[MacRuby-devel] A Future for MacRuby

Rich Morin rdm at cfcl.com
Wed Dec 21 06:57:12 PST 2011

Apple has funded Laurent's work on MacRuby for quite a
while.  Jordan has played a major role in this project
(and a number of other Open Source projects :-) and I'm
sure he is working to keep the effort going.  However,
he can't make any promises.  Specifically:

  "We don't comment on future product plans."

We also have, as a data point, the fact that Laurent isn't
the only committer these days.  This indicates that Apple
really IS open to outside participation on the project.

Apple will continue funding work on MacRuby as long as
there are things that need to be done that will benefit
Apple.  That is, Apple is not a charity, though they do
many good things for the community.

Open Source projects which have a single, dominant sponsor
frequently have trouble getting others to volunteer.  For
example, look at http://opensource.apple.com.  Many of the
projects listed there are used by others; few (AFAIK) are
worked on by many contributors outside of Apple.

Much of this has to do with perceptions, eg:

  "<the sponsor> doesn't need my efforts."
  "<the sponsor> wouldn't accept my changes"

However, when Jordan asks for folks to jump in and help,
he's being quite sincere.  MacRuby needs many things that
Apple will not (and in some cases, cannot) provide.  The
content of this mailing list is an obvious example.  So,
an active community of outside developers is critical to
MacRuby's future as a "real" Open Source project.

The notion of a Kickstarter project is interesting.  If
enough of us want something developed (eg, HotterCocoa),
and someone can make a strong case that they can do it,
we might be able to fund a useful effort.

However, we should be cautious not to make folks think
that the only reason for contributing code is to make

http://www.cfcl.com/rdm            Rich Morin
http://www.cfcl.com/rdm/resume     rdm at cfcl.com
http://www.cfcl.com/rdm/weblog     +1 650-873-7841

Software system design, development, and documentation

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