Lloyd Linklater wrote:
> Java's speed comes largely from its pre-compiling.  It was quite slow in 
> the early days.  Is Ruby likely to get such a boon in the foreseeable 
> future?  That would certainly be something that pointy haired managers 
> could boldly hold forth in meetings for consideration.

Um, no.  Java's speed comes principally from
a) its non-object numeric types, and
b) from sophisticated VMs that do adaptive optimization (see Sun HotSpot 
Server VM)

If by precompiling you mean compiling to bytecode then, no, this won't 
of itself give great speed.  Java as always compiled to bytecode but the 
early Sun reference VM - a bytecode interpreter - was still slow.  It's 
easy to write slow bytecode interpreters.  YARV for Ruby is currently 
also a slow bytecode interpreter.

If you want to understand how Ruby can be made to run fast I recommend 
reading about the Strongtalk VM and reading Urs Hölzle's thesis,
"Adaptive Optimization for Self: Reconciling High
  Performance with Exploratory Programming",
available on the web as
     http://www.cs.ucsb.edu/labs/oocsb/papers/urs-thesis.html
     http://www.cs.ucsb.edu/labs/oocsb/papers/hoelzle-thesis.pdf

HTH
-- 
The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in      Calvin &
the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.       Hobbes.
--
Eliot     ,,,^..^,,,    Smalltalk - scene not herd