possible to override this behavior by either using after_install hook or overriding with --with-default-gems/--with-gems flags during install / upgrade.