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I am thinking about learning the basics of Ruby, so I want to install the ruby interpreter, irb, etc., on my Ubuntu 11.10 box. I quickly found that there are two main branches of ruby -- the 1.8 branch and the 1.9.1 branch. This provokes the question of how to decide which branch to install.

I saw a similar split with Python's 2.x and 3.x branches, but in the case of Python, I could find some discussions of the pros and cons of each branch. I haven't found such a discussion with respect to Ruby's branches.

My first impulse is to install the latest stable version, which would be ruby1.9.1 (which is actually Ruby version 1.9.2, which has been a stable release for about two years). I don't know how different the two branches really are.

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This online slideshow tells the differences of Ruby 1.8 and 1.9: http://slideshow.rubyforge.org/ruby19.html#1

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