That didn’t take long. Just a few days after I decided to learn Python before Ruby, I changed my mind and went with Ruby. Garrick told me that a Ruby user group was starting up in town, and that happy news pushed me over the edge. I’ve spent odd moments and bus rides in the past week reading the PickAxe book, and my gut feeling was right: Ruby feels right to me, like meeting an old friend, like coming home. I’m excited to dig into it with gusto, and anxious to try Ruby on Rails.

Rails is easy enough to set up, but the usual way of doing so is to use RubyGems — which doesn’t work right on my iBook running Jaguar (OS X 10.2). No, compiling a new ruby hasn’t helped, though the problem does seem to be at the ruby core level. The obvious choices are either to get Tiger (OS X 10.4), which I’ve been putting off until I buy a new laptop, or to install Rails by hand. I’m not sure right now which way I’ll go.

To celebrate my introduction to Ruby, on Wednesday night I went to the inaugural meeting of the Twin Cities Ruby user group (still working on a name. People were enthused about “MSP Ruby Brigade”). The organizers expected maybe a half-dozen people. Three times that showed up. Not bad for last-minute word-of-mouth! Easily half the people in attendance work with Java in their day job; most of us are less than thrilled about it. At least two there contribute to JRuby, working to get a ruby interpreter in the JVM. A really sharp group of people. I walked away from the meeting even more excited about Ruby than when I arrived.

What about Python? I’ll get back to it. I still do want to try Django, and the few days that I spent with Python whetted my appetite. I’m just more excited about Ruby right now.