Don't let this happen to Ruby, pleeeeease?


#1

This is quite a good article I just read via a link on artima (I think).

http://www.pyrasun.com/mike/mt/archives/2005/01/09/20.57.06/

I was just thinking as I read it that it has some parallels with how I
see
“the ruby community” from the perspective of an “outsider”.

I won’t elaborate too much, needless to say I just love Ruby, and wish I
could use it in my day-to-day job (right now, any bl**dy programming
would
be good!!). I’ve read quite a bit recently that “Ruby is the next
Java”,
Java is dying etc. etc. Well good on it. And I think there are some
exceptional people, many on this list, who do a damned good job for
selfless
reasons to make it available to others.

It’s just that, well, the actual Ruby exposure on the net is a bit weak,
to
somebody like me who doesn’t have the time to read every mail on the
mailing
list. Just simple things like a roadmap of what to expect from Ruby -
what’s in the latest release for example, when’s the next one, and
what’s
planned for 1.9? When exactly IS Rite going to be available. Is the new
super-duper website ever going to be finished?

Sorry, bit of a late night rant from somebody who cares…

All the best
Glenn


#2

Glenn S. wrote:

This is quite a good article I just read via a link on artima (I think).

http://www.pyrasun.com/mike/mt/archives/2005/01/09/20.57.06/

I was just thinking as I read it that it has some parallels with how I see
“the ruby community” from the perspective of an “outsider”.

I tried reading it, but it went on and on, and seemed basically to
bemoan the Death by Committee of Groovy, a topic of only passing
interest to me.

What is the “this” you fear for Ruby?

I won’t elaborate too much, needless to say I just love Ruby, and wish I
could use it in my day-to-day job (right now, any bl**dy programming would
be good!!). I’ve read quite a bit recently that “Ruby is the next Java”,
Java is dying etc. etc. Well good on it. And I think there are some
exceptional people, many on this list, who do a damned good job for selfless
reasons to make it available to others.

Quite true.

It’s just that, well, the actual Ruby exposure on the net is a bit weak, to
somebody like me who doesn’t have the time to read every mail on the mailing
list. Just simple things like a roadmap of what to expect from Ruby -

“What to expect”? Why? Seriously. Why not focus on what Ruby does
right now? Unlike Groovy, it’s been around for over 12 years.

People interested in the future of Ruby should join the ruby-core
mailing list. Ruby’s direction is not a spectator sport.

what’s in the latest release for example, when’s the next one, and what’s
planned for 1.9? When exactly IS Rite going to be available. Is the new
super-duper website ever going to be finished?

Most of this info is available on ruby-lang.org, and in the release
notes and change logs. As for the “super-duper website”, well, it will
be done when it’s done. Same for Rite.

Ruby work gets done on a Ruby-time schedule. Many devoted volunteers
giving up their time when they can.

“Drivers wanted”, as they say.


James B.

http://www.ruby-doc.org - Ruby Help & Documentation
http://www.artima.com/rubycs/ - The Journal By & For Rubyists
http://www.rubystuff.com - The Ruby Store for Ruby Stuff
http://www.jamesbritt.com - Playing with Better Toys
http://www.30secondrule.com - Building Better Tools


#3

On 2/16/06, Glenn S. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

Sorry, bit of a late night rant from somebody who cares…

I agree, road maps are nice. Are they necessary? I dont think so.

I would prefer developers working on code and bug fixes as opposed to
writing documentation and to my way of thinking a road map falls
under documentation.

As long as the system is working, and the senior developers have matters
in hand then it doesn’t matter to me if they write status reports and
road maps.

Road maps tend to happen in very large and very well organized projects,
I think
of ones such as FireFox, Openoffice and Eclipse (all of which have
governing bodys) or
with very small projects where goals are easily defined and reached.

However road maps are not always nessisary, I believe the Linux
Kernel does not have any road map and afaik no opensource programming
language has a published road map.
Except maybe perl, but lets not talk about broken promises.

What ruby really needs is better documentation! (imo).
I believe we currently have tones of docs, and more should always be
welcome,
but I think we need to work on the quality of our existing docs a lot
more.

Something I would like to see is an easy way to give back to ruby
highlighted
in our docs and websites and more unification among all Rubys access
points
on the web.

The only thing I’ve been able to think of so far for someone such
as myself to do is to contribute to the rubygarden.org wiki and help
keep it clean
and up to date, that’s my personal goal :slight_smile: …as well as perhaps
joining a project
and contributing code, of course.

