Installation of wxRuby3

Default installation

The wxRuby3 gem provides a worry-free installation for all supported platforms.

The default gem installation command

gem install wxruby3

and the setup command

wxruby setup

for installations without prebuilt binary packages should always result in a successfully installed wxRuby3 version.

Currently installing the wxRuby3 gem for the system supplied Ruby on MacOSX systems does not work.
The user is therefor required to install a Ruby interpreter using either MacPorts (both privileged and user installations are supported) or Homebrew or Ruby installers/version managers like ruby-install or RVM (only user installations supported) .

Below more details regarding the software requirements for wxRuby3, the setup procedure and various options to tweak and customize the installation (including platform specific details for Linux, Windows and MacOSX) are described.

Bundled CLI

Installing the wxRuby3 gem will also install the bundled wxruby CLI binary.

For source gem installations the CLI will initially only provide the check and setup commands.

For finalized installations (either from binary packages or source builds) the setup command is replaced by other utility commands providing the ability to run the bundled regression tests and access (run or copy) the bundled examples.
Run the following command to see the available options at any time:

wxruby -h

Binary packages

The wxRuby3 gem installation process will by default attempt to match the current platform to any standard available binary packages and if found install the matched package.

Binary packages are archives (custom format) containing prebuilt (extension) library artifacts for a single specific platform. Any such platform is identified by:

  • CPU architecture (x86_64, ARM64, etc.)

  • Operating system type (linux, darwin, windows, etc.)

  • OS distribution and release number (except for windows)

  • Ruby ABI version (i.e. major.minor)

The standard available binary packages provide both the wxRuby3 extension libraries as well as the embedded wxWidgets libraries the extension libraries were built for.
This is however not mandatory. User created binary packages can be built for separately installed (either distribution or user provided) wxWidgets libraries.

Standard packages

The standard release artifacts at Github provide a selection of binary packages for all supported OS platforms which are automatically built and uploaded for every release.
The following tables lists the packages provided by the current wxRuby3 release process:

OS Distributions Architectures Rubies
Linux OpenSuSE Leap (latest stable) x86_64 and ARM64 Distro provided Ruby and Latest stable Ruby
Linux Fedora (latest stable) x86_64 and ARM64 Distro provided Ruby and Latest stable Ruby
Linux Debian (latest stable) x86_64 and ARM64 Distro provided Ruby and Latest stable Ruby
Linux Ubuntu (latest stable) x86_64 and ARM64 Distro provided Ruby and Latest stable Ruby
Windows NA x86_64 Latest stable Ruby
OSX MacOSX 12 x86_64 and ARM64 Latest stable Ruby
OSX MacOSX 13 x86_64 and ARM64 Latest stable Ruby
OSX MacOSX 14 ARM64 Latest stable Ruby

User created packages

Users can create their own wxRuby3 binary packages by building from source (see here) and after successfully having built the wxWidgets extension libraries execute the rake binpkg command.
This creates two files in the pkg folder with names like
wxruby3_{distribution}_ruby{abi version}_v{wxruby version}_{os}_{arch}.pkg
wxruby3_{distribution}_ruby{abi version}_v{wxruby version}_{os}_{arch}.sha
where the .pkg file is the actual binary archive and the .sha file is the associated SHA256 digest signature of the archive contents.

Both files are required for installation and should be located at the same path (either local path or http(s) url).
See here for information on how to use user created binary packages with the wxRuby3 gem installation process.

Software requirements for wxRuby3

The software requirements for setting up a wxRuby3 runtime environment are:

Sofware Notes
Ruby A supported version of the Ruby interpreter needs to be installed. This is an absolute requirement for any installation as one cannot install gems without Ruby and building from source requires Ruby to drive the build process.
C++ compiler
(incl. dev tools like ‘make`)
Required for a source based installation to build wxWidgets (optionally) and the wxRuby extension libraries.<br/>On linux a recent version of the GNU C++ compiler (with c++-14 support) is required.
On Windows the RubyInstaller MSYS2-Devkit would be required.
On MacOS XCode with commandline tools would be required.
Git version control toolkit Required for a source based installation in to (possibly) clone a copy of the wxWidgets Github repository or to clone the Github repository of wxRuby3 itself for a fully source based installation.
Doxygen (>= 1.9.1) Required for building the wxRuby3 extension libraries for a source based installation. [1]
SWIG >= 3.0.12 Required for building the wxRuby3 extension libraries for a source based installation. [2]
Patchelf (Linux) or install_name_tool (OSX) Required for setting up embedded wxWidgets libraries. [3]
wxWidgets (>= 3.2) Runtime libraries required for any wxRuby3 installation (either from embedded wxWidgets installation or a system or user installation; see below).

