Instead of

  system(x + y + z)

you could always use backticks and assign to a var (I think it is 
Kernel#`)

  var = `#{x+y+z}`

or just use systemu and select what output is used.

  http://codeforpeople.com/lib/ruby/systemu/

  require 'systemu'
  status, stdout, stderr = systemu 'configure' # if you have a configure 
script
  p [ status, stdout, stderr ] # just select what to feedback the user
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