MY PERSONAL GRIPE!
Please turn this into a wiki so that we can clean it up:
http://www.rubygarden.org/faq/main/
The ruby FAQ really really needs some love.
Yes, I’m talking to you dblack :slight_smile:


#4

DÅ?a Å tvrtok 16 Február 2006 22:48 Glenn S. napísal:

This is quite a good article I just read via a link on artima (I think).

http://www.pyrasun.com/mike/mt/archives/2005/01/09/20.57.06/

I was just thinking as I read it that it has some parallels with how I see
“the ruby community” from the perspective of an “outsider”.

Not really. Different language. I took a brief look at Groovy hoping it
could
ease up a job at a Java house, and the fact it’s “almost Ruby except not
in
subtle important points the authors didn’t like” pretty much scared me
away
instantly.

Also a different phase of development. Ruby has been more or less
syntactically and otherwise stable for ages, and despite being
criticised for
lack of library availabilty, is already good enough to roll out
production-quality applications.

Groovy is completely, utterly unrelated to Ruby as far as the “life
story” and
the future is concerned.

(snip)
It’s just that, well, the actual Ruby exposure on the net is a bit weak, to
somebody like me who doesn’t have the time to read every mail on the
mailing list. Just simple things like a roadmap of what to expect from
Ruby - what’s in the latest release for example, when’s the next one, and
what’s planned for 1.9? When exactly IS Rite going to be available. Is the
new super-duper website ever going to be finished?

Reading every mail on the ML is a) unnecessary, and probably also b)
unhelpful
for the sort of questions you’re asking. Nobody does that.

What’s in the latest release? Read the release changelogs. Or look at
_why’s
“What’s Shiny and New in Ruby 1.8.0” for a subjective pick for the
attention
impaired at http://whytheluckystiff.net/articles/rubyOneEightOh.html

When’s the next release? When it’s done. Maybe it’s more of a question
to ask
on ruby-dev; maybe not. Ruby doesn’t have a regular release cycle - live
with
it.

http://eigenclass.org/hiki.rb?Changes+in+Ruby+1.9 is the first thing
google
spits out for “ruby 1.9 changes”. Nuff said. 2.0 isn’t supposed to be as
groundbreaking a change as for example Perl6 will be to Perl5, so don’t
expect to see the programming language to end all programming languages
if
you don’t see it now.

It’s very likely in my opinion that YARV will be Rite when it’s done.
Follow
up on that one, it’s not really a regular topic on ruby-talk though.

Mind you, considering the fact Ruby isn’t to my knowledge actually
supported
by any major industrial players, or at least the fact isn’t strutted
about
any. This also means there’s no marketing going on a scale comparable to
let’s say .NET that’s being spoonfed to you and forced down your every
pore.
And even despite the above, it still managed to gain a following and
presence, but it means you have to take matters into your own hands if
you
want to stay informed.

David V.


#5

On 2/16/06, James B. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

Who should write the docs, if not the people writing the code?

Linus has not written any documentation. Ok, bad example.

Developers are not always the best writers. Maybe Matz is a
Shakespear, I dunno, but it doesn’t matter, what I’m trying to say is
that writing is a skill not all developers are good at
so I would prefer them to spend their time doing (A) things they are
good at, or (B) things
I am not good at.

So who writes the code? Newbies learning ruby systems. Writing will help
them
to learn, and it will further help other newbies because most likely
many of them will stumble
over similar areas and so sharing experience is very beneficial.

I’m not trying to say this should be the law, I actually think ruby
has a good working documentation system the way it is now. I think it
could do with a lot of cleaning though,
not by developers who everything already makes perfect sense for, but
by newbies who
have a fresh view and can see where things are not being presented
clearly enough.

just my $0.02


#6

I think the key of this text is that groovy had a big community making
suggestions, but lacked leadership in terms of structure:

exemple of problems: “The big problem of course was ambiguities -
feature interactions could lead to very confusing errors”

Suggestion for what was needed: “pair up James with someone who is good
at writing specs”
“It’s time for someone to take leadership, produce a clear document
showing a
clear vision for Groovy, with a list of features that will be
implemented
and others that will be dropped. With a clear roadmap and precise
deliverables that future users can judge Groovy by and decide whether
it’s a
solid project they can rely on or just another aborted open-source
project
they can safely ignore…it takes a real “tech lead” to do this.
Someone who understands the issues but also has a clear vision, sees
the “big picture” and is not afraid to bark a few orders and do things
himself if they don’t get done.”

