[Ironruby-core] Regarding IronRuby... How true it sounds from this blog

M. David Peterson m.david at xmlhacker.com
Mon Apr 28 10:50:48 EDT 2008

On Sun, 27 Apr 2008 23:31:21 -0600, Sanghyeon Seo <sanxiyn at gmail.com>  

>>  Just wondering, how true it sounds... I do not agree on many points.
>>  Looking forward to read more comments on this.

> It seems to be a rather good overview of the status to me. I mostly
> agree, except for the accusation that "Microsoft would never back an
> OSS web framework like Rails in preference to its own".

Hmmm... I think that's a pretty fair statement from Charlie.  If I'm  
understanding his point correctly, Microsoft will never turn away from  
ASP.NET in favor or Rails, and instead will continue to push ASP.NET in  
the various directions necessary to keep up with the trends (e.g. ASP.NET  
MVC Framework.)  They'll certainly put the money into providing support  
for Rails, whether that be through IronRuby, or directly through MRI via  
the IIS7 FastCGI layer.  But it will never become the King at DEV.MSFT.  Nor  
should it.  ASP.NET is a kick a$$ web application framework.  And  
regardless of the popularity of Rails in the OSS communities of the world,  
it will be a *VERY* long time -- if ever -- before the installed Rails  
developer base surpasses the installed ASP.NET developer base.

Plus, the installed ASP.NET developer base is actually willing to spend  
money on development tools and related products, something the installed  
Rails-base is only partially willing to do (e.g. TextMate).  And, in the  
end, it's the products that find ways to generate revenue that continue to  
both survive and thrive.   That's not to suggest Rails isn't going to  
survive and/or thrive.  The free-as-in-speech Rails project is funded by  
the profit making 37 Signals and its various not-free-as-in-gasoline  
products in the same way the free-as-in-beer .NET/ASP.NET/etc. projects  
are funded by the profit making Microsoft and its various  
not-free-as-in-gasoline products.  And when you throw the  
free-as-in-speech IronPython/IronRuby/DLR/ASP.NET MVC/etc. projects into  
the mix, it's tough to criticize MSFT's intentions and contributions to  
the OSS ecosystem.

Of course the Mono Project -- which in and of itself provides not only the  
web framework support that Rails represents, but the entire language and  
platform that MRI represents (and then some!) -- represents a *MASSIVE*  
OSS community that the Rails community pales in comparison to. So it's  
tough to take on any type of stance that suggests that .NET/ASP.NET and  
related frameworks are the wrong overall direction for us developer types  
to be placing focus on, regardless of our preference towards OSS and  
proprietary platforms.

That said, I most definitely agree with Charlie's thoughts regarding the  
overall community collaboration and contributions as it relates to the  
IronRuby project.  But I'm less inclined to put the blame entirely on  
MSFT's shoulders.  The door has certainly been open for the community to  
contribute, and several folks have taken advantage of that.  And John and  
company have certainly proven a willingness to rapidly inject the various  
contributions into the source tree as soon as these same contributions  
seem viable enough to be injected into the source tree.

I don't want to put the burden entirely on the communities shoulders, but  
there certainly needs to be at least some recognition to the fact that  
this is a completely different situation than was JRuby when it came into  
the good graces of Sun.  JRuby was a living, breathing, viable open source  
implementation of the Ruby language with a living, breathing, and active  
OSS community backing it up long before Sun came into the picture.  On the  
other hand, IronRuby was a resuscitated proof-of-concept project that I'm  
not even sure really ever saw the light of the OSS-day before being  
brought into the MSFT fold.  So while Charlie is correct: The IronRuby  
project needs to become more community oriented, that community  
orientation needs to come from not only MSFT's direction, but the  
communities direction as well.


M. David Peterson
Co-Founder & Chief Architect, 3rd&Urban, LLC
Email: m.david at 3rdandUrban.com | m.david at amp.fm
Mobile: (206) 999-0588
http://3rdandUrban.com | http://amp.fm |  

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