JRuby architects leave Sun

Alex Handy
August 29, 2009 —  (Page 1 of 3)
Charles Nutter and Thomas Enebo are bilingual. They've spent the past two years at Sun Microsystems working on JRuby, which allows developers to write Ruby code and run it on top of a JVM. But after Oracle began its takeover of Sun, Nutter and Enebo say they found the environment there increasingly frustrating.

So, this August, the pair left Sun and joined Engine Yard, a Ruby-focused hosting and development startup in San Francisco's hip South Park neighborhood. It was there that we caught up with the JRuby pair and asked them about the project, their new jobs and the future of Java.

SD TIMES: When last we spoke, Java developers were screaming for a simple scripting layer on top of Java. You two had, essentially, given the community as much by releasing JRuby. But since that time, almost every language has a bridge to the JVM. Is this trend going to continue?

NUTTER: It's definitely continuing and accelerating. I think what we managed to prove with JRuby is that the JVM is and always has been an excellent platform for multiple languages. Languages like Scala and Clojure are designed for the JVM. The interesting challenge for us and Jython and Rhino are bringing languages from off platforms with their own ecosystems and making them also work on JVM.

ENEBO: Those external projects have their own expectations they bring with them from their environments. Those languages were originally written in C, and some of those features don't exist in the JVM.

SD TIMES: So, you collaborate with the Jython project?

NUTTER: We work with those guys. We have similar challenges.

ENEBO: We share some code between the projects now as well. The JVM doesn't give you access to POSIX libraries. So we have a POSIX library we share between the two projects that uses JNA to call out some of the C methods that the JVM doesn't give you access to.

SD TIMES: With all these languages on top of Java, do you think Java (as a programming language, not as an environment) is becoming less relevant?

Related Search Term(s): Engine Yard, Java, Ruby

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