NoRuKo 2020 “Ruby3 and Beyond” Presentation by Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto

The father of the Ruby programming language, Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto, gave a presentation at the recent NoRuKo online virtual conference (Friday 21st of August, 2020).

The presentation (mostly) focused on the next major release of Ruby (version 3). Matz said that “Ruby is very old” (the first version of Ruby was released in 1995). Matz confirmed that the target release date is Christmas Day 2020 “unless something very, very bad happens”.

There are three specific design goals for the version 3 release: being fast, being concurrent, being correct. During the presentation he discussed three new features: an intricate pattern matching syntax, support for assigning values to a variable on the right hand side of the equals sign and numbered block parameters. Taking a page from Steve Jobs presentations, Matz presented “one more idea” for Ruby: a Ruby subset which is more strict and (hopefully) faster or easier to optimize.

Matz ended his presentation and Q&A session by saying that he hoped that Ruby can “help make the world better”.

I had the distinct pleasure to spend some time with Matz during the Borland/CodeGear Japan Developer Camp on June 5, 2007 at the Cerulean Tower Hotel in Tokyo. Shelby Sanders (software engineer who worked on the Turbo Ruby and 3rd Rail products) and I had a session titled “Talking with Matz, Ruby creator”. I also spent some time with Matz in a hotel meeting room where I demonstrated a few of the features of our Ruby products.

Matz’s closing “hope” remarks reminded me of attending the San Jose California OOPSLA 1996 keynote presentation, given by Christopher Alexander, “The Origins of Pattern Theory, The Future of the Theory, and The Generation of a Living World”. At the end of Chris’ keynote he stopped for a moment, thought for awhile and then said:

“Please forgive me, I’m going to be very direct and blunt for a horrible second. It could be thought that the technical way in which you currently look at programming is almost as if you were willing to be ‘guns for hire.’ In other words, you are the technicians. You know how to make the programs work. ‘Tell us what to do daddy, and we’ll do it.’ That is the worm in the apple.”

“What I am proposing here is something a little bit different from that. It is a view of programming as the natural genetic infrastructure of a living world which you/we are capable of creating, managing, making available, and which could then have the result that a living structure in our towns, houses, work places, cities, becomes an attainable thing. That would be remarkable. It would turn the world around, and make living structure the norm once again, throughout society, and make the world worth living in again.”

“This is an extraordinary vision of the future, in which computers play a fundamental role in making the world—and above all the built structure of the world—alive, humane, ecologically profound, and with a deep living structure. I realize that you may be surprised by my conclusion. This is not what I am, technically, supposed to have been talking about to you. Or you may say, Well, great idea, but we’re not interested. I hope that is not your reaction. I hope that all of you, as members of a great profession of the future, will decide to help me, and to help yourselves, by taking part in this enormous world-wide effort. I do think you are capable of it. And I do not think any other professional body has quite the ability, or the natural opportunity for influence, to do this job as it must be done.”

References

“Ruby3 and Beyond” NoRuKo 2020 presentation by Matz replay on YouTube

2021 Fukuoka Ruby Award Competition – Entries to be judged by Matz – The Government of Fukuoka, Japan together with “Matz” Matsumoto would like to invite you to enter the following Ruby competition.If you have developed an interesting Ruby program, please be encouraged to apply. 2021 Fukuoka Ruby Award Competition – Grand Prize – 1 Million Yen! Entry Deadline: December 4, 2020

Ruby Language home page

Books by Christopher Alexander:

The Timeless Way of Building

A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction (Center for Environmental Structure Series)

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