Forum: Ruby on Rails Is Mongrel dead?

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Bb9822d464fae561b38f87bdb60c6bb1?d=identicon&s=25 Gene Gene (tpm)
on 2009-03-12 18:19
Is Mongrel dead? When I look at http://mongrel.rubyforge.org/wiki/News
the latest news was from close to a year ago, when last version of
Mongrel was released. A look at the tickets shows a rather sad picture
with only two developers “evanweaver” and “luislavena” contributing to
the bug fixes lately.

Please understand that I am not complaining – I just want to know the
situation so that I can make intelligent decision on the long term
viability of Mongrel as an application server. I realize that it is a
community project  and if more people (including myself) would put in
more effort things would be different. However, as it stands now, I am
not able to contribute due to the lack of knowledge and time. This is a
normal case of an open source software and, as I said, I am not
complaining. Still, I would like to understand the long term
implications of using Mongrel.

I know there is Phusion aka mod_rails. However, as it stands right now,
the company is not a truly “for profit” company and relies on donations
and consulting in installing mod_rails. Amount of dollars coming in for
installation consulting is probably questionable since installation is
fairly simple. The folks behind mod_rails hit the nail on the head
however, when they introduced “Passenger Enterprise License”.  Folks
responsible for strategic long term decisions regarding technology need
to be sure that the company won’t be left high and dry when Mogrel
drowns (just look at that picture on http://mongrel.rubyforge.org/wiki -
poor Fluffy is drowining). Rails proved to be a viable framework, that
survived time test (although I would certainly prefer to see less
frequent version releases). However, I am puzzled by the lack of
interest in offering a commercial app server for Rails. There is
certainly room for such a thing. Folks like me would rather pay XYZ
dollars for a license, get phone support, etc. as oppose to  get free
Mongrel and keep my fingers crossed that new Ruby patch does not break
it to pieces like it did last year. I know that there is a number of
companies that use Rails regardless. However, the number would be bigger
if there were more commercial tools, especially servers. If you look
into Java world you will see that there is a reason why Weblogic
successfully competes with free JBoss, Tomcat, and Glassfish.

…but I digress… So is Mongrel dead? Is there a commercial app server for
Rails?

TPM

P.S. am intentionally posting this in the Rails forum as oppose to
Mongrel forum or Deployment form, because I would like to hear from a
wider audience and also let the wider audience see this thread. I think
it is very important to the Rails community as it grows and as Rails
tries to be on the par with Java and .Net in large corporations. Some
indication where Ruby / Rails are can be gleaned from here:
http://www.tiobe.com/index.php/content/paperinfo/t...
Ef3aa7f7e577ea8cd620462724ddf73b?d=identicon&s=25 Rob Biedenharn (Guest)
on 2009-03-12 19:13
(Received via mailing list)
On Mar 12, 2009, at 1:19 PM, Gene Gene wrote:
> Is Mongrel dead? When I look at http://mongrel.rubyforge.org/wiki/News
> the latest news was from close to a year ago, when last version of
> Mongrel was released. A look at the tickets shows a rather sad picture
> with only two developers “evanweaver” and “luislavena” contributing to
> the bug fixes lately.

Perhaps it is just good enough for most. Just because it isn't
changing much doesn't mean that it is dead.

> complaining. Still, I would like to understand the long term
> implications of using Mongrel.

EngineYard is still using mongrel and I have a client paying for
slices that are using mongrel so it isn't like there's no backing for
it.

> however, when they introduced “Passenger Enterprise License”.  Folks
> dollars for a license, get phone support, etc. as oppose to  get free
> Rails?
>
> TPM

I'm sure that if some held up a briefcase full of cash and asked if
anyone was willing to exchange for some mongrel patches, you'd get
some takers.  Just make sure the amount of cash is reasonable given
the kind of patch you expect to receive. ;-)

> --
Just because a company wants to pay for supported software doesn't
mean they understand the value of that software (or of OSS in general).