As far as I can tell, there has not been this kind of problems with
Ruby. Ruby’s center is fairly small and “unambiguous” and the growth
has been lead by libraries based on the core. As James has said, the
language has been around for years even in the US, so I think it is
well past the “immaturity stage” talked about in the article.


#7

Alex C. wrote:

I would prefer developers working on code and bug fixes as opposed to
writing documentation …

What ruby really needs is better documentation! (imo).

Who should write the docs, if not the people writing the code?


James B.

http://www.ruby-doc.org - Ruby Help & Documentation
http://www.artima.com/rubycs/ - The Journal By & For Rubyists


#8

Hi –

On Fri, 17 Feb 2006, Alex C. wrote:

MY PERSONAL GRIPE!
Please turn this into a wiki so that we can clean it up:
http://www.rubygarden.org/faq/main/
The ruby FAQ really really needs some love.
Yes, I’m talking to you dblack :slight_smile:

I don’t think turning something into a wiki is a way to clean it up –
rather the contrary. But a FAQ-updating effort would not be amiss. I
haven’t yet thought through exactly how one would organize it.

David


David A. Black (removed_email_address@domain.invalid)
Ruby Power and Light (http://www.rubypowerandlight.com)

“Ruby for Rails” chapters now available
from Manning Early Access Program! http://www.manning.com/books/black


#9

On 2/17/06, removed_email_address@domain.invalid removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

I don’t think turning something into a wiki is a way to clean it up –
rather the contrary. But a FAQ-updating effort would not be amiss. I
haven’t yet thought through exactly how one would organize it.

Well I hate being contradictory, but I think a wiki-faq would be
a great idea. It would require a few key elements, but the good
news is that all of key elements a wiki-faq would require are already
required by a regular faq.

You or whoever is in control of the current faq can give the document
whatever structure you like, and write down as many
Q & A as you want, then open it up to the public, other users
can then contribute by asking or answering further questions
following the general structure you’ve provided.

Questions that you dont think are very FAQ’ish can be moved
to ruby garden wiki, or just removed altogether.

Then you can export a snapshot every couple months
after a bit of clean up and post it up at ruby-lang in a
prettier format.

Why not at least consider it? It could be sort of like beta-faq.


#10

Sorry, posted my rant, then disappeared for two days!

Perhaps the problem is more complex but I’m a simpleton, I just want to
go
somewhere, download Ruby and start running it. And like most of the
world,
I want to do this on Windows.

No, hold on, let me rephrase that - I HAVE to run it on Windows, I
really
would prefer to run it on Mac OS/X (but the wife won’t let me buy a
Mac!)
:o)

So I go to the ruby website and there is the announcement: #Ruby
1.8.4released

Ooh good! I’m happy, a nice new version of Ruby to look at. Maybe I’ll
use
some of it’s new features, maybe I won’t, but I’m a “languages fan”, I
program for work and play, I like new things. I love Ruby. And so do
many
others, and so COULD many more…

Anyway, underneath it says: “The source is
URL:ftp://ftp.ruby-lang.org/pub/ruby/ruby-1.8.4.tar.gzftp://ftp.ruby-lang.org/pub/ruby/ruby-1.8.4.tar.gz,
the md5sum is bd8c2e593e1fa4b01fd98eaf016329bb, and filesize is
4,312,965
bytes.”

Well, woopy-doo. I couldn’t care less what an md5sum is (I’m only
vaguely
aware of what it means, and I’ve been using and programming PC’s over 20
years). Anyway, the link is to a tar.gz file. Which is nice - if I was
on
Unix. OK, I could extract it with Winzip - and I’ll get… the source
code.

I want a windows installer. Somebody else probably wants a Mac
installer.
Maybe an RPM for Linux flavour 1, a .DEB for flavour 2 and so on
(alright,
the Unix people can just run MAKE if they want). I don’t have much
recent
knowledge of hacking C, I just wanna use Ruby. And more, I wanna know
what’s new in this release.

Where’s the “what’s new”? Embedded in some text file on an ftp-site
somewhere, or perhaps it’s in the tar file. OK, so I know how to go
look,
but there isn’t anything even in the announcement that tells me to do
that.
What if I was a relative-newbie? A youngster looking for a fun-new
language
to teach themselves programming?

