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Rails Bigwig Rails on Rails Community 616

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the less-than-elegant-exit-strategies dept.
Zed Shaw, creator of the popular Mongrel HTTP daemon / library, has decided it was high time to tear into the Ruby/Rails community for many different complaints that he has been collecting over the last few years. "Rails is a Ghetto" is Shaw's self-proclaimed exit strategy from the Rails community. "This is that rant. It is part of my grand exit strategy from the Ruby and Rails community. I don't want to be a 'Ruby guy' anymore, and will probably start getting into more Python, Factor, and Lua in the coming months. I've got about three or four more projects in the works that will use all of those and not much Ruby planned. This rant is full of stories about companies and people who've either pissed in my cheerios somehow or screwed over friends. I can back all of them up from emails, IRC chat logs, or with witnesses. Nothing in here is a lie unless it's really obviously a lie through exaggeration, and there's a lot of my opinion as well."
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Rails Bigwig Rails on Rails Community

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  • by MyDixieWrecked (548719) on Wednesday January 02, 2008 @05:44PM (#21887356) Homepage Journal
    yeah, I read 3/4 of this and all his complaints have been about people that have hired him to do projects and the fact that the Django crew is a lot nicer to talk to and are cool and smart guys.

    All his complaints stem from him not getting along with people, not getting paid on time, the fact that the majority of the people jumping on rails aren't smart enough to properly implement things and that he really seems to be an abrasive character.

    I mean, the first several paragraphs are nothing but him talking shit about kicking people in their respective mouths.

    Aside from the fact that it's about rails, why is this on slashdot, exactly?
  • by Samgilljoy (1147203) on Wednesday January 02, 2008 @05:54PM (#21887470)

    Everything you say is very true, although I do cut him a break for saying up front that it was a rant. As long as you admit that, you free yourself from the strictest requirements of argumentation.

    Personally I get hung up on the conflict between asserting superior education on the one hand, and then going on about fighting skills on the other. But he's not me, and I don't know what demons he has to exorcise (and I'm not among those criticized )),so more power to him.

    We're all entitled to vent now and again, I suppose.

    What I really want to know is why TechCrunch did a piece on this.

  • Addendum (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aftk2 (556992) on Wednesday January 02, 2008 @05:55PM (#21887494) Homepage Journal
    Gotta give credit where credit is due. This is pretty funny:

    Notice how it took me a few seconds to reply. This one single statement basically means that we all got duped. The main Rails application that DHH created required restarting ~400 times/day. That's a production application that can't stay up for more than 4 minutes on average.

    Let me put this into perspective for you: I've ran servers that needed to be restarted once in a year. They were written in PHP, Python, Java, C, C++, you name it. Hell, I've got this blog on a server I've restarted maybe 10-20 times the whole year.

    Now, DHH tells me that he's got 400 restarts a mother fucking day. That's 1 restart about ever 4 minutes bitches. These restarts went away after I exposed bugs in the GC and Threads which Mentalguy fixed with fastthread (like a Ninja, Mentalguy is awesome).

    If anyone had known Rails was that unstable they would have laughed in his face. Think about it further, this means that the creator of Rails in his flagship products could not keep them running for longer than 4 minutes on average.

    Repeat that to yourself. "He couldn't keep his own servers running for longer than 4 minutes on average."

    Assuming his statements are true (which we may never know) he basically duped us all.
  • Re:CIA? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zonky (1153039) on Wednesday January 02, 2008 @05:57PM (#21887520)
  • Re:CIA? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday January 02, 2008 @05:57PM (#21887530) Homepage Journal
    Sure there is proof. Facebook's main function is to get something on everybody. You are posting your life on Facebook and all your friends.
    Actually there seems to be some very tenuous connections as far as venture capital for Facebook and the CIA. I think it is more Tinfoil hat stuff than real but I could be wrong.
    Social networking sites could be of interest to law enforcement agencies. If someone has committed a crime or is on the run they will often turn to friends or friends of friends for help. If the police are looking for anyone the first thing they will do is contact the person friends, family, and co-workers. Social networking sites soft of put them all out there for the world to see. The scary thing is that they tend to be some pretty distant links on your friends links.
    On guy that I added as a friend I had one class in eleventh grade with. I haven't seen him since but he found me so I added him.
    So I just kind of doubt that the CIA is really backing Facebook but I don't doubt that they have an interest in it.
  • by DuranteAlighieri (1204994) on Wednesday January 02, 2008 @06:05PM (#21887614)
    I have been using Ruby since before Rails existed, and the whole Rails "community" has been highly suspicious to me from the start. Between outrageous claims and a far too religion-like mindset I just kept my distance waiting for the hype to go away again. It seemed to much like a marketing before technology movement (akin to say, the Java it derided so much (for good reason)).