-Rob

Rob Biedenharn    http://agileconsultingllc.com
Rob@AgileConsultingLLC.com
4c438a80fc30661ad619ea177cf9cbd0?d=identicon&s=25 Freddy Andersen (Guest)
on 2009-03-12 19:27
(Received via mailing list)
Have a look at thin

http://code.macournoyer.com/thin/

It is easier to install and it uses the Mongrel engine as the core. I
think this is where people that used to use Mongrel moved too.
Bb9822d464fae561b38f87bdb60c6bb1?d=identicon&s=25 Gene Gene (tpm)
on 2009-03-12 19:41
Rob Biedenharn wrote:

>Perhaps it is just good enough for most. Just because it isn't
>changing much doesn't mean that it is dead.
To me it does. I bet performance can be improved, a nice UI to manage
Mongrels and view logs can be added, etc. There is a reason Apache did
not stop at 1.2. If it did, we won't be using it now. Things do get
outdated and constant improvement is necessary.

> Just because a company wants to pay for supported software doesn't
> mean they understand the value of that software (or of OSS in general).

Agreed. However, the fact of life is that companies consist of soldiers,
leutenants, colonels, generals, and politicians :) soldier might know
from experience that Rails/Mongrels is fine and his leutenant might
agree. However, when it gets to the general's level he won't know and
won't care - supplies to his troops must be guaranteed by a big corp
(IBM, MSoft, HP, Sun, ...). This way politician can say something that
sounds good to his constituents (shareholders). EngineYard is a good
company, but it's no HP/Oracle/Some_other_heavy_weight_corp. In order
for the Rails to be used at the highest corp level, there need to be
backing from another big corp. There is a reason folks use Java and .Net
to develop "ENTERPRIZE" level soft. I see how Sun is trying to get into
the game with NetBeans and Glassfish capable of running JRuby/Rails.
However, the effort seems to be just in case, kind of like MSoft's Iron
Ruby. What I would LOVE to see is for HP or Oracle to step in and offer
competition to MS/.Net and Sun/Java. I mean really back it up with a
whole stack - app server, training, consulting, etc. It won't kill the
little guys (there are plenty of Java consulting inc.'s besides the big
3), but it will get Rails to corp level for real.
Ef0db53920b243d6758c2f6b1306df0d?d=identicon&s=25 Steve Ross (cwd)
on 2009-03-12 22:02
(Received via mailing list)
On Mar 12, 2009, at 11:41 AM, Gene Gene wrote:

> Rob Biedenharn wrote:
>
>> Perhaps it is just good enough for most. Just because it isn't
>> changing much doesn't mean that it is dead.
> To me it does. I bet performance can be improved, a nice UI to manage
> Mongrels and view logs can be added, etc. There is a reason Apache did
> not stop at 1.2. If it did, we won't be using it now. Things do get
> outdated and constant improvement is necessary.

Oh, you think apache's updated UI is better?

sudo apachectl graceful

That's something mongrel should strive to achieve? It's hard to ignore
the user-friendly Apache log viewer. Pardon the sarcasm, but sometimes
the simpler the solution, the better. Thin is (to me) a slicker mongrel
that is getting some attention. If there is a problem with mongrel, it's
that some might have negative feelings about Zed's rant and connect that
with mongrel (Zed's creation).

Rack has made servers much easier to create and there are a number of
them available right now. I agree that Thin is a good drop-in
replacement
for mongrel. My limited tests show it consuming a bit less memory and
serving requests a bit faster.

> (IBM, MSoft, HP, Sun, ...). This way politician can say something that
> sounds good to his constituents (shareholders).

Shareholders don't care so long as the company's stock is trading
higher.

"Generals" who will only buy from IBM, MSFT, etc., *as you describe
them*
are unlikely to accept the terms of dealing with Rails. That said, there
are a number of large corporations with Web sites hosted on OSS. Apache
remains the leading deployment platform despite a lack of any "official"
support from the vendor. It's not IIS, but that's a GOOD THING. If your
"general" won't accept a solution built on an open source platform, that
is a good thing to know up front so you don't chase your tail. But it
really has more to do with the general than with mongrel.


> EngineYard is a good
> company, but it's no HP/Oracle/Some_other_heavy_weight_corp. In order
> for the Rails to be used at the highest corp level, there need to be
> backing from another big corp. There is a reason folks use Java
> and .Net
> to develop "ENTERPRIZE" level soft.

Yeah, playing not to lose.