Am I asking a lot? Well pop over to python.org (and not python.com like
I
keep making the mistake of going to!) and it’s there - new release plus
a
“what’s new”, same for the previous two releases. Installers for
Windows
(32 and 64-bit!), and tar.gz’s for everybody else (maybe now Mac’s are
based
on unix it’s easy for them just to run “make”?).

Fair-do’s to Curt for his excelent one-click windows installer, but if
that
is to be the only simple method for eejits like me (and a million
others, no
doubt) then surely this warrants at the very least a mention and a
direct-link on the front-page of ruby-lang.org?


#11

I have seen the mock-ups of the new website - they sure is purrrdee.

I did a google on SCADS - top link is: “*Stamp Collectors against Dodgy
Sellers”

:o)

On 18/02/06, James B. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

keep making the mistake of going to!) and it’s there - new release plus
others, no
James B.

http://www.ruby-doc.org - Ruby Help & Documentation
http://www.artima.com/rubycs/ - The Journal By & For Rubyists
http://www.rubystuff.com - The Ruby Store for Ruby Stuff
http://www.jamesbritt.com - Playing with Better Toys
http://www.30secondrule.com - Building Better Tools

All the best
Glenn
Aylesbury, UK


#12

DÅ?a Sobota 18 Február 2006 21:48 Glenn S. napísal:

Perhaps the problem is more complex but I’m a simpleton, I just want to go
somewhere, download Ruby and start running it. And like most of the world,
I want to do this on Windows.

Noone’s stopping you.

Anyway, underneath it says: “The source is
URL:ftp://ftp.ruby-lang.org/pub/ruby/ruby-1.8.4.tar.gz<ftp://ftp.ruby-lan
g.org/pub/ruby/ruby-1.8.4.tar.gz>, the md5sum is
bd8c2e593e1fa4b01fd98eaf016329bb, and filesize is 4,312,965 bytes.”

Well, woopy-doo. I couldn’t care less what an md5sum is (I’m only vaguely
aware of what it means, and I’ve been using and programming PC’s over 20
years).

Under a fluffy, warm rock?

I want a windows installer. Somebody else probably wants a Mac installer.
Maybe an RPM for Linux flavour 1, a .DEB for flavour 2 and so on (alright,
the Unix people can just run MAKE if they want). I don’t have much recent
knowledge of hacking C, I just wanna use Ruby. And more, I wanna know
what’s new in this release.

The ruby-lang.org site doesn’t maintain binary builds. Big deal. Read
on.

Where’s the “what’s new”? Embedded in some text file on an ftp-site
somewhere, or perhaps it’s in the tar file. OK, so I know how to go look,
but there isn’t anything even in the announcement that tells me to do that.
What if I was a relative-newbie? A youngster looking for a fun-new language
to teach themselves programming?

Everyone who’s ever given more than fifteen minutes to getting an open
source
library to work knows the changelogs are bundled with the download by
convention. And since looking for “what’s new” presumes the user has
already
had “old” in hand, that’s not an issue.

Said youngster is warmly welcome to post to here, comp.lang.ruby, the
Ruby
Forum, or the irc channel. He’ll probably get all the help he asks for
and
then some. Treading forums is a survival ability gained early on in the
programmer’s life.

Truth be said, the ruby-lang website could use a minor touchup to
somehow draw
attention to the primary form of support for all things Ruby. I have
this
mild hallucination of one in the works being mentioned in a recent post
grin.

Am I asking a lot? Well pop over to python.org (and not python.com like I
keep making the mistake of going to!) and it’s there - new release plus a
“what’s new”, same for the previous two releases. Installers for Windows
(32 and 64-bit!), and tar.gz’s for everybody else (maybe now Mac’s are
based on unix it’s easy for them just to run “make”?).

Ahem. Google for "Ruby Installer’. Unsurprisingly, a site hosting a Ruby
installer for windows comes up as the first result. Case closed.

Bottom line: moan less, do more of everything else. The latter actually
gets
you somewhere, and saves my brain center for flaming some strain.

David V.


#13

Glenn S. wrote:

Sorry, posted my rant, then disappeared for two days!


direct-link on the front-page of ruby-lang.org?
There is a redesign underway (modulo the time constraints of Real Life)
of the ruby-lang homepage which, if the various comps are indicative,
should clear up some of these issues by making it easier to find stuff.


