Rubinius Status

Hey folks, sorry for the quietness here. Thought I’d fill everyone in on the current status of Rubinius.

We (the Rubinius team) have been hard at work on a couple of fronts:

  • a new C++ VM: the team has been hard at work getting a new VM up and running back to the level we had the old system at. Our output has slowed to a little bit as the rest of the team has gotten up to speed on this new code base. Now, I’m sure you’re wondering why we’ve begun working on a new VM. Well, there are a few reasons:

    • Better organized. We’ve learned a lot in the building of the last VM about how to structure things. For instance, using C++ lets us model Ruby classes as C++ classes, providing the VM with the same familiar structure and execution as their Ruby counterparts. This lowers the barrier for understanding and using the code base.
    • Better tested. The old VM, I’m ashamed to say, had no unit tests. From day one of the new VM, we’ve been writing unit and integration tests. This has helped us a lot to keep the code base under control, as everyone who writes unit tests knows.
    • More potential. One of the big changes is keep a lot of parts of the system open. For example, we’re actively experimenting with using LLVM to speed up method execution a lot. The old code base, with no tests, was quite tangled and sadly didn’t provide any easy way forward for a lot of experiments we wanted to do
  • We’ve been working a lot of Ryan Davis’s ruby_parser project lately. We’re actively looking to use that code base as Rubinius’ internal parser. This is towards our goal of more Ruby code, but as anyone who’s written a parser will tell ya, it can be a real pain.
    Ryan has made great progress getting it working and integrating it with Rubinius’ Compiler.
  • Conferences: Wilson Bilkovich was just in Berlin, talking technical about Rubinius at RailsConf Europe. I’m here in Austin, at Lone Star Ruby Conf, finishing up my keynote that I’ll be giving later today.
    The whole team will be at RubyConf in November as well, and a few are likely going to OOPSLA as well.

I know that a lot of people are eagerly anticipating Rubinius, and I want to thank you all for your patience with me and the rest of the team.

This is a dream project, and turns out to be pretty darn hard and a lot of work. I’ve made the mistake in the past about talking about when I think that we’ll release 1.0. Something I don’t think I properly understood a year ago was the level that people are looking for a 1.0 to operate at. If we released a 1.0 that was 10x slower than MRI, we’d probably be in pretty tough shape.

At the some time, I know people want to play with Rubinius. We fell off doing monthly releases a while back, and we’re going to start getting back on that soon. Hopefully that will give people insight into the project’s progress more.

Again, thanks to Engine Yard and everyone else for wonderful support.

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