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chromatic (983)

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Sunday July 20, 2008
11:48 PM

They Call This a Softball Question in Interviews

[ #36968 ]

Recently there has been a feeling of growing discontent: how could Ruby — which felt so new and liberating two years ago — get saddled with so much negative baggage, so quickly?

Pete Forde, We are RubyFringe

Take your pick of the aggressively dismissive attitude toward other approaches, vigorous and self-congratulatory messianic zeal, egocentric and deliberate misunderstanding of the rest of the world of software development, verbose and willful discussion of, despite baffling ignorance of, other programming languages, misunderstanding of MVC and the Active Record pattern, booing Dave Thomas at RailsConf 2007 for questioning why it was necessary to create a "Women of Rails" website featuring pictures of attendees, cheering at RailsConf 2007 when Chad Fowler said "People call us arrogant" when his point is that that's a bad thing, and the baffling fourteen year old boy sensibilities of the Rails Envy commercials, including my personal favorite, comparing the V in MVC to a drunken prom date.

I can understand arrogance from Olympians or research scientists who've just cured cancer. It seems out of place for people writing CRUD applications, even if they're all shiny with rounded corners and Ajax fade ins.

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  • Here's my list of reasons why:
    • Refusal by the ruby-core team to implement a real test suite.
    • Refusal by the ruby-core team to implement continuous integration.
    • Refusal by the ruby-core team to ever go back and refactor any of the core C files.
    • Continued use of pre-ANSI C. It's 2008.
    • Refusal by the ruby-core team to compile with any warnings on, ever.
    • Terrible release management by the core team. Community built spec suite failures ignored.
    • Addition of questional libraries into the stdlib.
    • Cowtowing to the
    • I agree with your entire post, including the subject. I don't believe that people outside the Ruby community who have a negative perception of Ruby hold those reasons though. For all of the technical problems of Ruby (and the only one on my list and not yours is questionable but fixable implementation decisions), perception is primarily a social problem.

      (For similar Perl problems, see comp.lang.perl.misc and Perl golf.)

  • I was at RubyFringe, and it felt a lot like YAPC; small, intimate, a chance to hang out and meet like-minded folks, and a chance to learn about a lot of very cool bleeding edge ruby stuff that *isn't* Rails, from the people who're actually making it happen. Pete was quite explicit about his mission being the improvement of the ruby community as a whole. While I agree that of course you reap what you sow, the emergence of a grassroots movement within the ruby community can only be a good thing. It sounds to
    • It sounds to me like you're taking Pete's rhetorical question...

      Are there any rhetorical questions on the Internet?

      Maybe I'm really not someone who should talk about perceptions of technical communities. (I spend a lot of time on my employer's payroll watching and thinking about them.) Still, I find the Ruby world fascinating in a way that I don't find the Perl world, probably because I'm responsible for approximately none of the direction and development of the Ruby world. It's similar enough that I (

      • Are there any rhetorical questions on the Internet?

        Was it predictable that someone would feel compelled to answer this question with a question?