James B.

http://www.ruby-doc.org - Ruby Help & Documentation
http://www.artima.com/rubycs/ - The Journal By & For Rubyists
http://www.rubystuff.com - The Ruby Store for Ruby Stuff
http://www.jamesbritt.com - Playing with Better Toys
http://www.30secondrule.com - Building Better Tools


#14

If I represent half of Ruby’s users (other Windows users comfortably
under
the rock) then I’m not alone in my experiences. I hope similar
attitudes
don’t contribute to Ruby’s downfall.

And for what it’s worth, when was the last time you saw Windows apps say
“hey, you downloaded me, wanna check my md5wassisname?”.

On 19/02/06, David V. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

(alright,
look,
convention. And since looking for “what’s new” presumes the user has
attention to the primary form of support for all things Ruby. I have this

based on unix it’s easy for them just to run “make”?).

All the best
Glenn
Aylesbury, UK


#15

On Sun, 2006-02-19 at 22:28 +0900, Glenn S. wrote:

And for what it’s worth, when was the last time you saw Windows apps say
“hey, you downloaded me, wanna check my md5wassisname?”.

Hmm, maybe _that's_ why those guys are always complaining about viruses and trojans ...

:wink:


#16

DÅ?a Nedeľa 19 Február 2006 14:28 Glenn S. napísal:

If I represent half of Ruby’s users (other Windows users comfortably under
the rock) then I’m not alone in my experiences.

You don’t represent any significant majority of Ruby users on any
platform in
my opinion. I’m well aware there are (wannabe) Ruby users that need to
have
their hands held, or that need to be spoonfed. And there’s where we see
a
fundamental split in attitude:

Group one: they take the time to find out how to ask for help, they
contact
the community, post their problem. They get their hand held and get
information spoonfed usually as is necessary.

Group two: they bitch, whine, moan, rant, and ramble and drone over and
over
about how things are being Done Fundamentally Wrong, and things should
Be
Changed, lest everything go down in Flaming Hell. They get at best
ignored,
at worst flamed. And possibly helped once they finally get to state
their
problem in a non-insulting way.

I hope similar attitudes don’t contribute to Ruby’s downfall.

Programming languages and tools are not end-user software. Especially
the
minor ones are -not- a product, and presentation and marketing are
completely
unimportant compared to actually useful features. I could personally
live
without all the prebuilt binaries and installers in the world if it
meant
that for example YARV will be finished (in any sense of the world that
can
apply to an open-source project) sooner; and I -know- I represent at
least
half of Ruby’s users in wishing for a faster runtime. People don’t use
Python
because they like their website layout / design, most use it because
they
think it’s a good programming language. Same for Ruby, and I’m sure it’s
the
same for humongous amounts of other quality noncommercial software.

They’re intended for people that show at least -some- genuine interest,
and
mostly presume certain skills / common sense - like being able to figure
out
where to get help when stumped instead of relying on being spoonfed
constantly. It takes at most five minutes over a slow connection of
clicking
around to figure that out on the ruby-lang website, hopefully much less
after
the revamp, and at most 30 seconds for anyone with mediocre google
skills to
get the basic points right.

Ruby will not go boom because of failing to attract users incapable /
unwilling of putting as much effort as clicking on “downloads” on the
website
to find out about how to get a distribution of the language.

And for what it’s worth, when was the last time you saw Windows apps say
“hey, you downloaded me, wanna check my md5wassisname?”.

Windows convention - whatever the author chooses. A lot of Windows
installer
systems check the integrity of the self-extracting archive on
installation,
by the way. *nix places this at your option by default instead of hiding
what’s happening from you. The fact they’re provided does NOT say “check
me,
check me, CHECK ME!” or anything along those lines.

Oh yes, and for completeness’ sake, MySQL provides MD5 signatures with
its
Windows downloads. I’m sure quite a few other software projects too.

Noone’s forcing you to check checksums of files you download, it’s
provided
for your or anyone’s convenience - if you are for example using an
unreliable
network, or are paranoid, or whatever reason people that check download
checksums do so. You don’t know what MD5sums are? Ignore them. You don’t
think they’re useful for you? Ignore them. I think you get the picture.

David V.


#17

David - we can start a flame war, all rather pointless and doesn’t do
you or
I or anybody else any favours. Or we can simply agree to shake hands
and
have a “virtual” beer.

I prefer the latter.

