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JRuby: What happens next? Will it affect Groovy/Grails?

With Sun's supporting JRuby by adding two of its committers to its payroll, the next question is where does this leave other JVM language alternatives such as Groovy? Since the announcement both Charles Nutter and Thomas Enebo (the two new hires) as well as Tim Bray of Sun have both provided follow up answers to questions about what will happen next. In summary:
  • Improving JRuby is their primary priority but...
  • They also have a mandate to improve the Ruby tool landscape
  • Sun will not control the project and licensing will not change.
  • While, as Sun employees, they have a major interest in ensuring Netbeans support, JRuby will not discriminate between users or other tools such as RadRails which is based on Eclipse.
  • Neither will be moving to sunny California ... instead opting for the lovely Minneapolis winters.
  • The JRuby hiring has nothing to do with the recent IronPython 1.0 announcement for all you conspiracy theorists.
  • Sun is still actively interested in supporting non-Java technologies on its systems and OS platforms.
  • Sun is also still interested in other languages on the JVM such as Visual Basic and JavaScript.

Charles Nutter responded to the question of JRuby vs Groovy, Rails vs Grails on

...trying to build a house with a hammer. The very notion is absurd. It’s just as absurd to say there should be one true dynlang on the JVM, be it Groovy or Ruby or Python or anything else. We are craftsmen, if not artists, and no craftsman will claim that a single tool can do everything...After fighting for alternative languages to curry favor with the development community, does it make sense to claim our language is the one true choice? And the same question with alternative web frameworks?

Tim Bray's recent blog entry highlights that the hiring was not about JRuby vs other languages. It was simply a response to the great work Charles and Thomas have been doing:

...First, these guys took an existing semi-dormant project and brought it alive, unprompted, unpaid, applying energy and engineering skills to the problem in large quantities. Second, they were working in a field that has a large and growing community; in this case because of the hype around Rails. Third, they were vocal and outward-facing and articulate, getting on the stage at Java One and lots of other events with impressive demos. Fourth, they shipped code that worked pretty well and improved qualitatively from release to release. I’m not sure it’s Sun’s role to pick and choose the winners and losers in this space, or anoint leaders; what would make us think we’re that smart? But when obvious leadership emerges in an interesting space, why wouldn’t we get behind it?

Finally Graeme Rocher, Grails project lead, comments in respect to Groovy/Grails.

First, I must express my congratulations to the JRuby guys at the news that they have been hired to work fulltime on JRuby by Sun. This is great news as we may finally see a high quality Ruby VM for Java ... What do I personally think it means to Groovy? Well not a great deal actually. Groovy already has tight integration with Java and compiles to byte code hence its performance and integration is excellent ... If JRuby gets Rails working on Java then it is just another choice amongst such great frameworks like WebWork, Cocoon, Rife and Grails.

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