2009/2/18 Roger Pack <rogerdpack / gmail.com>:
> In reality though I think it's turned off by default for 1.8.x on linux, too.

Roger, I'm sorry that I can't answer most of your questions. I'm using
the Windows one-click-installer, and there it just works. One answer I
can give you though:

irb(main):001:0> t = Time.now; help "now"; Time.now - t
More than one method matched your request. You can refine
your search by asking for information on one of:

     Date::now, DefaultDisplay#list_known_classes,
     DefaultDisplay#list_known_names, Logger#unknown,
     REXML::XMLDecl#nowrite, RSS::BaseParser#ignore_unknown_element=,
     RSS::BaseParser#ignore_unknown_element,
     SOAP::Mapping::RubytypeFactory#unknownobj2soap,
     SOAP::Mapping::RubytypeFactory#unknownstruct2obj,
     SOAP::Mapping::RubytypeFactory#unknowntype2obj,
     ThreadsWait#join_nowait, Time::now

=> 7.219
irb(main):002:0> t = Time.now; help "now"; Time.now - t
More than one method matched your request. You can refine
your search by asking for information on one of:

     Date::now, DefaultDisplay#list_known_classes,
     DefaultDisplay#list_known_names, Logger#unknown,
     REXML::XMLDecl#nowrite, RSS::BaseParser#ignore_unknown_element=,
     RSS::BaseParser#ignore_unknown_element,
     SOAP::Mapping::RubytypeFactory#unknownobj2soap,
     SOAP::Mapping::RubytypeFactory#unknownstruct2obj,
     SOAP::Mapping::RubytypeFactory#unknowntype2obj,
     ThreadsWait#join_nowait, Time::now

=> 0.125
irb(main):003:0>

As you can see, IRB seems to load the docs only once, so after that
every "help" is answered very quickly (even if you look for a
different method than the first time). BTW: I myself learned about the
help method just a couple of weeks ago on one of the mailing lists,
after using Ruby for more than eight years...

Regards,
Pit