This question is extremely subjective and open-ended. It might even sound like something I should just research for myself and make my own decision. But I'd like to put it out there and get some thoughts from others.
Long story short - I burned out with the rat race and am on a self-funded sabbatical this year. Much of it is to take a break from the corporate grind and travel around, but I also want to play around with new technologies and do some self-learning projects, to stay up to speed on programming, and well - I just love tinkering with programming, when there's no pressure!
Here's the thing: I am a lifetime C/C++/Java programmer. I'm a bit of a squiggly bracket snob since I've been working with this family of languages for my entire programming career. So I'd like to learn a language which isn't so closely syntactically related to this group. What I'm basically looking for is a language which is relatively general purpose, fun to learn, has some new concepts that are different from C++/Java, and has a good community. A secondary consideration is that it has good web development frameworks. A tertiary consideration is that it's not totally academic (read: there are real world jobs out there using it).
I've narrowed it down to Ruby or Python. My impression of Ruby is that it is extremely web oriented - that the only real application of it is as a server side scripting language for doing web stuff (mainly Ruby on Rails). I don't have much of an impression of Python at all, except that it seems to have a passionate fan base and appears to be a fairly versatile language.
TL;DR and to put it as succinctly as possible: which of these would be better for a C++/Java guy to learn to get some new perspectives on programming? And which is more open and general purpose and applicable to a wider set of applications? I'm leaning towards Ruby at the moment, but I worry to an extent that it looks like it's used as nothing but a server side web language.