The orthogonal features, when combined, can explode into complexity.
I believe consistency and orthogonality are tools of design, not the primary goal in design.
You want to enjoy life, don't you? If you get your job done quickly and your job is fun, that's good isn't it? That's the purpose of life, partly. Your life is better.
Most of the tasks we do are for humans. For example, a tax calculation is counting numbers so the government can pull money out from my wallet, but government consists of humans.
From the viewpoint of what you can do, therefore, languages do differ - but the differences are limited. For example, Python and Ruby provide almost the same power to the programmer.
People are different. People choose different criteria. But if there is a better way among many alternatives, I want to encourage that way by making it comfortable. So that's what I've tried to do.
Actually, I didn't make the claim that Ruby follows the principle of least surprise. Someone felt the design of Ruby follows that philosophy, so they started saying that. I didn't bring that up, actually.
Ruby inherited the Perl philosophy of having more than one way to do the same thing. I inherited that philosophy from Larry Wall, who is my hero actually. I want to make Ruby users free. I want to give them the freedom to choose.
In our daily lives as programmers, we process text strings a lot. So I tried to work hard on text processing, namely the string class and regular expressions. Regular expressions are built into the language and are very tuned up for use.
Because of the Turing completeness theory, everything one Turing-complete language can do can theoretically be done by another Turing-complete language, but at a different cost. You can do everything in assembler, but no one wants to program in assembler anymore.