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A community driven project for Ruby source code to run natively on Microsoft's .NET framework has shut down, faced by progress from an official Microsoft effort.

Rather than repeat the work on Microsoft's own IronRuby, Ruby.NET is closing its doors just three months after its latest milestone release, and following an initial wave of developer buzz,.

Microsoft, meanwhile, has welcomed Ruby.NET project participants to its IronRuby project, licensed under the Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL).

John Lam, a Microsoft Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR) team programmer, said Ruby.NET project leader Wayne Kelly is "refocusing" his efforts on IronRuby.

Kelly has moved to head off suggestions Microsoft pressured him to kill Ruby.NET, which initially received funding from Microsoft Research. Ruby.NET lags IronRuby overall, but its parser is being added to Microsoft's effort.

Kelly indicated on the Ruby.NET mailing list that Ruby.NET was simply overtaken despite getting a good head start.

Last year's release of Microsoft's IronRuby had called into question Ruby.NET's "unstated goal" of heading towards a production-quality version. Kelly got on board with IronRuby following last week's Lang.NET Symposium where the projects compared progress. "I've come to the conclusion that the DLR is clearly here to stay - it's becoming an even more important part of the Microsoft platform," Kelly said.

"Whilst Ruby.NET initially had a good head start on the IronRuby project; by incorporating the Ruby.NET parser and scanner and by leveraging the DLR, I now believe that IronRuby is more likely to succeed as a production-quality implementation of Ruby on the .NET platform," Kelly said.

The DLR, unveiled by Microsoft in May 2007, adds a set of features to the .NET framework's Common Language Runtime (CLR) designed to improve the performance of scripting languages on the CLR and to also enable them to share code.

Lam, who joined Microsoft in 2006 having built the RubyCLR for Ruby applications on .NET, welcomed the end of duplicate Ruby efforts. "More people working in parallel on libraries means that folks will get a working Ruby on .NET that runs real programs sooner. And that's goodness for everyone, from the contributors who want to see their code used, to devs who want to write Ruby programs on the .NET," he said.®

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