Except for Ruby itself all other software requirements can be handled by the worry-free, fully automated installation procedure of wxRuby3.

But of course any of these requirements can also be fulfilled explicitly with self controlled steps before starting the wxRuby3 installation procedure. See the platform specific sections of Installing software requirements for details on how to go about that.

[1] The wxRuby3 build process needs doxygen to generated XML files containing wxWidgets interface specs which are used to generate interface definitions for SWIG

[2] The wxRuby3 build process uses SWIG to generate C++ source code for the wrapper interfaces from which the native extensions are compiled. Both SWIG version 3 and version 4 are supported.

[3] The wxRuby3 build process uses these tools to adjust the shared library load paths (‘rpath’ setting) in case of embedded wxWidgets libraries.

wxWidgets installation variants

wxRuby3 can be built and installed for 3 different types of wxWidgets installations:

  1. A system installation of wxWidgets libraries and development files.
    This actually only has real meaning on Linux where this corresponds with installing distribution provided packages. On MacOSX and Windows this only means that libraries are installed (as a user addon since no standard distribution packages exist for these platforms but possibly using the administrator account) such that they can be loaded using the default library load paths and the wx-config tool is executable from the default search path.
    This kind of installation is automatically detected and no special setup options are required for the wxRuby3 installation procedure.

  2. A user installation of wxWidgets libraries and development files.
    This is the most likely scenario for a development setup of wxRuby3 where a special (possibly updated) release of wxWidgets is installed to build wxRuby3 for.
    In this case the libraries and development files are most likely not found in standard locations and the wxRuby3 installation procedure will require specific options to have these locations provided.

  3. An ‘embedded’ installation of wxWidgets setup by the wxRuby3 installation procedure.
    This is the default when using a standard binary package or when installing from source and the setup procedure does not detect a (compatible!) system installation or if an option has been provided explicitly specifying to install an embedded wxWidgets version.

Please note that in case of option 2 the user is responsible to make sure the wxWidgets shared libraries can be found by the system’s dynamic loader at runtime.

As described with option 3 a wxWidgets system installation must be compatible (>= version 3.2) to be selected for source installation. In case the installed version does not meet this requirement it is ignored as if not installed.

For more information on how to install wxWidgets see the Installing software requirements section below.

wxRuby3 gem installation details

The wxRuby3 project provides a gem on RubyGems which can be installed with the standard gem install command line this:

gem install wxruby3

Alternatively the gem can be downloaded from the Github release assets and stored locally. This local gem can than be installed like this:

gem install /path/to/local/wxruby3.gem

This default installation command will allow the wxRuby3 installation process to scan available standard binary packages (see here) for a match to the platform being installed on and install any matched package or revert to a source install if none matched.
This command will therefor succeed if: - a matching binary package could be successfully downloaded and installed; - the installation reverted to source install.

This command only fails when: - a matching digest signature for the downloaded binary package could not be downloaded; - the digest signature did not match the downloaded package contents.

The result of successfully installing the gem on a Linux platform should be something like this:

$ gem install wxruby3 
Building native extensions. This could take a while...

The wxRuby3 Gem has been successfully installed including the 'wxruby' utility.

In case no suitable binary release package was available for your platform you  
will need to run the post-install setup process by executing:

$ wxruby setup

To check whether wxRuby3 is ready to run or not you can at any time execute the
following command:

$ wxruby check

Run 'wxruby check -h' for more information.

When the wxRuby3 setup has been fully completed you can start using wxRuby3.

You can run the regression tests to verify the installation by executing:

$ wxruby test

The wxRuby3 sample explorer can be run by executing:

$ wxruby sampler

Have fun using wxRuby3.

Run 'wxruby -h' to see information on the available commands.

