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s.ross wrote:

| Sun (apparently) benefits when the Java runtime is distributed. All the
| hardware vendors benefit when more applications are written for their
| platforms. When I say these vendors have embraced Ruby, what I really
| mean is that they've latched onto Rails. They see the benefit of Rails
| and how people deploying more applications is a path to selling more
| platforms (either OS or hardware). Right now, there are fewer good Ruby
| programmers available than most other segments of the programming
| community. Good developers tend to be good learners, and the better the
| material, the more quickly they can learn. More programmers implies more
| applications, which may mean more indirect sales for IBM, Sun, etc. So,
| while they are not selling proprietary Ruby runtimes, there are many
| companies who profit if the people who write Rails apps can "speak the
| language," as it were.

Sun brought the JRuby project into its fold Java fold after it had
proven that it was viable. Without the docs. Same for IronRuby: MS
brought IronRuby into the .NET fold after it had proven itself capable
(and after Sun started to support JRuby, too).

To MS and Sun Ruby is a tool to sell *their* services, to lock you into
*their* platforms.

Don't think that corporations act out of the goodness of their hearts,
especially not publicly traded companies like MSFT and JAVA.

To these companies, open source, and open source projects, mean
outsourcing of development, and minimizing the risks they face, since
next to none of their developers are tied up in something that might
turn out to be a bust (Ruby is far, far from being a major player).

And what does that have with documentation: Nothing. As far as I can
see, there is little to no contribution by the JRuby or IronRuby project
to contribute to the documentation. And that isn't their scope, either.

And as far as documentation goes: Sun, Java, IBM, etc. are not
interested in supplying documentation. Why should they? We all picked up
Ruby with less than satisfactory documentation already. Why should they
infest money in something, that stops weeding the grain from the chaff?
When they get to pick those who have *shown* that they can dig into Ruby
without help?

Besides, why should Sun, MS, IBM, Oracle sink money into something, that
The Pragmatic Bookshelf, O'Reilly, and Addison-Wesley already provide?

Who here doesn't have either A) Programming Ruby, B) The Ruby
Programming Language, C) The Ruby Way, D) all of the above?

And why should we, as people who's skills are in high demand destroy our
own market by supplying good documentation? If Ruby and Rails skills are
in short supply, I'll see to it that I can extract as much money out of
clients as is possible. Especially because I *can* demand that much
money, because I *am* that much more productive in Ruby than in other
languages. It is illogical for me to destroy my own income.

However, I am illogical, and want a good documentation across the board,
because I think that not the language and its documentation matters, in
the end, but what is between my ears.

Still, no corporation has a particular incentive to provide
documentation if it costs them money.

Heck, they only need to get those of us into their boat, that are
already there. They don't need to actively increase the pool of Ruby
programmers, when we do the marketing much more effectively (who's
trustworthier: Sun's Ruby Evangelist on CNET, or you, when you talk to
friends how awesome Ruby is, because you can do all kinds of nifty stuff
with it?).

|> Sun, IBM, etc. profit by providing tools to developers. However, only
|> indirectly, since the runtimes, connectors, or IDEs offered are open
|> source, and not directly sold, or the projects were acquired to benefit
|> the core business (.NET/Java in case of MS/Sun, DB2 in case of Java).
|>
|> And the Rails hosters? How do they profit from a better Ruby
|> documentation? They only have to care about Rails' API, and the Rails
|> blogosphere covers that, too (see Railscasts, for example). These folk
|> care about easy hosting of Ruby. And IronRuby or JRuby make that easier,
|> as well as the new mod_rails by Phusion will help in that area, too.
|
| I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one. Rails
| hosters do not benefit from managing servers in a constant state of
| meltdown from rogue Ruby processes. Is this the fault of the
| documentation? I don't think so, but again, I believe it's possible to
| convince yourself you can write a Rails application without grokking
| much of Ruby.

Damn straight it is possible. It doesn't produce good apps, but since
when did quality matter? PhpBB2, anyone? NukePHP?

Sure, for good Rails apps that go beyond the CRUD application, you need
programming skills that go beyond has_many :through.

But don't overestimate the power of Ruby, compared to Rails abilities to
shield its users from writing more Ruby than is needed to get the job done.

Heck, with Rails plugin system, there is no need to write a particular
piece of code, unless on has to!

The work has already been done, and continues to be done, by the OSS
community. Why sink money into that? Why provide something for the
community, when the community puts up with (self-inflicted) abuse?

Why? It only costs them money and resources, they can spend on making
their core business attractive to us.

And know what: JRuby enables me to use the *existing* Java
infrastructure. To use the *existing* JRE and leverage Sun's *already
existing* investment.

JRuby helps sell Sun SPARC servers, and *that* is what interests Sun.
Not that Ruby is so much better than Java. It's a tool to give folk a
taste of the Java stack.

The same goes for IronRuby and IronPython.

And I love the irony that we are doing that ourselves. That we have this
adorable naivety, that Ruby matters because it is better.

I'm making myself a victim of Sun, MS, IBM, and Oracle. Again. And
again. But hey, Ruby makes for a very good carrot, doesn't it?

And hosters want to solve the hosting problem, not the documentation
problem. And, if possible, they only want to solve it for themselves.
Heck, with an unsolved hosting problem on the market, and demanding a
viable 200 USD per slice per month, a certain corporation recoups the
costs they have to invest handily, by solving that problem for
themselves, and getting a reputation for being the most stable host
among dozens for unstable ones. A Unique Selling Proposition handed to
them by DHH and the Rails community. Ain't live grand?

- --
Phillip Gawlowski
Twitter: twitter.com/cynicalryan

~ - You know you've been hacking too long when...
...you want to wash your hair and think:  awk -F"/neck" '{ print $1 }' |
shower
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