IronRuby and IronPython Opportunities

by Miguel de Icaza

Yesterday, Jason Zander announced that the maintenance and future development of IronRuby and IronPython languages was being turned over to the Iron* communities.

Microsoft reached out to some of the users of the Iron languages to take over the coordination for these projects. Together with JB Evain, Michael Foord, Jeff Hardy and Jimmy Schementi I agreed to help coordinate the future development of these languages. The Iron* community reaction to the opening of the process has been very supportive judging by the emails on the mailing list and the twitter responses.

There are four pieces of code involved, all licensed under the Apache 2.0 license:

Both IronPython and IronRuby will be developed like other open source projects without any of the limitations that previously existed. In particular, from my very Unix-centric view, we will be able to get the proper fixes into the Iron* languages to make them work out of the box on Linux and MacOS.

Our Contributions

Although we will help with the coordination efforts in the Iron languages as the community grows and evolves, we have some concrete tasks that we will be working towards right away:

  • Ensure that the Iron* languages build and work out of the box on Linux, MacOS and Unix.
  • Use Mono's Continuous build system to keep an eye on any regressions on IronRuby and IronPython.
  • Package the latest IronRuby and IronPython for Linux and MacOS.


Ruby and Python make programmers happy. They bring joy and smiles to programmers everywhere in the Unix world. Both have strong user bases on Linux and MacOS and there is a strong ecosystem of independent implementations for both Ruby and Python, each with their unique features.

In Iron's case the major feature is being able to use your scripting language of choice while having access to all Mono APIs for building standalone applications or for extending existing applications like MonoDevelop, F-Spot, Banshee, SparkleShare and Tomboy.

From my Unix-biased standpoint, this means that all of the libraries that we have been working on over the years from Gtk# for building desktop Gnome apps, to MonoMac for creating native Mac applications with the entire universe of .NET libraries at your disposal.

The Iron* languages, combined with our MonoMac will make an appealing platform for building apps for the Mac AppStore.

Another fascinating project is the Pyjama Educational Project. Pyjama is written in IronPython, Gtk#, and GtkSourceView and currently supports 5 DLR languages.


As the announcement came out last night, Geoff Norton cooked this simple teaser of IronRuby on the iPhone.

Check it out here.

Posted on 22 Oct 2010