I have installed RVM using 'user01' on Ubuntu 14.04 and user01 can start my rails application as expected. I, however, want to start this application following system start-up. I am trying to use the following to achieve this:


screen -d -m mongrel_rails start -e production -p 8088

/etc/rc.local (added before exit 0)

sh './var/script/start.sh'

Using the changes above, my rails application fails to start. I can confirm this because there is no active GNU screen session (the screen -d -m mongrel_rails... command starts a screen session and detaches. I should be able to see the session with the "screen -ls" command, but I don't, even after switching to root).

I switched to root (sudo su) and attempted to manually start the application but it failed with the following:

/usr/bin/env: ruby: No such file or directory

I figured that RVM/Ruby is broken for root. I confirmed this by running 'ruby -v' which returned a message confirming that the application was not installed. This isn't the case for user01 who sees information about the ruby version installed.

I continued to find a way around this and found this post that suggested the following command to switch to the user while executing the start-up command.

su user01 -c '/var/script/start.sh'

This didn't help as well and after investigating, I found that ruby was broken for user01 when I 'su user01' into this account from root. 'ruby -v' failed to return the expected information as well. After testing manually, I found that typing 'exit' returned me to root, and another 'exit' returned me to user01 (the account I used to login) and ruby works properly for this account.

Can anyone suggest a way to get around this?

  • I believe my problem can be resolved by installing rvm/ruby as root, however, I've come a long way and would hate to that just to get this working. – Ralph Nov 23 '14 at 13:31
  • try login under root and source rvm scripts [[ -s "/home/user01/.rvm/scripts/rvm" ]] && source "/home/user01/.rvm/scripts/rvm". This should load ruby if /home/user01/.rvm/scripts/rvm exist path to rvm under user01 if this user exist. – user255265 Nov 23 '14 at 13:33
  • I tried running that command as root but rvm/ruby still appears to be broken for root. @Зелёный – Ralph Nov 23 '14 at 13:41
  • I also don't have that directory under user01. Under /home/user01/.rvm - I have the following directories: archives, environments, gems_cache, log, repos, rubygems, tmp, wrappers, bin, gem, hooks, pkgs, rubies, src & user. @Зелёный – Ralph Nov 23 '14 at 13:44

You're using rvm, so the proper way to deal with ruby not being found is to use an rvm wrapper (on SysVinit and upstart systems).

First (optional) create an alias for your app to the gemset you want to use:

rvm alias create my_app ruby-2.1.4@my_gemset

Then create the wrapper(s) you want:

rvm wrapper my_app mongrel_rails

The wrapper is created in the $rvm_path/wrappers/my_app directory, and then you call it from your init script after switching users.

su user01 -c '/home/user01/.rvm/wrappers/my_app/mongrel_rails -e production -p 8088'

(Note that I've completely removed screen from this, as there's little good reason to be running this within a screen.)


If '/var/script/start.sh' works when you run it logged in as user01, then your script depends on environment variables. To see those variables run 'env'. Maybe something is missing when you try to run it from the root account via 'su user01 -c'.

What I would suggest is to try using a special option '-' with su. From the man page:

       -, -l, --login
              make  the  shell a login shell, clears all envvars except
              for TERM, initializes HOME, SHELL, USER, LOGNAME and PATH

So your commmand would look like:

# su - user01 -c '/var/script/start.sh'

This way user01 will make the shell a login shell, clear envvars and initialize all other stuff as the man page says.

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