JRuby team joining Sun

There are always a variety of efforts underway to expand our developer base, ensure we're paying attention to software efforts outside of Sun, and keep interesting projects running well on top of Solaris -- all part of being in the general purpose infrastructure business. When we began talking about the "Java platform" as larger in scope than the "Java language", the two good-reporter questions were asked (not just by the reporters, but analysts and employees too): why and how?

The "why" part is easy: The Java platform includes the Java language, the JVM in which it runs, and the libraries and APIs that provide a wealth of functionality. We -- as engineers, not linguists -- tend to gloss over the distinction between the language specification and associated runtimes. Does anyone really consider the "C" language separate and apart from the "C" libraries? Kind of hard, when you're calling stdio functions before you've left the first useful chapter in Kernighan and Ritchie.

Semantics aside, the real "why" of emphasizing the Java platform is that the richness of the libraries and APIs and the utility of the JVM can be laid as foundations for other languages. Get them targeting the JVM and developers can use some of what they already know in going between language platforms. By this past spring, there were heads nodding that this was a good idea.

Rich Green answered the how part yesterday in a keynote, by announcing that Charles Nutter and Thomas Enebo, AKA "the JRuby guys", will be joining Sun. Tim Bray does his usual outstanding job of providing exquisitie details on the why of Ruby-on-JVM as well as the "how" of the team coming to Sun. Both Charles and Thomas are going to continue to work from the State of Hockey, because, well, they live there (it's not because Tim Bray is a hockey fan).

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