I’m not a Ruby expert by any means. Nor am I a Unix expert. I adore
Ruby
and if I had my way I would program in nothing but. I also think it’s
got a
great community of people who generally are very helpful (they have been
to
me in the past) and long may it continue.
My work life as a programmer often forces me down the path of “what the
company tells me to do”, using the tools they dictate. I’m about to
start a
project using Java (previous experience has been largely VB and PL/SQL).
I
spent quite a while last year developing a website demo in Ruby On Rails

it worked really well, the customer was pleased, I thoroughly enjoyed
myself. And so now we are going to write it for real… in Java.

I think you’ve taken by initial post on this thread to be a real moan,
when
what I was really trying to do was simply put forward one user’s
perspective
(ie. mine) of how Ruby was being presented to potential users. For what
it’s worth, I think your point “Programming languages and tools are not
end-user software.” is quite wrong. Compilers and editors and tools and
so
on are just designed for a different class of “end user”. They still
need
to be marketed, documented, and easy to use. It’s hard enough learning
the
semantics of the language without having to fight the
compiler/interpreter
too.
Anyway, I was just making constructive criticism. And hell yeh, I’d
love to
spend time helping out the community, but right now I don’t have that
time
(anybody with two young children and a demanding wife will
understand!!).

I see quite often articles where it’s suggested that Ruby could be the
new
Java. Great, I hope it happens. Yet when I scratch the surface I don’t
really see how that could happen right now. If anything I see it as
being
more “the new Perl”. Unless a company really gets behind Ruby in some
way
and markets it, which right now doesn’t appear to be the case (shame!).

For what it’s worth, I do know what checksums are, I was just making the
point that the fact that it was provided was one of the few useful bits
of
info about the 1.8.4 announcement, and even then it wasn’t really useful
to
ME. Maybe I should start using them - so which tool should I use under
Windows?

On a lighter point, can anybody explain to me how Ruby is being
developed? I
mean, who by? Is it mainly happening in Japan still?

Finally, don’t be to harsh on newbies like me. We all use computers
differently, we all have talents and failings, we all have our skills
and
weaknesses. Some days I can make Windows do tricks even I can’t
believe,
but then I can barely log on to Unix!!

Perhaps I should put on my fire-retardant suit now…

On 19/02/06, David V. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

have
about how things are being Done Fundamentally Wrong, and things should Be
completely
same for humongous amounts of other quality noncommercial software.
the revamp, and at most 30 seconds for anyone with mediocre google skills

Oh yes, and for completeness’ sake, MySQL provides MD5 signatures with its

David V.

All the best
Glenn
Aylesbury, UK


#18

Glenn S. wrote:

I see quite often articles where it’s suggested that Ruby could be the new
Java. Great, I hope it happens.

Be careful what you wish for.

:slight_smile:


James B.

“In physics the truth is rarely perfectly clear, and that is certainly
universally the case in human affairs. Hence, what is not surrounded
by
uncertainty cannot be the truth.”

  • R. Feynman

#19

Glenn S. wrote:

If I represent half of Ruby’s users (other Windows users comfortably under
the rock) then I’m not alone in my experiences.

I don’t think your experiences are representative of that large a group,
but I also don’t think the numbers matter all that much.

There is a well-constructed (thanks, Curt!) Windows installer for
Ruby, so the larger issue may be to make it easier to find.

The Ruby home page should have clearly marked links for source code,
docs, pre-built binaries, “What’s New”, and so on.

That these things may be lacking in one way or another is not a
reflection of anyone’s attitude (indeed, the great strides in Ruby
availability and popularity suggest the overall attitude is quite good),
but more a matter of time and resources. It’s not that anyone is
indifferent or unaware, but just plain busy. (And keep in mind that
the opportunity to effect change is in the hands of everyone reading
this post. If you don’t like the Ruby home page, and are dissatisfied
with waiting for a new one, design one yourself. Code talks, bullshit
walks. So to speak.)

Of course, community attitudes can change, and if the people on this
list stop being embracing and helpful, and start belittling people for
being less skilled, less experienced, or less informed, then Ruby will
suffer.


James B.

“Blanket statements are over-rated”


#20

On Feb 19, 2006, at 11:17, Glenn S. wrote:

David - we can start a flame war, all rather pointless and doesn’t do
you or
I or anybody else any favours. Or we can simply agree to shake hands
and
have a “virtual” beer.

