I think it was Josh Susser that first said:
Ruby is the love child of Lisp and Smalltalk, raised by Perl the eccentric nanny.
I really liked that quote. Of course I hated Perl at a time for being cryptic, outdated and old school. I assumed Perl had a little influence on Ruby, not even close to influence that Smalltalk and Lisp had.
After a couple of years of looking at Lisp, Smalltalk and Perl I would say: “Ruby is a Perl sister that’s not doing drugs”. She is more lovable but also less intriguing and wild.
At the one side we have a Lisp. It has no syntax sugar. It’s even proud of it. On the other side we have Perl. It has ALL the syntax sugar and then some. It’s even proud of it.
These are both valid approaches. It depends on personal taste where on the scale you decide to settle. My pick is Ruby, some other people may prefer Python.
I pity them because Python feels like jail to me since it has all of those “purity”, “sanity” (however you want to call them) constraints. They pity me because I shoot myself in a foot every once in a while (and only occasionally cut my throat) because Ruby lacks some of those constraints.
This goes in circles as a classical holly war tends to, but I had an epiphany yesterday, while watching Perl vs Python debate live from OSCON 2011.