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Building my Jekyll blog with Ubuntu on WSL2

seankilleen profile image Sean Killeen Originally published at seankilleen.com on ・3 min read

The steps weren’t entirely obvious to me so I thought I’d write about it here for others who are newer to that ecosystem.

Windows 10 v2004 is available, and with it comes the addition of long-awaited toolset – WSL2, the successor to the original Windows Subsystem for Linux. WSL2 is great – much faster, and it uses an actual Linux kernel, making it 100% Linux compatible.

High-level view

Here’s what I did.

  • Installed the Win10 May 2019 (v2004) update
  • Installed WSL2 (essentially following the prompts along the way)
  • Installed Ubuntu 20.04 from the store, which installed it using WSL2.

(If you’d like help on any of the above, leave a message in the comments and I’ll expand on this blog post.)

Then, I went back and forth on dependencies and installation stuff, but it wasn’t that bad.

The shortcut, if you don’t want to do all of that back and forth

  • Update package list: sudo apt update
  • For Ruby: sudo apt-get install ruby-full
  • For Bundler: sudo gem install bundler
  • Install dev dependencies that my gems need: sudo apt-get install make gcc gpp build-essential zlib1g zlib1g-dev
  • Run bundle install which prompts for my password when things need elevation
  • now it works.
  • Run bundle exec jekyll serve
  • Watch it build and run in Linux and watch my blog be available in Windows.

The (more painful) long steps

I re-did this again the hard way, for you dear reader! I’ll try to capture what I learned along the way.

  • Install Ubuntu 20.04 LTS from the windows store. Start it up set a PW, etc.
  • mkdir repos to create a directory for my repositories
  • cd repos
  • Pulled my repo: git clone https://github.com/SeanKilleen/seankilleen.github.io.git
  • Update package list: sudo apt update
  • Install ruby: sudo apt-get install ruby
  • Bundler: sudo gem install bundler
  • Open my repo: cd seankilleen.github.io
  • bundle install
  • See an error: Gem::Ext::BuildError: ERROR: Failed to build gem native extension. Also: An error occurred while installing commonmarker (0.17.13), and Bundler cannot continue.
  • Do some googling, see that I might need more of ruby
  • sudo apt-get install ruby-full
  • Try again: bundle install. See error: make not found
  • sudo apt-get install make
  • Try again: bundle install. Get error: make: gcc: Command not found
  • sudo apt-get install gcc
  • Try again: bundle install. We get further! Commonmark is now installed. but we see another error: make: g++: Command not found
  • sudo apt-get install gpp (got lucky here and assumed ++ translated to pp)
  • Try again: bundle install. Same error. Weird.
  • Google. Find an answer that suggests using build-essential instead. Seems reasonable. (I think I also could have actually done sudo apt-get install g++ as well. So much for my translation!)
  • sudo apt-get install build-essential
  • Try again: bundle install. We get farther! eventmachine is now installed.
  • nokogiri installation fails. See error: zlib is missing; necessary for building libxml2
  • sudo apt-get install zlib. Not found.
  • Google. Find some help. Apparently it’s zlib1g.
  • sudo apt-get install zlib1g. Weird. It’s already installed?
  • The error is a build error, so let’s try sudo apt-get install zlib1g-dev.
  • Try again: bundle install. INSTALLATION SUCCEEDS!
  • bundle exec jekyll serve
  • Things are built an served on localhost:4000. Looks good!

Sweet! Happy WSLing, all.

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