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Why Sun’s hiring of the JRuby developers isn’t good for Ruby

(Edit: Alternative Title: Why Sun’s hiring of the JRuby developers isn’t just good for Ruby (Thanks Pat!) (Amazing the difference one word can make))

The latest news over the past few days has been all about Sun’s hiring of the JRuby developers. Many people have touted it as good news for JRuby, good news for Ruby, signs Ruby is coming of age, etc, etc.

Sun’s hiring of the JRuby developers isn’t good news for Ruby. It’s good news for Java.

In Bruce Tate’s Beyond Java he talks about how Java is at where C++ was at when Java came out. Now, granted, Ruby has been around 10+ years, but the point stands. People are getting frustrated at Java, but put up with it because they have a heavy investment in it. After all, those BEA servers aren’t going to get away with just serving up some Wiki pages ala JWiki.

But now, developers have some interesting alternatives to Java on the JVM. Want to rapidly prototype something? Or just build an application you can have fun programming with again? Or maybe you want to add support for something to your Java apps. Now you have an alternative which leverages your existing investments. That, my friends, is good news for Java.

And yes, I know of Groovy. But Ruby is doing something special right now – you’ve got plugins for Eclipse AND VisualStudio.NET. That’s not something you find every day.

So kudos to the Sun team for recognizing and opportunity to keep the JVM providing value.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Anonymous September 12, 2006, 10:02 am

    This doesn’t make it necessarily bad news for Ruby, either.
    Sun probably has more of an interest in not fragmenting Ruby. The JRuby guys are probably not interested in that.
    Besides, Sun may not even be in a position to “embrace and extend” in the Microsoft model.
    I have been dying to have something like Groovy, but I need something mainstream, and “Ruby-like” won’t cut it. I hope we get something that can gracefully give access to Java beans without compromising Ruby class hierarchy.

  • Cory Foy September 12, 2006, 10:13 am

    Right. My point is that the focus has been about what a wonderful thing this is for Ruby. With Ruby on the CLR, and Ruby on Rails doing fine without a JVM or CLR on its own, they didn’t need this.

    I think Java did, and does.

    But, super-kudos to the JRuby guys – I think they are very deserving of it.