What IronRuby Running Rails *REALLY* Means and Why Miguel de Icaza Deserves The Credit For Making OSS@MSFT Possible

by M. David Peterson

Update: Okay, so I really needed to clarify my point regarding Miguel a bit better. Hopefully the updated title more clearly describes what I was attempting to suggest.

Also, as chromatic points out in a follow-up comment below,

I think you may have misspelled "Jim Hugunin".


Point well taken, chromatic! Jim certainly deserves the credit for bringing dynamic languages to Microsoft, doing so on a foundation of openness. I believe Miguel and friends deserve the credit for breaking down the barriers from an external perspective. Jim, John, and the rest of the dynamic languages crew at Microsoft deserve the credit for picking things up and moving them forward internally.

Thanks for helping to set things straight, chromatic!

[Original Post]
I first met John Lam when I was working as the Technical Evangelist for the Windows CE (1.0) team back in '96/'97. I was impressed by him then in the same way I am impressed by him now...

He doesn't give up. Nor does he give in to political pressure.

John Lam on Software: IronRuby and Rails

Perhaps even more important than all of this technical stuff is what the IronRuby project represents at Microsoft. IronRuby has pioneered a number of new processes that make it easier for other folks at the company to build and release Open Source products. What we learn from building IronRuby will be applied in other product groups to help us become more open and transparent than we have been in the past. We have a great leadership team that is willing to push the envelope on openness and transparency to create a world where both Microsoft and our customers can benefit.


IronRuby represents a beacon of change at MSFT. As does John Lam and the rest of the dynamic languages teams at MSFT.

It's time we pay better attention to what they are accomplishing.

SIDE NOTE: Question: Could any of this have been possible if it wasn't for Miguel de Icaza?

/methinks not. Prove me wrong.

12 Comments

Michael R. Bernstein
2008-05-31 20:48:30
You can't prove a negative. The burden of proof is on you.
M. David Peterson
2008-05-31 20:53:12
>> You can't prove a negative. The burden of proof is on you.


I can prove a positive: MSFT is now more open.


The burden of proof is now on you.

Josh Charles
2008-05-31 20:54:08
hmmm... right. Basically, you've asserted that credit for a project belongs to someone in which he has at best been tangentially associated with. Miguel awesome, there is no doubt about that. But why pollute this great announcement / accomplishment about IronRuby with a headline that is misleading at best ("Why" in your book seems to mean "prove me wrong")?


Why don't we say that DHH deserves the credit, since he elevated the ruby language to the point of mainstream recognition?


Or Guido van Rossum for his creation of Python?


The DLR was made for Dynamic Languages. As far as I know, Miguel has had very little to do with the promotion of Dynamic Languages, or the creation of the DLR. The mono project is even using the Microsoft implementation of the DLR.


Or perhaps you're talking about the push towards open source?


It's hard to tell what your point is here. I don't know.


M. David Peterson
2008-05-31 20:59:31
@Josh,


>> Or perhaps you're talking about the push towards open source?


Sorry. Yes, that's exactly what I mean: Miguel paved the way to MSFT being more open towards open source.


Credit Miguel for the push towards openness. Credit John Lam and company for pioneering the internal process.

Ingo
2008-06-01 00:42:48
It may be interesting to compare this project to IronPython. Both are about an open-source language being support on the CLR, yet their start and the press about them couldn't have been more different. So, what changed in the time between these two?


I would submit that what changed is that JRuby has become a successful project in the meantime, not least because of Suns involvement. Credits here go largely to Tim Bray, in my opinion.


What I would suggest is that the competition between Sun and MS also has a critical effect. Miguels and Tims efforts wouldn't have been heard if not for the competition between these two companies.

M. David Peterson
2008-06-01 09:09:39
@Ingo,


Excellent points!

Jonathan Allen
2008-06-01 09:57:12
Follow-up question: How can give credit to Miguel in the title and then not mention him at all in the article?
Ric
2008-06-01 12:27:13
We _ALL_ stand on shoulders of Giants. But I agree that whole Novel relationship is key, especially Miguel.
I would *LOVE* to see more Open at Microsoft.
M. David Peterson
2008-06-01 15:41:10
@Jonathan,


>> How can give credit to Miguel in the title and then not mention him at all in the article?


See the last two paragraphs.

M. David Peterson
2008-06-01 15:42:20
@RIc,


>> I would *LOVE* to see more Open at Microsoft.


Yup!

chromatic
2008-06-02 14:14:57
I think you may have misspelled "Jim Hugunin".
M. David Peterson
2008-06-03 07:03:40
@chromatic,


>> I think you may have misspelled "Jim Hugunin".


Ah, you're right... I need to update the title and post to be more clear regarding what I mean, and who deserves the credit for what.


Will do that now...