Or you could ignore him. I certainly found comments like “It takes at
most five minutes over a slow connection of clicking around to figure
that out on the ruby-lang website, hopefully much less after
the revamp, and at most 30 seconds for anyone with mediocre google
skills to get the basic points right.” to be not only annoyingly
condescending, but quite opposite of my experience, which seems to
involve spending a lot of time finding documentation misplaced,
dreadfully obscure, or just plain missing, and discovering new and
different ways for those oh-so-easy installers to fail.

I think he’s probably wrong in believing that “You don’t represent any
significant majority of Ruby users on any platform in my opinion.” You
certainly are representing my opinions pretty accurately. On the other
hand, if he’s right, then Ruby might well be going down the
incoherent-and-eventually-irrelevant path. I see there being a danger
of that, but I don’t think it’s at all inevitable, yet, thank goodness.

I think you’ve taken by initial post on this thread to be a real moan,
when
what I was really trying to do was simply put forward one user’s
perspective
(ie. mine) of how Ruby was being presented to potential users. For
what
it’s worth, I think your point “Programming languages and tools are not
end-user software.” is quite wrong.

I agree. I have and use Ruby because I want to build programs and tools
for myself…in Ruby. The time I spend having to poop around with
recompiling Ruby, reinstalling Ruby, re-downloading source for Ruby,
debugging Ruby’s installers, is wasted time. I wasted something like
three or four hours trying to get readline support working with irb,
IIRC.

The only installer tool I’ve used for Ruby or Ruby-related material
that has NOT errored out or installed something incorrectly
is…Apple’s standard OSX installer. Unfortunately, as far as I can
tell, right now, only Ruby 1.8.2 is available in that installer. OTOH,
it includes Readline, Gems, Rails, TclTk, and the RI documentation (and
not just all using the same installer, but in the same package! Woo
hoo!), so I may just revert backwards to it, since Gem/Rails has not
yet installed correctly in three tries (one of those tries was on a
brand-new freshly installed OSX 10.3, no less), I have to install Ruby
and Readline by downloading and compiling source (the instructions for
using CVS for that failed on the second command), Rails with Gem, and
and I still have no idea why RDoc has completely failed to document
any of the core material. I’ve read over the stuff that came with the
source code, and done what it told me, and still, trying to get
information on, say, “Array” just gets me some useless chit-chat about
something called YARV.

I’m sure if I spent more time not trying to actually get work done, I
could get that fixed, by asking questions here. But I have a copy of
Pickaxe, so I just use that. If I have to spend time working on my car
instead of driving to work, then my car isn’t very good. If I have to
spend time working on my computer instead of using it to get work done,
then my computer’s not very good. And if I have to spend time sending
messages to Ruby-Talk trying to find out how to get Ruby to work
instead of programming, then Ruby’s not very good.

I’ll tell friends who are programmers about Ruby, but I haven’t yet
recommended it to anybody. It’s too unstable, too undocumented, too
hard to use. It’s too young. I’ve completely shelved any Rails
development because hours of searching, and an inquiry posted here,
have revealed the absence of critical documentation for database
design. I just don’t have the time to join a whole new mailing list and
see if I can coax somebody to document exactly what all of Rails’
assumptions about the underlying database are. I’ve already been much
the same thing with RubyCocoa, and now THAT is actually working as
expected, and I’m getting things out that work, so I’m just going to
stick with the system I’ve got that’s running, and put off projects
that want Rails as long as possible, and hope it’s more mature when I
come back around to looking at it.

I think the biggest difference between Ruby and Groovy is that there’s
somebody who “owns” Ruby and is still actively (and effectively!)
involved: Matz. I do wish Ruby were a bit more specific. Parentheses
are sometimes but not always optional, and the like. (shudder) But it
seems to be headed in the right direction, and hopefully it won’t be
too long before the amount of time one must spend working ON Ruby
instead of working WITH Ruby drops to nearly nothing.

I also agree with you, Glenn, in that I don’t think these problems are
fundamental problems with Ruby itself, or its tools, or its community.
The problem is with people who don’t recognize or admit that these ARE
problems, and would try to deny or excuse them. These issues can be,
and are being, resolved, but only as long as they’re recognized as
issues that NEED to be resolved.

Pointing out weaknesses in something to its fan base doesn’t always
make you friends, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing. Thanks,
Glenn; hopefully your observations will help Ruby grow even stronger.