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Oracle spurns Ruby devs for Java love

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Ruby-on-Rails, once an exciting Web 2.0 language flirted with by Sun Microsystems, has no future at Oracle.

The database giant is ending all support for RoR in the NetBeans IDE it inherited from Sun through its acquisition. Support will cease as of January 27, with the RoR module removed from development builds of NetBeans IDE 7.0.

Oracle has blamed a lack of scarce resources needed during its long march towards Java Standard Edition 7 and Java Development Kit 7 (JDK 7), outlined in the roadmap it unveiled last year.

Also, Oracle reckons not enough RoR devs are actually using NetBeans to build their apps.

NetBeans is getting put on an all-Java diet instead, according to the NetBeans team:

"A key objective of the NetBeans IDE has always been to offer superior support for the Java platform. To maintain that objective and capitalize on the JDK 7 release themes - multi-language support, developer productivity and performance - it is necessary that our engineering resources are committed to a timely and quality release of NetBeans IDE 7.0."

Ruby devs are now being called on as volunteers to re-instate RoR. The NetBeans team has "strongly encouraged" Ruby users and devs to contact them or join the NetBeans Ruby developers mailing alias.

NetBeans has always been the lesser of the two great open-source IDEs, having lived in the shadow of Eclipse for a decade thanks to Sun's ability to fumble any and all things software.

NetBeans got its first injection of RoR in 2007, just when Sun went all out for developer love. It bought into the developer-is-king idea, which said that for your platform to succeed you had to win over people building apps and middleware in vast numbers.

WThis is true; it helped Microsoft establish Windows on PCs, put Java in the enterprise and propelled PHP to become the web's de-facto programming language. But it came too late in the day for Sun. Oracle doesn't think it needs anybody's love but its own in order to succeed, and so has dispensed with the idea it might need to woo programmers using Ruby.

The RoR kill decision confirms that Oracle's vision when it comes to programming is the enterprise, and that the language for the enterprise - and its middleware and apps - is Java.

RoR, meanwhile, has failed to live up to expectations from around 2007 and 2008 that it would take over the web and kill Java. O'Reilly Media reckoned sales of its RoR books were growing second only to books about Microsoft's C#.

"It [RoR] should surpass Java as the number one language this year as it is only (9,526) units short and is on a positive 18.85% growth rate while Java continues its slide at a (14.16%) clip," O'Reilly's Mike Hendrikson wrote in 2008.

People widely translated talk of book sales into RoR the language overtaking Java. Three-years later, though, and despite Salesforce.com buying into Ruby with the acquisition of RoR host Heroku, the language still has relatively small market share, generating articles like this.

Bootnote

Voting has opened on forking and renaming the Hudson software build and monitoring service, moving it out of Oracle's control. Hudson community members have until noon-Saturday Pacific time to vote to re-name Hudson as Jenkins.

Hudson creator Kohsuke Kawaguchi blogged here that users should give their support to those who want to re-name Hudson. Oracle has said the Hudson community can only continue to use the Hudson name if they do not fork the core code. That means versions of the build and monitoring service whose core code has been modified cannot be called Hudson - Hudson's an open-source project Oracle inherited from Sun.

Kawaguchi said a new name would: "Lets us maintain the continuity of the project, it gives us legitimacy, and it sends a singal [sic] to the unaware silent majority which way they should follow. It’s the best way to maintain our community."

Regardles of the outcome, Kawaguchi called it "very unlikely" he could contribute to the Hudson project and would move on to Jenkins. ®

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