Scripting Languages, that I had dealt with over the years and some associated musings :
During student days, trying to bring an aging VAX/VMS system to its knees, raytracing a world approximated with symbolic structures, used it quite a bit (not for the raytracer). I loved the intuitive nature of the language, and after some initial learning, you could always imagine what would be the command for a specific task, try it and getting pleasantly surprised, it indeed is and works.
Oh the good old Mainframe days, did some interesting stuff, editor macros, 3270 stream converters.
Hell yeah! with control structures, subroutines, I would consider *sh in par with mainstream scripting languages. Let us say, you have decent sized working shell script, utilizing the *nix toolset, now take that and try porting it to (bleh!) Java, two things will happen, you would have lost a part of you, your disrespect to the Java world would have grown a ten fold.
Probably my strongest forte, loved the line noise, obfuscated one liners, more than one way to do it, linguistic design, symbol table hackery, autoload, loved it. But (there is always one), eventually gotten ill of sigils,
Monkey patching, meta programming, first class block goodness, with stable implementation on JVM (JRuby – potentially shielding one from Java, Java sucks man!). Played with it for a while and liked it, but not sure I will be using it in a production situation, lack of rigour, over hype of Rails, not many fellow rubyists around my work world
I have been eyeing python for a while and have been itching to use it in a project/professional setting, and gotten an opportunity recently. Python fits me, clean language, there is (mostly) one (good) way to do it, mature libraries, and was quite productive. The land where Pythons slither, is pleasant, and will be staying here a long while.
On the way out
Now, then, what about Lua, embeddable language, rigorous, small footprint, humble inventors. Still kinda regret my lack of guts to walk into ILM/Pixar (yes that old ;-) and ask for a job, when I still had my graphics chops, optimism and naivety towards Software Development as an Engineering discipline. Digressing again, ILM started the trend of embedding lua in games.
Use the tool/language that is appropriate for the job at hand, it sure helps to be a polyglot, neither all problems are nails nor all tools are hammers.