Wednesday, March 26, 2008

One Last MWRC Announcement

It looks like I get to make one more announcement about this year’s MountainWest RubyConf. After writing about Gregory Brown’s Ruby mendicant idea, we started talking about what we could do to help it out. I think we came up with a great plan.

During the Conference (March 28th and 29th), we’ll take up an extra collection for Gregory, and MountainWest Ruby, LLC will match the first $500 in contributions. I don’t think it gets much better than that. If you’re coming to the conference, bring your checkbook. Oh, and if you’re not coming, you can still donate.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Sorry I’ve not updated things in a bit, I’m hanging around the fringes of the flu and trying to play nurse for my family while they all suffer through it. In the meantime, I’ve let a lot of little things pile up and need to get them off my chest.

First, I’m really excited by Gregory Brown’s new status as a Ruby Mendicant. Even better is that Ruby Central is going to match donations up to $5,000. Gregory will do a great job working for the Ruby Community. (Look for an article over on Linux Journal sometime soon with more details.)

Second, I’m very happy to announce that Ruby Central has been selected as a mentoring organization for the Google Summer of Code again in 2008. I’ll be acting as the coordinator again this year. We should have an idea page up by the end of the week, so if you’ve got ideas to share, or are interested in being a mentor or student, feel free to contact me. (If we’ve already traded email about this, look for an update from me in the next day or two.)

Third, MWRC 2008 is just around the corner. It’s bigger and better than last year, and I can’t wait. Registration has been held open until Wed. March 18th. If you’re not already signed up, this is the time.

Fourth, I’m really happy to announce that Engine Yard will be the first commercial sponsor of On Ruby. I’m a big fan of EY, and I love the things they’re doing in the community. They’re not going to have any editorial control of the blog, so don’t expect any changes unless it’s a bit more frequency in posting.

Fifth, I’ve been approached by a publisher to be a reviewer for a new book on Erlang. They’ve agreed to let me blog about the process and invite community feedback. I think this is a really cool opportunity, and I can’t wait to get things rolling. (Look for most of my posts about this to happen over at On Erlang though.)

Finally, I’m doing some reading and will be doing some reviews in the near future. The four books getting the most of my attention are:

The big question becomes which to do first. To help answer that, I’ve started a poll over in the column on the right. Let me know what you’d like to see.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Gracious Dave and MINSWAN

One of the things that I always appreciated about the ‘old Ruby community’ was the incredible level of kindness that was exhibited by most posters. MINSWAN (Matz is nice, so we are nice) was the order of the day. As the community has grown, some of that feeling has fallen by the wayside.

Recently though, I saw a wonderful return to ‘the way things used to be’. Since Zed blasted it, it seems to be in vogue to carp about The Pick-Axe book. It might not be the best Ruby book out there anymore, but a lot of people like it and keep a copy handy for the reference. When it started to come under fire in a recent discussion about The Ruby Programming Language, Dave Thomas sent this gracious reply:

I think it’s great that we now have books that suit different people. I’d encourage everyone who wants to get a Ruby book to check out David’s book (and hopefully the PickAxe too). My hope is that the variety of books will simply encourage more people to start using Ruby.

Thanks Dave, for a great example of how we can be nice, just like Matz.

Friday, March 07, 2008

EY HackFest at MWRC!

Some time ago, I told you that one of the sponsors was planning to do something pretty cool, and I think you’ll agree that they’ve done it in spades:

Engine Yard will be hosting a 24/7 Hackfest at MWRC 08’ – we’ve got a killer suite at the Hilton, expert developers of all varieties, and an open door policy. Hacking, Talking, TV watching, whatever – there’ll be good company, food and drinks, and a great space to hang. More details to follow closer to the conference – see you there…

the Engine Yard blog.

There are a lot of other great reasons to come too. But, there’s just over one week left to register.

Registration is going pretty well. We’ve registered folks from as far away as Norway and New Zealand, not to mention people from all over the USA. There are still seats left though, so if you’d like to come out and spend some time with a lot of great Rubyists don’t was any time … come on over and get your seats.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Practical Erlang Programming Mini Interview

Over on my On Erlang blog I’ve been writing about a book that O’Reilly will be publishing soon, “Practical Erlang Programming”. There’s still no official announcement, but both the editor and the authors have confirmed the book to me and have talked a bit about why they’re writing it.

Jan Henry Nystrom and Francesco Cesarini, the authors, have been kind enough to continue our discussion, and with the interest in Erlang within the Ruby community, I thought I’d post this discussion here.

One topic that a lot of people seem to be interested in is interfacing Erlang with other languages. Is this really a good idea?

Francesco Of course. You need to use the right tool for the right job. Erlang is good with server side applications, including concurrency, distribution and fault tolerance. There are, to mention but a few, instances where you need number crunching applications, layer 3 switching software, elegant graphical front-ends or client software… Then Erlang is not the right tool. Instances when we’ve interfaced Erlang to other languages in our line of work includes interfacing legacy code, third party protocol stacks and drivers.

How deeply will you be covering it?

Francesco We have a whole chapter dedicated to it, concentrating on C, Java and Ruby. It should be enough to get users started.

Henry But we will only cover the basics, and it is a topic worthy of a much larger exposure in another book. The “Hard core Erlang” book by Joel was supposed to give it much attention, which is but one of many reasons it is a pity his is not contuing the project.

Haskell has had pretty good representation at OSCon the last couple of years. Do you know if anyone submitted talks or tutorials for this year? Do you think Erlang will ever develop a presence there?

Henry I think that Erlang is one of the natural topics for OSCon. It has probably lagged a bit their since the USA is behind in the adoption of Erlang compared to Europe, a situation that I think will change dramatically over the next two years.

Francesco We submitted an Erlang tutorial proposal at OSCon, and really hope it will be accepted. I would not be at all surprised if other proposals show up, shows up as Erlang seems to be covered in all major conferences these days. Joe Armstrong is speaking at QCon in London next month, while Alexis Richardson, founder of one of the companies sponsoring RabbitMQ (An Erlang AMQP implementation) will be a track host. There will be an Erlang workshop in conjunction with ICFP in Victoria, BC in September, as well as an FP developer conference with tutorials covering most FP languages and tools, where Erlang is obviously included.

Most exciting of them all, however, is the Erlang Exchange which will take place in London the 26th and 27th of June this year. Two days filled with great Erlang presentations and tutorials. Last year, arranging something of this Magnitude anywhere other than Stockholm would not have been possible or viable.