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Inside IronRuby PreAlpha1

by James Vastbinder on Jul 26, 2007 |

This week at OSCON, John Lam of Microsoft released IronRuby to the masses and promised to host the source code on Rubyforge under the Microsoft Permissive License by the end of August.  Many consider the Microsoft Permissive License to adhere closest to the ideals maintained by the OSI and some even speculate Microsoft will soon submit the license to the approval process.  Still speculation abounds on the decision to host the source code on Rubyforge which is not a Microsoft property.

Along similiar lines when asking John about the process to ship the code under an "Open Source" license and on a non-Microsoft property he responded:

No formal process at all - just lots of meetings with management and lawyers.

When asked about compatiblity with the Ruby specification John replied:

We are committed to building an implementation that is true to the language - compatible with the 1.8.x branch of Ruby. The only significant feature that we will not implement is continuations – this is consistent with the JRuby project’s position on this feature as well.

Possibly in response to Martin Fowler's prose on Ruby and Microsoft and to get around the dilemma where Microsoft employees may not look at the source code of Open Sourc projects, when asked how best the community could help John indicated:

Help us implement the existing C-based Ruby libraries in the standard distribution.

Looking to the future of IronRuby, John would like the community to assist in building out the .NET libraries and in spreading the word on IronRuby:

Help us build the libraries. Help us evangelize the technology. Help us build interesting .NET-specific libraries as well.

 Infoq has other great content on both IronRuby and Ruby at the community level.

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MS and OSS by Alex Popescu

Why is this such a big deal? I think in those "lots of meetings" the managers should be explained that without opening it most probably IronRuby will never catch up with CRuby/JRuby. And the lawyers... well, I don't want to have to deal with lawyers :-).

./alex
--
.w( the_mindstorm )p.
________________________
Alexandru Popescu
Senior Software Eng.
InfoQ TechLead&CoFounder

PS: Is this the first time MS is considering open sourcing something?

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