I see Ruby as having a very bright future as a language to
be used for purposes of system administration and rapid
development of internal, non-commercial applications. Given
the fact that much of the discussion in the ruby-talk
mailing list centers on comparisons of Ruby to Perl and
Python -- rather than Java or C++ -- it would seem that
Ruby's current user community sees the language in that
light as well.

Perhaps this is just as matters ought to be. No language
should try to be everything to everyone. That said, **if**
there is a desire to see Ruby widely used by application
developers, especially those targeting international end
user communities, the following personal comments may be of
use.

I develop cross-platform applications that display and
process text in multiple natural languages, including the
East Asian ones. The optimal environment for developing such
applications is one that provides native support for UCS-2
Unicode. I've found that this is best satisfied by using
Java on a Win32 platform with either an all-Java database or
IBM's DB2 UDB with its "graphic" datatype.

Java isn't as elegant as Ruby, however. Nor is it really
suitable as a language that one can use to incrementally
transform a prototype into a production system. My wish
therefore would be that Ruby could:

(1) be rebuilt with native UCS-2 support;

(2) offer an integrated GUI competitive with Java's Swing.

Or am I off base in trying to steer Ruby in the direction of
becoming a general-purpose application development language
competitive with Java?

- Richard Schulman