Thanks everyone for your responses.

Yes, this test is representative of some of the types of applications 
and necessary data processing I have current applications doing and am 
needing in some future ones.

The file I'm using is 49MB in size unzipped - too large for me to upload 
right now as I'm on a mobile cell network.

To provide context on the file, it contains data such as this:

Western Digital Caviar Special Edition Hard Drive - 80GB - 7200rpm - 
Ultra ATA - IDE/EIDE - Internal
Kingston 256MB SDRAM Memory Module - 256MB (1 x 256MB) - 133MHz PC133 - 
SDRAM - 144-pin
512Mo (1 x 512Mo) - 133MHz PC133 - SDRAM - 168 broches

It's stats are:

wc /tmp/file_test.txt
1778983 7764115 51084191 /tmp/file_test.txt

This is not a test of "file reading". The test is related to the 
performance of iterating over large lists of data and performing 
processing on them - such as indexing for searching, cleansing, 
normalizing etc.

This is a very small representation of the level of complexity and size 
of data I would in reality be dealing with.

It seems however that the answer is that this is not what Ruby  is well 
suited for. Am I correct in that determination?

I will however be continuing my ongoing tests with SOAP/REST webservices 
and more CRUD focused webapps, where I expect to see Ruby shine.
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