Successfully installed wxruby3-0.9.8
Parsing documentation for wxruby3-0.9.8
Installing ri documentation for wxruby3-0.9.8
Done installing documentation for wxruby3 after 2 seconds
1 gem installed

Gem installation options

Two options are available to control the wxRuby3 gem installation process.

The prebuilt option

The prebuilt=none|only option can be used to either prevent binary package matching and installation (prebuilt=none) or make binary package installation mandatory (prebuilt=only).

The following command therefor forces a wxRuby3 source installation and will never fail:

gem install wxruby3 -- prebuilt=none

And the following command will force binary package installation and fails if no matching package could be installed:

gem install wxruby3 -- prebuilt=only

The package option

The package=URL option can be used to explicitly specify a binary package to install. This option implies prebuilt=only. No package matching will be performed so mismatched binary packages will cause wxRuby3 to fail after installation.
The URL can be specified as: - an absolute local path like /path/to/binary/package.pkg - an absolute file:// URI like file:///path/to/binary/package.pkg - an http:// or https:// URL

In all cases the associated .sha file must be located at the same path as the package file itself. If not the installation will fail as well as when the signature does not match the digest of the package contents.

Gem source setup

As said a gem-based source installation requires an additional command is to build the actual wxRuby3 extension libraries for the platform installing on which is a wxRuby3 CLI command installed by the gem:

wxruby setup

The wxRuby3 CLI wxruby is installed by all wxRuby3 gems. In case of the source gem initially the CLI will provide only the commands wxruby setup (to finish wxRuby3 extension installation) and wxruby check.

For most (user) installations the default setup command as shown above will suffice nicely. In this case the setup (or installation) procedure will analyze the system to see if it meets the software requirements described above and if not collect information on what is missing and needs to be added to finish the wxRuby3 installation. In order this would check:

  • availability of the doxygen tool

  • availability of the swig tool

  • availability of the git tool

  • availability of a (compatible) system installation of wxWidgets

  • development tools and libraries required for an embedded wxWidgets installation (in case no system installation is used)

If any required software needs to be added the setup procedure will ask consent (showing what it intends to do) and, if given, install the missing software using appropriate tooling for the platform (on Linux standard distribution installers which may require a ‘sudo’ password and on MacOSX using either MacPorts or Homebrew).

Running the setup command will look something like this:

$ wxruby setup

Now running wxRuby3 post-install setup.
This will (possibly) install required software, build the wxWidgets libraries,
build the native wxRuby3 extensions and generate the wxRuby3 reference documentation.
Please be patient as this may take quite a while depending on your system.

[ --- ATTENTION! --- ]
wxRuby3 requires some software packages to be installed before being able to continue building.
If you like these can be automatically installed next (if you are building the source gem the
software will be removed again after building finishes).
Do you want to have the required software installed now? [yN] :

The initial message shown (between lines starting with ‘—’ ) is indicative of what is going to happen depending on options passed to the setup command.
Building the wxRuby3 native extensions and generating reference documentation will always happen.

Disable prompting for automatic install

To prevent having the setup procedure asking consent the setup procedure can be started with the --autoinstall option like this:

wxruby setup --autoinstall

Note that on Linux that may still present a prompt in case the sudo command requires a password.

Prevent automatic installation of software requirements

To prevent the setup procedure from considering to automatically install (with or without prompting) any missing software requirements the setup procedure can be started with the --no-autoinstall option like this:

wxruby setup --no-autoinstall

The setup procedure will still analyze the system for available software requirements and if it finds any missing it will end the procedure and show a message of what it found missing.

Force embedded wxWidgets installation

To prevent the setup procedure of using any system installed wxWidgets version the setup procedure can be started with the --with-wxwin option like this:

wxruby setup --with-wxwin

This will force the setup procedure to build and install an embedded wxWidgets version for wxRuby3.

