Tim Bray says something in his post on Ruby that I have observed as well:
For people like me, who are proficient in Perl and Java, Ruby is remarkably, perhaps irresistibly, attractive.
If you know Java and Perl, you can start using Ruby pretty much immediately.
His impression of the Pickaxe book is the opposite of mine. He thinks it’s above average. For me, not so much.
He misses his IDE. I find that I miss it less than I thought I would, but then again, I use TextMate. Tim will be giving in to TextMate pretty soon, I’d guess.