JAX Innovation Awards

Interview with JRuby's Charlie Nutter, Winner of the Special Jury JAX Innovation Award

It's a few weeks now since the second annual JAXconf from San Francisco took place and we had an absolute blast covering the event on the site.

Over the next few weeks, you'll find video interviews on the site from key speakers, companies showcasing their new products and of course, all the talk from the winners of the JAX Innovation Awards 2012. This year's awards were a great success and rewarded those most deserving of helping Java push onto new boundaries.

First up in the series is a chat with the winner of the Special Jury Award, one of the key men behind the JVM language - Charlie Nutter.
Respected across the Java community for his work towards the Java implementation of the Ruby language, Charlie was a unanimous choice for the jury, containing key community members of the Java ecosystem.

I'll let the people who know hard he's worked tell you why Charlie won the award. Below is the rationale from the JAX Innovation Awards jury, detailing why they believed Charlie was deserving of the Special Jury Award:

The special Jury Award is presented this year to an individual who has consistently set and achieved ambitious goals for the technology about which he's most passionate and works tirelessly to advance it.

As a result, he's made a seismic impact on the technology and even navigated it through changing sponsorship.

This is a person who was an easy choice for the Jury based on the sheer force of his technical contributions to JRuby and the dynamic language community on the JVM as a whole. That person is Charlie Nutter, one of the "JRuby guys".

Charlie has been a driving force behind JRuby. From the very beginning of his involvement, he made his goal clear to make JRuby a true alternative to Ruby. He set the ambitious goal early on for JRuby to be able to run any Ruby application, in particular Ruby on Rails, unchanged. He also focused on offering seamless two-way integration with Java frameworks and libraries and bringing Rubyists and the Java community together.

After achieving compatibility with Ruby, he pushed JRuby beyond a straight port of the language to one that leveraged the JVM to become the fastest Ruby implementation available, substantially faster than its C counterpart.

Charlie was making JRuby go fast before INVOKEDYNAMIC graduated to all caps. Whilst Groovy and Scala are well-adopted, both are native.

Charlie was not content for JRuby to be just another JVM language. He aimed to make it the best JVM language, a first class citizen on the JVM, and one that would change languages on the JVM forever. As a result of working towards this goal, Charlie is known not just as a "JRuby guy", but an influential JVM guy too!

Without Charlie, the polyglot JVM would not be what it is today — and a strong polyglot JVM is essential to Java's continued relevance.

Charlie has made significant contributions to dynamic languages on the JVM and continues to push the boundaries in terms of performance and possibilities. His passion for making the JVM a better place for new languages is incomparable - and this enriches the entire Java platform for us all.

We see no other person worldwide working with such a passion on making the JVM better and educating language designers about its benefits. For these reasons we believe he deserves the Special Jury Award, completely.

JAX Conference Chair, Sebastian Meyen caught up with Charlie just after he won the award:

Congratulations again Charlie on the honour!

Chris Mayer

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