As any regular reader of mine should know, I've been a keen rubyist for several years. I like the ruby language for its rich yet uncluttered syntax and the well designed frameworks that come with it. It's become my regular workhorse language for personal projects, including most of this web site.
In the last year we've seen a explosion of interest in Ruby, particularly driven by the web application framework Ruby on Rails. I haven't had the opportunity to play with it, but I've heard strong endorsements of it from many people whose judgment I trust, both inside and outside ThoughtWorks.
Since I was an early, if small-scale, adopter of ruby, I've been very happy to see this platform become more popular. While I was at foocamp, I came across a further reason to like ruby that I hadn't considered. Somebody at the table (sorry I can't remember who) was commenting on a difference he saw between the Python and Ruby communities. He said that the Ruby community was generally more pleasant and more friendly to newbies. (He wondered if any of this was due to Ruby's Japanese origins.)
Since I've not been involved in the Python community I don't know how true this is; but I have noticed that that ruby community is much nicer than most on-line communities I've seen. After all at the very beginning of my interest I was led into Ruby by Andy Hunt and Dave Thomas - two people who I admire greatly. Time and time again I've found a nice mix of talent, pragmatism, and pleasantness in the Ruby community (one that's very similar to the atmosphere that binds me to ThoughtWorks).
So why is this important? I'm someone who has always believed that in software development PeopleMatterMost, so to me a community that has a good blend of talented, collaborative people has a distinct competitive edge. So if all I'm saying is true, a good reason to take the Ruby phenomenon seriously is the quality of the community that's behind it.