This section takes a break from discussing theory in order to get your environment set up. It provides you with step-by-step instructions for installing Ruby, Rails, and all the other necessary components of a development stack on Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and Mac OS X.
For the Windows installation, two different methods are illustrated: the first leverages an installer and the second uses a learning environment known as Instant Rails.
Macs are very popular within the Rails community. If you ever get the chance to attend a Rails conference, you'll see a very high percentage of Apple laptops. The entire Rails core team uses Macs. The community seems to be keen on GNU/Linux as well, which is another common option for Rails development, and the most popular deployment one. In fact, most Rails hackers that I know develop on a Mac and deploy on GNU/Linux or *BSD, a combination that I adopt and enjoy myself.
You probably won't see many Windows systems. Generally speaking, the community prefers Unix-like environments and few people would admit in public to consciously choosing Windows at any Ruby or Rails venue. There are many reasons for this, most of which are cultural ones. Does this mean that you can't use Windows or that you'll be the only one doing it?
Although this book can be followed by utilizing any operating system of your choice, the assumption is that as a Microsoft developer, you're primarily familiar with ...