I'm completely new to Ruby and Python. I'd like to learn another language 
I currently know most of the Microsoft mainstays like VB, C#, ASP, 
VBScript as well as JavaScript, Java, PHP, etc. I'm interested in learning 
another scripting language, mostly for fast proto-typing and also because 
I have a gut feeling, that at least in Open Source circles, languages like 
Python and Ruby are starting to pick up steam for glueing together 
applications. Now with the news on Slashdot about Rails (as a web 
developer by profession) Ruby has gained my attention.

So I'm wondering, for what reasons should I consider learning Ruby? I'm a 
"Big Book" type of guy. I love buying one of those tree-killers and diving 
into a new language. I'm trying to decide whether my next language to 
learn will be Ruby or Python. I already know a bit about what makes Python 
good. So my question to you guys is, why Ruby? 

Also, do any of you have a feeling as to the future of Ruby? I know these 
things can change on a dime, but my main interest in this regard is that I 
know many shops are considering non-web-based Open Source solutions to 
replacing existing Visual C++ and VB applications. Acting as an oracle 
(i.e. taking a guess :-) ) what kind of future do you think Ruby has in 
this regard?

Thanks!

Preston