In message <08RHd.11293$Vj3.3503 / newssvr17.news.prodigy.com>, Thursday
<nospam / nospam.nospam.nospam.nospam.org> writes
>As a former user of a Commodore computer, have you already forgotten
>about how the then-excellent Amiga fared on its merits in the 90s?
>Preemptive multitasking, 4096 colors, great sound, sprites, etc. vs the
>PC running MSDOS + Windows 3.1 in 256 colors...  Amiga got its ass
>kicked.

I remember the 1980s, not sure about the 1990s. In the 1990s it gots its
ass kicked for one reason. Versus the Atari ST, it was overpriced. Jack
Tramiel got the pricing right and the ST ruled. I'd love to have had an
Amiga. I just could not afford one.

I don't remember the ST or the Amiga featuring much in the 1990s - the
PC had started to get sufficiently cheap for people to be interested in
that. That said, the last computer game I wrote was for the Atari ST and
the 80286 AT in 1988. I lost interest in games after that - I had
embedded systems and Unix boxes to play with. This may explain my lack
of recollection for that era.

>Sadly, branding, marketing, company reputation, momentum and
>perception can have a lot more to do with how a product/technology fares
>than actual merits...I sincerely wish I was wrong about this but there are
>too many examples that prove this to be true.

I agree. However my comment was more the case of I've seen very few
arguments against Ruby that seem to hold much water (hence I think it
will succeed on its merits). I've just found out why blocks are useful -
nice idea (I only got my pickaxe book yesterday).

The ArachnoRuby people and Software Verification are both commercial
companies providing software tools for Ruby. This must help - visitors
to their websites looking for tools for one language will notices the
tools for the other languages.

I can't say much about ArachnoRuby, but Software Verification get people
visiting them for C++ tools etc, and people see other tools for Python
and Ruby. That alone is causing interest. I'd expect the same is true of
the people that go looking for ArachnoPerl or ArachnoPython.

The actual language, well people seem to really get it, once they get
it. I've typically always written a C++ GUI app for any scripting type
application - I've never liked Perl (my Perl book is still unread),
Python seems good, but I hate the stupid errors you get from that
appalling indentation scheme. Ruby looks interesting, I've bought the
Pragmatic Pick Axe book and like what I've seen so far.

A Ruby to Binary executable is all you need (if it doesn't already
exist) and those afraid of (but they'll see my source) will have no
reason to fear Ruby.

I think if Ruby was promoted more on Windows you'd get more mileage.
I've been a Linux user since 1994 and Unix guy since 1990. In 1996 I
started working on Windows and seem to have been there ever since. Thats
just the way your career goes. I was a rabid anti-MS person until I
started using MSDN. The quality of the documentation and sheer volume of
resources - its very good. I digress. There are a lot more people
writing software on Windows platforms - you need to somehow attract them
- I get the impression that this newsgroup is mainly Linux users.

Windows platforms - many people resort to batch files or if they know
better, Perl or Python.

Also, Ruby seems easy to learn. It would be a good language to start
with - so again you've got a much larger audience with Windows.

Changing tack slightly. In the embedded space, Linux is the rising star
- I don't see that changing, no one is going to spend on Windows CE or
Windows XP embedded licensing fees. If Ruby was made more robust you
could become a useful embedded scripting language.

More Robust:
        When calling Ruby from C, none of the Ruby functions should call
        exit (or ExitProcess, etc) for any reason. If there is an error
it
        should be handled with an error code or an exception, whichever
        is appropriate.

        Have done some embedded work with Ruby, it is not a pleasant
        experience from the C API. Some Ruby calls deliberately call
        exit() - hence you have to code your way around them. Other
calls
        just seem to crash if you have wrong arguments, rather than
        gracefully return with an error code.

        Either way I fixed up what I needed and can't remember what the
        problems were other than I found a way around them (which is
        what was needed as my task was to work with the current
        distribution, not require customers to fix their distribution).

Well, I've written far more than I expected to.
Summary:
        Ruby -> Executable.
        Encourage use by Windows users (even if you dislike Windows).
        Make more robust and thus suitable for embedded space.

Stephen
-- 
Stephen Kellett
Object Media Limited    http://www.objmedia.demon.co.uk
RSI Information:        http://www.objmedia.demon.co.uk/rsi.html