Setup with user installed wxWidgets

In case of a (custom) user installation of wxWidgets the --wxwin (and optionally --wxxml) option(s) can be used to start the setup procedure to build for this installation like this:

wxruby setup --wxwin=/my/custom/wxWidgets

If the wxWidgets installation also holds the doxygen generated XML interface specification files in the default location (docs/doxygen/out/xml) these will be used to build the wxRuby3 extensions. If not, the setup procedure will create these files itself (from a freshly cloned copy of the wxWidgets repository).
If the XML files have been created in a non-standard location that can be passed on to the setup procedure like this:

wxruby setup --wxwin=/my/custom/wxWidgets --wxxml=/my/alternate/wxWidgets/xml

Please be aware that in case of building wxRuby3 for a user installation of wxWidgets the user is also responsible for making sure the wxRuby3 extension library can find the wxWidgets libraries at runtime (normally this requires updating the standard shared library search path for the platform).

Setup with customized tool paths

If for whatever reason the required development tools doxygen, swig and/or git have been installed in a location not in the standard executable search path the full path to these tools can be passed on the setup procedure using the --doxygen, --swig and/or --git options like this:

wxruby setup --doxygen=/my/path/to/doxygen

Redirect log to customized path

The setup procedure will log full build results to a file setup.log at the location where the gem contents is stored. If the setup fails the error message will display the log file location and by default if the setup succeeds the log file is deleted.
To redirect the log file to be stored at an alternate location an not be deleted in any case the --log option can be used like this:

wxruby setup --log=/my/log/folder

In this case the log file would be created as /my/log/folder/setup.log.

Installing software requirements

As described, instead of having the wxRuby3 setup procedure install the software requirements automatically these can also be installed beforehand.

The following sections give some information how to accomplish that for the various supported platforms.

Installing software requirements on Windows

On Windows these software requirements are only needed when not installing the binary gem.


Download and install the RubyInstaller MSYS2-Devkit which includes both Ruby and a full set of development tools like GNU C++, make etc.


Download the Windows installer here.


Download the Windows archive here.


Any Windows compatible Git version will do like this one.


See the information on the wxWidgets website here. Download and install either a binary installation compatible with the MingW64 compiler version available from the RubyInstaller MSYS2-Devkit installation (make sure to get this right or bad things will happen) or download a source package and build using the compiler tools from the RubyInstaller MSYS2-Devkit installation. See here for information about building wxWidgets from source.

Installing software requirements on MacOSX


Install the XCode commandline tools using the command sudo xcode-select --install.


Depending on how you installed Ruby on your MacOS system use Homebrew with the command brew install doxygen or use MacPorts with the command port install doxygen.


Depending on how you installed Ruby on your MacOS system use Homebrew with the command brew install swig or use MacPorts with the command port install swig.


Is included in the XCode commandline tools.


Either install a compatible wxWidgets version (>= 3.2) with the package manager of choice (Homebrew or MacPorts) if available or download and build a source package from here (alternatively the wxWidgets Github repository could be cloned). See here for information about building wxWidgets from source.

Installing software requirements on Linux


Install the GNU C++ compiler and common development tools like ‘make’ using the system provided package management.


Install the patchelf tool using the system provided package management.


Install the doxygen tool using the system provided package management.


Install the swig tool using the system provided package management.


Install the git tool using the system provided package management.


Either install a compatible wxWidgets version (>= 3.2) with the system provided package management if available or download and build a source package from here (alternatively the wxWidgets Github repository could be cloned). See here for information about building wxWidgets from source.

Building from source

Checkout the wxRuby3 sources from GitHub or download and unpack a release package.

Requirements are the same as for installing the source gem. Gem dependencies are listed in the Gemfile in the root of the wxRuby3 tree and should be installed by executing bundle install.
To be able to generate HTML documentation the optional :documentation group should be included.
To be able to run the Rake memory check task the optional :develop group should be included.

The wxRuby3 project provides a Rake based build system. Call rake help to get an overview of the available commands. As mentioned there the rake configure command is required as the very first command. Call rake configure[--help] to get a detailed overview of the options for this command.
As with the source gem 3 options exist for the wxWidgets installation for which details can be specified to rake configure.

When wxRuby3 has been configured the extensions can be build by calling the rake build command. The wxRuby3 build commands are executed using parallel task execution by default.

When the build has finished without errors the regression tests can be run by calling rake test.

After successfully building the wxRuby3 extension libraries (and possibly embedded wxWidgets libraries) a binary package can be created by call rake binpkg.

For more details concerning the wxRuby3 development strategy and build options see here.