Let me describe some simple questions about Ruby 1.8.6 that are not 
easy to answer right now:

* Is each patchlevel considered a new release of Ruby 1.8.6?
* Were all the changes since p114 to 1.8.6 just for fixing bugs and 
security issues?
* What tests are run before a patchlevel release is made?
* Aer the new rspec tests included in these tests?
* What signifies that one patchlevel is a release to upgrade to while 
others are more intermediate releases?

Here's what I've done to get partial answers.

I use Ruby 1.8.6 p111 on my servers right now (with two small patches).

I would like to upgrade to the most recent stable version of 1.8.6 
which has fixes for bugs and security issues. I do not want to 
upgrade to 1.8.7 because of deeper language changes -- I want the 
best 1.8.6

When I go to http://www.ruby-lang.org/en/ I do not see this 
information on the front page.

The big news is 1.8.7. This page has links to archives which appear 
to be 1.8.7 p0:

   http://www.ruby-lang.org/en/news/2008/05/31/ruby-1-8-7-has-been-released/

On the security warning page:

 
http://www.ruby-lang.org/en/news/2008/06/20/arbitrary-code-execution-vulnerabilities/

There are references to 1.8.5-p231, or 1.8.6-p230, or 1.8.7-p22 as 
versions which fix the recent security issues. That could be useful. 
Perhaps p230.

Next I want to see the list of changes from p114 to p230 for 1.8.6.

To do this I take a look in the tags directory (because there doesn't 
seem to be anyplace else to find this info):

  http://svn.ruby-lang.org/cgi-bin/viewvc.cgi/tags/

and open the v1_8_6_230 tag:

   http://svn.ruby-lang.org/cgi-bin/viewvc.cgi/tags/v1_8_6_230/

and from there it's a couple more clicks to view the v1_8_6_230/ChangeLog

 
http://svn.ruby-lang.org/cgi-bin/viewvc.cgi/tags/v1_8_6_230/ChangeLog?view=markup

But there is nothing in this changelog that indicates where the p114 
changeset was. I need to navigate to the v1_8_6_114/ChangeLog:

 
http://svn.ruby-lang.org/cgi-bin/viewvc.cgi/tags/v1_8_6_114/ChangeLog?view=markup

I can see that this was Revision 15679 but the v1_8_6_230/ChangeLog 
doesn't reference any earlier revision numbers so to find the changes 
between p114 and p230 I need to select the heading in the last change 
indicated:

   "Mon Mar  3 23:34:13 2008  GOTOU Yuuzou  <gotoyuzo / notwork.org>"

and then search for this change in v1_8_6_230/ChangeLog. This gives 
me a range of text that describes the changes from p114 (Mon Mar 3 
14:36:07 2008) to p230 (Fri Jun 20 09:24:55 2008). I've copied just 
those changes here:

   http://pastie.org/224554 (715 lines)

In searching for this information I also wanted to know the changes 
from p230 to p255 in 1.8.6 so I used the same process to pull out 
this section of the changelog.

   http://pastie.org/224558 (149 lines)

That seems like a large number of steps to find out what changes have 
been made to 1.8.6 since p114. But even all this information doesn't 
directly help answer the question which patch level for Ruby 1.8.6 
should I upgrade to?

Skimming through the changelogs it looks like bug fixes, security 
fixes and small functional improvements. However I'd like to know the 
results after running it through the rspec tests.

So now I'm planning to checkout p230 on a server, run the included 
test, install it in a separate dir and run the rspec tests and 
compare the results to my patched

I'm using the git clone of matzruby located here: 
git://github.com/rubyspec/matzruby.git so navigating among the 
various branches can be very quick.