Sun picks up a gem in JRuby

Sun is adding a shining jewel of a dynamic programming language to its technological treasure trove: JRuby.

JRuby core developers Charles Oliver Nutter and Thomas Enebo will officially become members of Sun later this month, they announced separately today in their respective blogs.

JRuby fans needn't worry, Nutter says: "We're being hired to work on JRuby full-time."

JRuby is a pure Java implementation of the Ruby interpreter, plus it's open source under the three-way CPL/GPL/LGPL license.

One of the JRuby team's PR specialists has already put together a list of AFAQ (anticipated frequently asked questions) about what this move means for JRuby -- and Sun.

According to the write-up, Sun is interested in Nutter, Enebo, and JRuby because "technologies like Ruby are getting intense interest from the developer community, and Sun is interested in anything that developers care about."

Sun will not "own" JRuby, it says. "JRuby has existed for a long time as a project; it has its own culture, community, license, and codebase, and there are no plans for significant changes."

Rather, Sun's plans are threefold: To learn more about emerging dynamically typed languages; "to ensure that the Ruby programming language, in its JRuby form, is available to the community of Java developers"; and to examine the "possibility that the Java platform may prove to be an attractive deployment option for existing Ruby applications in certain scenarios."

That's not to say that Sun is becoming a Java-only zone: "We are actively interested in supporting non-Java technologies such as PHP, Perl, Python, and Rails on our system and OS platforms."

A couple of Sun blogs have mentioned the news and welcomed the two developers. "Sun believes the Java platform is bigger than just the Java language and we support giving developers a choice. Sun is planning to support multiple languages on the Java platform; plus, we'll be working toward interoperability between the Java platform and other languages," writes Jacquelyn Decoster in Sun's On the Record blog.

The Sun Web site is offering a video session featuring Enebo and Nutter showing viewers how to to apply Ruby on JVM to common use cases. The session is available only to Sun Developer Network members. There's also a PDF on the topic, freely available.

Additionally, InfoQ has a streaming video presentation of JRuby by the two developers.