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Developed in Japan in the mid-1990s, Ruby is a high-level, interpreted, general-purpose programming language. Its influences included Ada, C++, CLU, Dylan, Eiffel, Lisp, Lua, Perl, Python, Smalltalk, and Basic.

Of the more popular languages, Ruby is said to more closely resemble a spoken language. It is simple, flexible, and not as verbose as many other languages. The chief disadvantage is that programs written in Ruby tend to be slower than those written in other languages. Also, because it is one of the newer languages, it doesn't have a strong developer community.

The designer, Yukihiro Matsumoto, describes Ruby as being like a simpler Lisp language, with the object system of Smalltalk, blocks inspired by higher-order functions, and the practical utility of Perl.

Released in 1995, by 2000, the language was more popular than Python in Japan. The first English Ruby language book was published in late 2000, and it has since been gaining in popularity in the English-speaking world.

Released in 2005, Ruby on Rails has been credited with a surge in interest in Ruby. Rails is a framework, but Ruby is the programming language that Rails was built on.

Ruby can be run on Windows, Mac, Linux, and several other OS platforms.

The original Ruby interpreter was Matz's Ruby Interpreter (MRI), which uses its own Ruby-specific virtual machine. Beginning with Ruby 1.9, the official Ruby interpreter has been Yet Another Ruby VM (YARV), which supersedes the slower virtual machine used in previous versions.

Several alternative implementations of Ruby have been developed, each taking a different approach. Major implementations include JRuby, TruffleRuby, and Rubinius. Others are MagLev, mruby, the Ruby Game Scripting System (RGSS), Topaz, and Opal. Discontinued implementations, which may still be found, included Cardinal, HotRuby, IronRuby, MacRuby, and the Ruby Enterprise Edition. In recent years, the maturity of the implementations is measured by their ability to support the Ruby on Rails framework.

RubyGems is the Ruby package manager.

Topics related to the Ruby programming language are the focus of topics in this category. Any of the Ruby implementations, compilers, libraries, editors, or other tools designed specifically for Ruby are appropriate resources.

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