> I see how Sun is trying to get into
> the game with NetBeans and Glassfish capable of running JRuby/Rails.
> However, the effort seems to be just in case, kind of like MSoft's
> Iron
> Ruby. What I would LOVE to see is for HP or Oracle to step in and
> offer
> competition to MS/.Net and Sun/Java.

They have an honest intellectual curiosity about dynamic languages,
Ruby, and Rails. They also don't want to help create a situation where
their platform becomes less relevant.

> I mean really back it up with a
> whole stack - app server, training, consulting, etc. It won't kill the
> little guys (there are plenty of Java consulting inc.'s besides the
> big
> 3), but it will get Rails to corp level for real.

Ahhhhh. So we're back to the RMM issue. If you don't have a license,
don't practice software development. That's a religious issue and if
you feel better with "certified" trained developers, then buy into the
proprietary stack. Again, you are less likely to be looking at a Rails
solution because there is no single owner of a closed technology, and
thus no accredited certifying authority that has natural credibility.

The MSFT certification program had mixed results. Naturally, because
it was a barrier to entry, some talented developers became MCSEs. But
some equally smart developers didn't. They were lost to any potential
employer who used certification as a screening tool. Worse, it was
possible to train for the certification exam, making the that a less
valuable assurance of proficiency, as the developers who adopted this
strategy were not necessarily the best and brightest.

This doesn't have anything to do with mongrel either.

Unasked-for advice: Before you hire a developer read his or her code.
Have them explain their decisions. Then trust them. If you can't sell
this upstairs, you've given up one of the strengths of OSS: The fact
that
you can read the code all the way down to the kernel if need be. And
that is the best assurance of quality I can think of.

/RANT
Ed5f3e2d77dcf44a67efa72e09e9f28f?d=identicon&s=25 Brian Cardarella (bcardarella)
on 2009-03-13 15:20
(Received via mailing list)
I don't see mongrel going anywhere any time soon. True, Passenger is
the way to go for production but for development mode mongrel is the
clear winner. Who wants to setup an Apache instance and edit config
files for every new project in development?

- Brian Cardarella

On Mar 12, 12:19 pm, Gene Gene <rails-mailing-l...@andreas-s.net>
C237cf537a06b60921c97804679e3b15?d=identicon&s=25 John Barnette (Guest)
on 2009-03-13 22:28
(Received via mailing list)
Hi,

On Mar 13, 2009, at 7:19 AM, bcardarella wrote:
> I don't see mongrel going anywhere any time soon. True, Passenger is
> the way to go for production but for development mode mongrel is the
> clear winner. Who wants to setup an Apache instance and edit config
> files for every new project in development?

If you're on Mac OS X, you might want to take a look at:
http://github.com/alloy/passengerpane


~ j.
6883e5ef03484d4fcef507d7b4f1d243?d=identicon&s=25 Matt Jones (Guest)
on 2009-03-14 01:29
(Received via mailing list)
On Mar 12, 2:41 pm, Gene Gene <rails-mailing-l...@andreas-s.net>
wrote:
> > mean they understand the value of that software (or of OSS in general).
> backing from another big corp. There is a reason folks use Java and .Net
> to develop "ENTERPRIZE" level soft. I see how Sun is trying to get into
> the game with NetBeans and Glassfish capable of running JRuby/Rails.
> However, the effort seems to be just in case, kind of like MSoft's Iron
> Ruby. What I would LOVE to see is for HP or Oracle to step in and offer
> competition to MS/.Net and Sun/Java. I mean really back it up with a
> whole stack - app server, training, consulting, etc. It won't kill the
> little guys (there are plenty of Java consulting inc.'s besides the big
> 3), but it will get Rails to corp level for real.

As you point out, there's JRuby, which I've heard some larger
"enterprise" type
stuff is running on. I've even talked to a few folks who are sneaking
Rails apps
into their otherwise Java-only infrastructure that way.

However, you'll also find that a lot of folks have come to Rails (from
Java/.Net)
specifically to get away from the enterprise crowd. To use an animal
analogy,
Rails doesn't want to compete with the big dinosaurs - it's a small
mammal,
operating according to an entirely different set of rules.

--Matt Jones
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