You're not the only one, but I think we're in the minority.  gems have
been a mess for years, badly documented, and unintegrated with any
particular OS or distribution.  Programmers that issue gems use habits
that make use of more mature packaging systems difficult.  From a
sysadmin point-of-view, they make Ruby-heavy systems unmaintainable in
the long-term, as any global "gem install" is likely to break
applications.

At Bytemark, we've started to hack out a better packaging infrastructure
based on stodgy old .debs, and some automatic scripts to convert sets of
popular gems to work with lenny & lucid.  Our automatically-managed
systems need one extra apt sources line; we excise explicit use of Gem
or 'gem' binaries where they're installed, and we just "require" what's
needed.  It's turning into packaging bliss.

That means you can only have one system-wide version of any library, and
that is just FINE thanks :)  We think the useful Ruby libraries are
small in number, and the useful ones are proving themselves with stable
releases.  We can live without those gems which change their APIs every
minor version - that kind of alpha code needs copying into your app, not
tied into a scissors-and-glue "packaging" system based on github
snapshots or other flaky URLs.

We're in the middle of reinstalling our own apps and Ruby-heavy systems
without gems, and will share our work later in the year once we've
proved to ourselves it all works.

-- 
Matthew