Spurred on by Antonio Cangiano's recent campaign, I've been trying to make a permanent move to Ruby 1.9.1. I've been on 1.8.6 by default for a good while, as that's what you get with Mac OS X 10.5, though it's actually not too hard to get going compiling your own Ruby from source – no special tricks are required and it works great. I hope Apple makes 1.9.x the default for OS X 10.6 when it appears later this year. Go on – be brave!

So what have I found in this exciting new world?
  • It's a bit faster, as expected, though nothing to get especially excited about.
  • Some very popular gems just don't work straight off the shelf. Mongrel for instance – though I'm told it's really easy to get it working with a couple of tweaks. Still, it's a shame for the sake of the community that the official latest gem can't have those tweaks made to it and save a lot of people an awful lot of fuss. Actually I hear that Mongrel 2 is on the way, taking advantage of more of Rack's infrastructure. I look forward to it. 
  • ri now works really quickly compared to my 1.8.6 install, which always thinks for a couple of seconds before giving me a result. I think this is due to a new caching mechanism that was introduced around 1.8.7. Simple things like this make a huge difference to my life!
  • ri actually finds docs for the standard libraries, which it didn't for my 1.8.7 install. I think was due to some issue in the standard makefile for 1.8.7, but I'm not really sure. Again, for someone like me who only just knows what he's doing, this makes a huge difference.
  • Proper string encoding support! Finally the promised land, as long as you can take the hit of string indexing now being incredibly slow.
  • Rubygems at 1.3.1, which is much more refined than that bundled with ruby 1.8.6 on Mac OS X. You can get this for yourself on any version of Ruby with gem update –system BTW. No more "Bulk updating Gem source".

I recommend everyone tries to move on up, at least with a parallel install that they can easily switch, and applies pressure to the holdouts to get it happening. Commercial pressures will make it tough for many, but when we break on through to the other side it will all be worth it I reckon. 

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