New to Ruby, new to programming

I’m a 17 year old high-school student from Cape Town, South Africa with
absolutely no programming background except for markup languages,
HTML/XHTML and CSS. I am passionate about computers and how they work
and when I recently started exploring into the UNIX-world (Linux), I
came across some more technical aspects of how things work and I’ve
learned a great deal in general. However I am not a UNIX guru, in fact,
I’m far from that! The problem I’ve encountered is, because everything
is so customizable I often don’t find the necessary utilities for a
certain job and thus I am “forced” to explore into the programming
environment. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy about this and I see it as a
great challenge and I am looking forward to enriching my knowledge.

Ruby is not exactly the most talked about or popular of programming
languages and there are some more popular alternatives (Python, Perl). I
first read about Ruby in an article in LinuxFormat issue 88 and it never
crossed my mind to look into it. However lately I’ve been doing some
research about OO (Object-Oriented) languages and I decided that before
I jump into the first language that seems appropriate for my experience
level - that I’d read about them first and I went through some
user-feedback. Now I suppose there’s no real reason that Ruby is any
better to start off with than say, Python, but I want (and I really mean
it), I want to “promote” the use of this language because of it’s low
documentation level. If anything, I will at least be adding a tiny drop
of experience in the hope of making a difference to the community out

I think I gave a pretty thorough explanation and I hope that someone can
help me here. I did some excersises (about two or three) and I
understand some general things but there is something I need help with
but I’m not particularly sure where to ask the quesion, because it seems
there are so many different Ruby (sidelines?) Rails, Spinoffs?, Core?
What are these and for a general guy like me, what should I do…?

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