To me, one of the highlights of RubyConf 2006 was the implementers summit we held. The idea was that we'd grab a quick dinner together, eat and chat, then sit down to some serious discussion of what it means to implement Ruby and how to get the various projects working together.
We had a number of people attend: Paul Brannan, Nathaniel Talbott (Test::Unit), Charles Nutter (JRuby), Evan Phoenix (rubinius), John Lam (RubyCLR), Nick Sieger, Devlin Daley, Kevin Tew (cardinal), matz (Ruby), Koichi (YARV), Eric Hodel (metaruby), Tim Bray (not pictured), Zed Shaw (RFuzz, not pictured), Ryan Davis (not pictured, metaruby), and I. There are five people in the photo who hung out to listen, Cease Larry and Doug Tolton came in from Utah, and I know another is Jack Wohr (from Dr. Dobbs) — if you can identify the others, please, let me know.
Since this was the first time we've tried something like this, a lot of the discussion was centered around "What kind of problems are you having?" and "How are you dealing with that?". This actually proved very useful in pointing out common ground for the more valuable (to me at least) part of the discussion. How the various projects could work together. (You can see an (ugly) pile of notes at wiki.rubygarden.org/Ruby/page/show/RubyImplemntersSummit2006Nov.)
There were a couple of specific tasks that came out of the meeting. First, there was consensus around the need for a 1.8.5+ spec that the various groups can work against. Charles Nutter has already put together a Wiki (and matz has already contributed to it), but it's down due to hardware problem at the moment.
The second task was to build a common testing suite. Ryan and Eric are contributing their BFTS code and tests, which Kevin and Evan are moving into the rubytests project at Rubyforge. The other projects will all add their own tests into this new repository. I'll also be adding Legion to it, and Zed will be helping build a fuzzing framework for the implementations to share.
We also agreed to hold more of these summits going forward. I'm hoping we'll see them as a semi-annual event.
**Doug Tolton has identified himself (and corrected my spelling of Ceaser's name.**