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I remember that many years ago somebody told me (or did I read it?) that he expected Smalltalk to eventually succeed but he didn't expect that it would be called Ruby.

My guess: maybe a Smalltalkish language in a conventional environment? Don't underestimate the power of being close to what the average programmer used to experience in the years before a new language is released.

Python is from the end of the 80s and its classes look like OO in C (without ++, I mean the explicit self), plus functional methods (len, etc). Ruby and Java are from the middle 90s and take that for granted and hide self and go all in with method calls. They take small steps and adopt a syntax similar to other existing languages. Too much change and developers won't follow en masse.

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