found the culprit. 
/vim/vim61/ftplugin/ruby.vim
had a line with 

" Set shift width to 2, the Ruby standard
setlocal sw=2

I didn't realize this was a ruby standard...  hm

On Fri, Aug 02, 2002 at 02:53:18AM +0900, Daniel Bretoi wrote:
> 
> Hey,
> 
> 	I'm not sure anyone else has noticed this, but the vim indentation
> 	for ruby is frustrating. It keeps indenting two spaces instead of
> 	tab. Has anyone else experienced this?
> 
> 	(this happens with cindent turned on. I have no such problem with
> 	 perl or anything else. ideas?)
> 
> 	db
> 
> -- 
> "Then we typed the G, and the  system crashed"...

-- 
"Then we typed the G, and the  system crashed"...