In another piece of big news today, salesforce is announcing that Yukihiro Matsumoto, the creator of Ruby, is joining Heroku in the newly created role of Chief Architect of Ruby. A self-taught computer programmer, Yukihiro Matsumoto or “Matz,” as he is known in the community, graduated with a degree in information science from Tsukuba University, where he was a member of Ikuo Nakata’s research lab on programming languages and compilers. He then went on to create Ruby in the mid 1990s. Since then Ruby has gone on to become seemingly the language of choice for agile new startups (perhaps a slight exaggeration there – there’s still a bunch of stuff written in other languages – but Ruby does seem to have more than its fair share of hot internet properties).
Byron Sebastien, GM of Platform at salesforce (and who I interviewed a couple of weeks ago) expressed commitment for the continuation of the development of Ruby as an open language. He said that;
As a member of our platform development team, Matsumoto-san will continue his work on the Ruby language in close collaboration with the Ruby community, keeping the language open and advancing the technology in exciting new ways. Matz will further accelerate innovation for Ruby and make it even friendlier for developers to build world-class apps
Matsumoto will continue his work as research fellow of the Network Applied Communication Laboratory, an open source systems integrator company in Shimane Prefecture, Japan. He will also retain his position as fellow at Rakuten Institute of Technology, an R&D organization affiliated with Rakuten, Japan’s largest e-commerce company. According to Matz, the justification for this move (that many in the Ruby community might feel particularly uneasy about) is that he;
…decided to join Heroku because they are committed to openness and developing Ruby further, I want to make the Ruby development experience even richer, more natural and more productive than ever for all Ruby developers
Ruby really has got amazing traction – since its public release in 1995, it has spawned a large and rapidly growing following and ecosystem of Ruby-based, complementary technologies. It also boasts usage by a million developers worldwide, and runs many of the world’s most popular brands, from Comcast and Best Buy to AT&T’s Yellow pages, Hulu, and Twitter.
This is an interesting move for salesforce and Heroku, especially since they’re broadening the Heroku franchise beyond just Ruby. It will be very interesting to see the reaction from the Ruby community to this news.