JAX Innovation Awards

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

Chris Mayer

We talk to Charlie Nutter about what it means to him to be nominated by peers for the JAX Innovation Award. We talk about JRuby, the JVM, Invokedynamic and more

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
, detailing why they
believed Charlie was deserving of the Special Jury

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

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

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

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