Interview with Charles Nutter: We were unable to plan the future

Charles Oliver Nutter

Yesterday we heard the news, that the JRuby team at Sun –Charles Nutter, Thomas Enebo and Nick Sieger – are leaving the company and heading to Rails application hosting company Engine Yard. We talked to Charles Nutter to find out the circumstances and the future of JRuby.

JAXenter: What was the main argument for you to leave Sun?

Charles Nutter: JRuby is a fast-moving project, and because of the Oracle buyout we were unable to plan for the future. We didn’t know whether JRuby would continue, and for regulatory reasons we were unable to talk much about the future of JRuby. On the other side, Engine Yard was eager to bring all three of us on board and start making real cloud, hosting, and support options available to current and future JRuby users. It’s an exciting opportunity for us, and I believe it will be a great future for JRuby users as a result.

JAXenter: From next week on you will be working on the same project but under a new roof. Is this going to change the JRuby roadmap, especially when you think of Sun’s engineering resources?

Nutter: Most of the development resources at Sun were dedicated to other projects. We got bug reports from NetBeans and GlassFish engineers, for example, but all the JRuby development work was done by Tom Enebo and myself. By moving to EngineYard, we won’t lose any resources, and in fact we gain a full time resource in Nick Sieger, who previously spent most of his time as the Project Kenai lead. So already by making the move we’ve gained 50% more full-time JRuby staff. I also expect us to still collaborate with Sun engineers, making sure their JRuby-based products continue to work well and making sure the ongoing JVM work moves forward. If nothing else, we’re still friends with many folks at Sun, and look forward to continuing to work with them.

JAXenter: JRuby 1.4 is coming in a few weeks – what can the community expect from the new release?

Nutter: In JRuby 1.4, we’re hoping for a few key improvements:

  • Better integration with Java, allowing libraries like Hibernate, JUnit4, JAX-RS and others to work. The inability to create a “real” Java class from a Ruby class was always a gap in our Java integration story. JRuby 1.4 will start to solve that.
  • Improved performance in Java integration and to a lesser extent in Ruby code itself.
  • New releases of several JRuby-related gems, like ActiveRecord-JDBC, OpenSSL, and more. In addition, a Google Summer-of-Code project to support the Nokogiri XML library will be coming soon.

And beyond these items, we’re hoping to hear from users what they really need to make JRuby their development platform of choice. We’d also like to know what sorts of hosting and support options folks are interested in. I would recommend that everyone visit, jump on the mailing lists, and let us know!

JAXenter: Thank you very much!

Charles Oliver Nutter

Charles Oliver Nutter

All Posts by Charles Oliver Nutter

co-leads the JRuby project and is one of the three core developers. He joined Sun Microsystems in September 2006 and has since worked to improve and advance JRuby and other dynamic language support on the JVM. Charles has developed in Java for the past decade as well as having written Windows and .NET applications. Before coming to Sun, Charles was a lead JavaEE architect, and now hopes to make dynamic languages ready for enterprise Java platform development.

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