Microsoft withdraws from IronPython and IronRuby development
Microsoft has withdrawn from the development of IronPython and IronRuby and has handed over responsibility to the open source community. For many, the decision was hardly surprising: Shortly after leaving Microsoft early last August, the chief developer of IronPython, Jimmy Schementi, had already expressed his disappointment about his team having been reduced to half its size within a year. The developer said that this was the reason why the team needed so long to complete the Visual Studio support for IronPython. It was probably also the reason why IDE support was long unavailable in Visual Studio for IronRuby. A related prototype was only announced by Jason Zander, who was responsible for the implementation development of the two script languages, in a blog posting which also explains the changes affecting the two projects.
In future, the development of IronPython will be coordinated by Mono's chief programmer, Miguel de Icaza, and by Michael Foord, Jeff Hardy and Schementi. Schementi and de Icaza will also coordinate the continued development of IronRuby. All developers had already previously been involved in the projects. What's different for the community is that it can now make changes to the implementations without Microsoft's influence. Microsoft programmers will at most be involved in the projects on an unofficial basis.
Responses from the coordinators to Microsoft's withdrawal have been mixed. Schementi sees Microsoft's decision in a positive light, while Hardy expressed disappointment, but said that his goal is to release IronPython 2.7 before the end of the year. Hardy's perceived future goals also include the setting of a roadmap for Python 3.2, the integration of LINQ (Language Integrated Query) support and the implementation of static compilation.
The end of Microsoft's support of these project also marks the departure of Jim Hugunin, who has left Microsoft to join Google. Hugunin was involved in the development of IronPython and one of the developers responsible for the Python implementation for Java (Jython) and the AspectJ extension for Java. At Google, he is to coordinate server-side Java programming.
Started six years ago, IronRuby and IronPython were long Microsoft's key projects for the Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR) environment for dynamically typed script languages in .NET 4. The developer tools for IronPython and IronRuby are available as open source code under the Apache licence.