Problem solved.  On my other laptop which is not connected to corporate 
VPN, and therefore is not behind a proxy server, NetBeans installed 
fine.  I could use the Update Center to download ruby and ruby on rails 
modules and things seem to be working fine.  Another difference between 
two laptops is that this one is running JDK 1.4.2 whereas the one behind 
the proxy server is running jdk 1.6.  But that should not be a problem, 
I will test and then report.

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