Robert Dober wrote:
> oops I stepped on your feet, did I?
> Did the JVM speed up so much or is my reference rotten, I am going to look
> it up when back on work.
> Forgive my ignorance I should have put a question mark behind my statement
> but that holds for too many a things we think to know :(
> If the JVM has become that fast a Smalltalk VM should be able to become 
> even
> faster I guess.

See my comments and links on performance further down...

> 
> I really dislike Java but even as biased as I am I recon JRuby must be a
> hell of a project and very important for the community.
> It is also my last trump when discussing Ruby with Java affacinados and it
> is a very high trump.

It's important not to think of JRuby in terms of Java, especially if 
you're a Rubyist or someone who dislikes Java. JRuby is Ruby, just on 
another VM and implemented under the covers in a different language. 
Don't equate JRuby and Java.

> 
> But the motivation for JRuby holds for SmallRuby and looking at both
> languages (J&S) Smalltalk seems to fit better. Now even the greates
> Smalltalk fan ( and I am not ) could not immagine that a Smallruby would
> ever have the usage of JRuby.

The motivations for JRuby go well beyond those for a SmallRuby, largely 
because not only could it potentially be a "better Ruby" in some ways, 
but it would be a Ruby that could leverage the entire Java platform, now 
GPL and freely available. So there's two ways to think about JRuby: as 
an alternative implementation of Ruby and as an alternative language for 
the Java platform. Last I checked, there were still quite a few Java 
shops around :)

> 
> If Smalltalk will survive it will so in a niche I guess, it would be
> wounderful if Ruby could exist in that niche, would it not?

I think Ruby has the potential to be a "friendlier" Smalltalk, friendly 
enough that it could be Smalltalk design principals to a much wider 
development world. Ruby has taken the many of the best features of 
Smalltalk (and Lisp, and a few others) and made them usable in a 
friendly, fun context. That's no small feat.

> And Squeak is far from being one of the fastest
>> incarnations.
> 
> 
> That I have heard too, but I did only intent to use Squeak as a FE (and BE
> too buit one could use any VM).

Here's a quick alioth shootout comparing VisualWorks Smalltalk (they 
claim it's comparable to Strongtalk) versus "Java JDK -server", whatever 
that is. Java comes out well ahead on almost every benchmark in terms of 
both performance AND memory use. I believe

http://shootout.alioth.debian.org/gp4/benchmark.php?test=all&lang=vw&lang2=java

Also versus GST Smalltalk (I'm not famiiar with it). Again Java comes 
out well ahead:

http://shootout.alioth.debian.org/gp4/benchmark.php?test=all&lang=gst&lang2=java

It's also very important to remember that the technologies in Strongtalk 
and Self live on in HotSpot; so it's not far off to say that Smalltalk 
technology is in play today to make Java run faster. If we can find good 
ways to leverage that technology from JRuby (and other dynlang impls) we 
may achieve what Parrot is still working on: a world-class VM for many 
dynamic languages.

-- 
Charles Oliver Nutter, JRuby Core Developer
Blogging on Ruby and Java @ headius.blogspot.com
Help spec out Ruby today! @ www.headius.com/rubyspec
headius / headius.com -- charles.nutter / sun.com