Just in the nick of time for the Christmas target, the Ruby core team has released Ruby 1.9.0 - Matz announced the release on the ruby-talk mailing list not too long ago.

Rubygem and Ruby library developers, now's the time to get down to making your Ruby code compatible with 1.9.0.

Rails is not too far from being compatible with 1.9, thanks to the efforts of Jeremy Kemper and a few other contributors. Mongrel is not quite there yet though (I use mongrel for my Rails applications, and I think at least 50% of you do too). So while running your Rails apps on Ruby 1.9 is not an easy task right now (unless you enjoy lots of monkey patching), let's hope the full 1.9.0 release will inspire more Ruby developers to get their libraries compatible so we can all enjoy the big speed boost in Ruby 1.9.

Very nice (if somewhat geeky) Christmas present from the Ruby core and contributors!