Monday, March 03, 2008

IronPython has Serious Competition: Sun Hires Ted Leung and Frank Wierzbicki

In September 2006 Sun hired two JRuby developers to improve the story of dynamic languages on the JVM. This was seen by many as both long overdue and a response to Microsoft developing IronPython (and the Dynamic Language Runtime) for .NET.

As Jython has been around for longer than JRuby, many in the Python community wondered why Sun weren't supporting Python. Finally they have answered, by hiring Ted Leung and Jython lead developer Frank Wierzbicki.

On his blog Ted says:

"there will be at least two of us working on Python related stuff. That includes Jython, Python support for Netbeans, and some other stuff that we haven’t quite figured out yet. We definitely will be looking for things that we can do to support CPython and the Python language as a whole. This is not just about Python on on the JVM. Sun will try to make its platforms, OpenSolaris and the JVM, the best place to develop and deploy Python applications."

Frank says:

Sun Microsystems has hired me to work full time on Jython. They have also hired Ted Leung to represent the wider world of Python at Sun.

So what does this mean for Jython? First off, just in case anyone is worried: Jython is going to remain completely open source. Sun has applied for memebership to the PSF and the PSF will continue to be the steward of Jython's code. This move by Sun means that Jython is going to get some of the attention that it needs to move forward.

The JRuby folks have already been working with the Jython folks to find those places where we can share code. The fact that they work for Sun was no barrier at all to cooperation, but being in the same company means that I am going to interact with them all the more. Close cooperation with JRuby has no downside for Jython whatsoever.
Great news for Jython and Python in general!

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