As has been announced at various places today, Sun has made it official that they hire Charles O Nutter and Thomas Enebo to work full time on JRuby and Ruby development tools. This is obviously great news for JRuby fans, Ruby evangelists and Java developers. Because this news is something we all will benefit from.
So, what does this mean to JRuby, Ruby and Java? Well, JRuby will gain even more traction. It's fair to say that the next few months probably will see an explosion of fixes to JRuby correctness and performance. I'm willing to bet money that JRuby will run Rails as fast as MRI by New Years. Of course, this is something that the Ruby language will benefit greatly from. JRuby won't be a competitive Ruby implementation; it will be a complementary one where the resources of Java will be available to systems that need the agile development process of Ruby. Other clear benefits is the possibility of creating a real Ruby language specification and test suite.
For Java the issue isn't as clear cut. Java the language will probably lose developers to Ruby. But they won't move from the Java platform; and this is the important point. It's the platform that counts; and Ruby with the power of the Java platform will be something incredible to behold.
I guess the next question for me and other JRuby developers will be what next? Should we lie down on the couch, take a rest and let the big guys take care of JRuby from now on? Of course not. Actually, the situation is the complete inverse. It is now we should make an extra effort. It is now that we are needed. Two great developers working full time will not be enough. It will never be enough. This is really a call to arms. Now is the time for all those developers that I know are out there, thinking about pitching in, but haven't decided to do it yet. Now is the time to help. There are test cases to be written, documentation is needed. There are core changes that need to be implemented. There are extensions to write, and applications to test. We have one gem released on RubyForge that demands JRuby. In a years time there should be one hundred!