phlip wrote:
> 
> aptitude ruby-full will get you ruby1.8-dev. Does this show it?
> 
>    aptitude search ruby1.8-dev | grep ^i
> 
> I think that's the next step towards mkmf. You also need a little gcc!

Thanks philip - i am getting closer!  Following the instructions on this 
page:
http://daniel.lorch.cc/docs/rails_install_debian/

i did "apt-get install ruby1.8-dev" and now i get this massive error 
report (follows).  In reference to 'a little gcc' do you mean that i 
need gcc to compile the c code used in the gems?  Is that just an 
apt-get?

max@max-laptop:~$ sudo gem install hpricot
Select which gem to install for your platform (i486-linux)
 1. hpricot 0.6 (jruby)
 2. hpricot 0.6 (mswin32)
 3. hpricot 0.6 (ruby)
 4. hpricot 0.5 (ruby)
 5. hpricot 0.5 (mswin32)
 6. Skip this gem
 7. Cancel installation
> 3
Building native extensions.  This could take a while...
ERROR:  While executing gem ... (Gem::Installer::ExtensionBuildError)
    ERROR: Failed to build gem native extension.

ruby extconf.rb install hpricot
checking for main() in -lc... no
creating Makefile

make
cc -I. -I. -I/usr/lib/ruby/1.8/i486-linux -I.  -fPIC 
-fno-strict-aliasing -g -g -O2  -fPIC  -c hpricot_scan.c
In file included from ext/hpricot_scan/hpricot_scan.rl:9:
/usr/lib/ruby/1.8/i486-linux/ruby.h:40:21: error: stdlib.h: No such file 
or directory
/usr/lib/ruby/1.8/i486-linux/ruby.h:44:21: error: string.h: No such file 
or directory
/usr/lib/ruby/1.8/i486-linux/ruby.h:54:19: error: stdio.h: No such file 
or directory
/usr/lib/ruby/1.8/i486-linux/ruby.h:71:20: error: alloca.h: No such file 
or directory
In file included from 
/usr/lib/gcc/i486-linux-gnu/4.2.3/include/syslimits.h:7,
                 from 
/usr/lib/gcc/i486-linux-gnu/4.2.3/include/limits.h:11,
                 from /usr/lib/ruby/1.8/i486-linux/ruby.h:91,
                 from ext/hpricot_scan/hpricot_scan.rl:9:
/usr/lib/gcc/i486-linux-gnu/4.2.3/include/limits.h:122:61: error: 
limits.h: No such file or directory
In file included from /usr/lib/ruby/1.8/i486-linux/ruby.h:718,
                 from ext/hpricot_scan/hpricot_scan.rl:9:
/usr/lib/ruby/1.8/i486-linux/missing.h:16:24: error: sys/time.h: No such 
file or directory
/usr/lib/ruby/1.8/i486-linux/missing.h:25:25: error: sys/types.h: No 
such file or directory
In file included from /usr/lib/ruby/1.8/i486-linux/ruby.h:719,
                 from ext/hpricot_scan/hpricot_scan.rl:9:
/usr/lib/ruby/1.8/i486-linux/intern.h:219: error: expected declaration 
specifiers or °∆...°« before °∆fd_set°«
/usr/lib/ruby/1.8/i486-linux/intern.h:219: error: expected declaration 
specifiers or °∆...°« before °∆fd_set°«
/usr/lib/ruby/1.8/i486-linux/intern.h:219: error: expected declaration 
specifiers or °∆...°« before °∆fd_set°«
/usr/lib/ruby/1.8/i486-linux/intern.h:219: warning: °∆struct timeval°« 
declared inside parameter list
/usr/lib/ruby/1.8/i486-linux/intern.h:219: warning: its scope is only 
this definition or declaration, which is probably not what you want
/usr/lib/ruby/1.8/i486-linux/intern.h:220: warning: °∆struct timeval°« 
declared inside parameter list
/usr/lib/ruby/1.8/i486-linux/intern.h:455: warning: parameter names 
(without types) in function declaration
In file included from ext/hpricot_scan/hpricot_scan.rl:9:
/usr/lib/ruby/1.8/i486-linux/ruby.h:728:21: error: pthread.h: No such 
file or directory
In file included from ext/hpricot_scan/hpricot_scan.rl:9:
/usr/lib/ruby/1.8/i486-linux/ruby.h:730: error: expected °∆=°«, °∆,°«, °∆;°«, 
°∆asm°« or °∆__attribute__°« before °∆rb_nativethread_t°«
ext/hpricot_scan/hpricot_scan.rl: In function °∆hpricot_scan°«:
ext/hpricot_scan/hpricot_scan.rl:185: warning: incompatible implicit 
declaration of built-in function °∆memcpy°«
ext/hpricot_scan/hpricot_scan.rl:244: warning: incompatible implicit 
declaration of built-in function °∆memmove°«
make: *** [hpricot_scan.o] Error 1


Gem files will remain installed in /var/lib/gems/1.8/gems/hpricot-0.6 
for inspection.
Results logged to 
/var/lib/gems/1.8/gems/hpricot-0.6/ext/hpricot_scan/gem_make.out


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