Microsoft, Ruby, and War

In response to a post by Don Box complimenting Ruby, Patrick Logan says: "If Microsoft looks at Ruby as competition> then Microsoft has already lost the war."

I take two possible meanings from Logan's post:

  1. If Microsoft thinks Ruby is important, they're ignoring the threat to them posed by X (where, I suspect, X = LISP), or
  2. If Microsoft thinks Ruby is competition, they will not implement it and therefore be doomed

Not long ago, Microsoft posted a job opening for a developer "continuations, which are not modeled within the CLR. This isn't just laziness on the part of langauge implementors. The CLR presents a machine architecture different than the wide-open architecture in which most compiler experience has been gathered. The CLR architecture is safer, but more restrictive, when it comes to manipulating the stack, which is central to continuations. It may be that the CLR will one day gain continuations. It may be that continuations can be implemented using exceptions. Or there may be other clever ways to implement continuations. Or maybe not.

In my opinion, to "cross the chasm" Ruby needs either:

  • implementation on at least one of the two major managed environments; or
  • a native-code implementation combined with a killer, fully-supported IDE

Of course, "and" would be better.