Ruby is an open-source dynamic object-oriented interpreted language that combines the good bits from Perl, Smalltalk and Lisp. It supports multiple programming paradigms. Ruby’s primary purpose is to “help every programmer in the world to be productive, and to enjoy programming, and to be happy.” Ruby focuses on simplicity and productivity.
Ruby was initially conceived on February 24, 1993 by Yukihiro Matsumoto (‘Matz’) and version 1.0 was released in 1996. The current stable version is v1.9. Version 2.0, to be released in February 2013, is rumored to be fully backwards compatible with v1.9. citation
Ruby’s mindshare spiked around 2005 due to Ruby on Rails, a MVC (Model, Controller, View) framework for building web applications and usage continues to grow as of 2012.