    You can see the difference between the old Ruby community and the Rails evangelists in many threads on the main Ruby mailing list throughout the last few years. Some of us already warned that in the end Rails may be a bad thing for Ruby back when the marketing blitz started, and now it seems this might hold true after all.

    It's not a fate a very nice, expressive language made by an incredibly modest guy deserves. I hope more Ruby aficionados distance themselves clearly from the Rails hype.
  • by AuMatar (183847) on Wednesday January 02, 2008 @06:11PM (#21887678)
    And despite the myriad of languages

    Only 3 are really used for 95% of large apps (C, C++, Java)

    Only 2 are used for bare metal apps and 95% of firmware (C, C++)

    Only 2 are really used for 90% of scripting (Perl, shell)

    Only 3 are used for 99% of web apps (Perl, PHP, JSP)

    Notice Python and Ruby aren't in the list- they have a few fanboys and a few apps they can point to and claim people do use them, but in reality they make up less than 1% of apps in active development combined.

    And notice there's a hell of a lot of overlap in there. The reality is, language doesn't matter. WHat does matter is availability of decent libraries. And for that, you're better off sticking with a major player. Unless your new language is as big a leap as procedural vs functional or OOP vs procedural, don't bother. The 100 new languages we get each year tend to be the same C++ style language with a few pieces of syntactic sugar on top.
  • Re:Ruby (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Watts Martin (3616) <layotl&gmail,com> on Wednesday January 02, 2008 @06:17PM (#21887732) Homepage

    Clever title, but "Pissy Foul-Mouthed Drama Queen Makes Histrionic Exit from Rails" would have been more accurate.
    While I (sort of) hate to say it, this shouldn't be a real surprise to anyone who's read Zed Shaw's blog and even Mongrel's official web site... well, we'll just say that the fellow always came across to me as someone who was more interested in railing than Rails, if you get my drift.

    I like Mongrel -- I use it to run my Instiki web site -- and think Shaw's an undeniably good programmer. But there's a certain kind of personality in a (fortunately small) subset of tech-heads, that assumes that the sheer brilliance they bring to their work is all that matters. You'd better listen to them because they're fucking brilliant and you're not them and don't you fucking forget it. I have more than one acquaintance who exhibits this attitude -- and who has a whole lot of trouble finding and keeping work. Hmm.

    Oddly, I'm exploring Python and Django now after my own long detour through Rails, without quite accomplishing anything on my own part other than cementing an exasperation with PHP (version 4 in particular). Running that Instiki instance is part of what's lessened the appeal of Rails. I don't know how much of that can be blamed on Instiki itself, but I'm pretty sure the answer is "not all of it." But I digress.
  • by aldheorte (162967) on Wednesday January 02, 2008 @06:28PM (#21887848)
    Interestingly, the Rails community had started to 'normalize' on a framework of Apache + Mongrel in the last year or so. Some of this may have had to do with comments by the author of this article and Mongrel that lighttpd sucked (apparently because the lighttpd developers were not keeping modproxy up to date enough for him, which may or not be true - remember that Mongrel only works well to the extent that the web server proxy implementation works well as well).

    Prior to this, lighttpd and fastcgi had been favored. With that guy's attitude, I suspect that Mongrel is quickly going to fall out of favor. Hell, with that outburst, I think people should be rightly concerned about using and updating Mongrel as a matter of due diligence.

    The major point here is that alternatives exist and we of the lighttpd and fastcgi persuasion would like more fellows to build brain share. We promise not to swear at you quite as much.
  • Re:CIA? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 02, 2008 @06:31PM (#21887878)
    In testimony before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment,"Use of the Internet by Terrorists: Using the Web as a Weapon", November 6, 2007, there was this surprising testimony:

    Jane Harman: "What can we do to go on the offensive? Are we doing enough to create false websites? And then try to track people, extemists, who try to go on those sites? Are we doing any of that? Create problems for them, if they go on these sites, they may not be authentic, and turn the internet into a less reliable source of information. Is there anything we're doing there?"

    Ms Katz, attorney, Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk: "There are easy ways to manipulate popular websites and [myspace] profiles, and our govt agencies are doing that, moving certain videos up in the [google video and youtube] rankings, and lowering the ranking. We're also seeing a lot of sites that are deisgned to make fun of these sites, and bringing humor to it. We're seeing an awful lot of arabic humor designed to discredit Some of this. Some of it I suspect is being done through governmental agencies, some of it is done through talented teens who think its funny. A lot of this information is tracked and is being held by the social networks, youtube, mysapce, facebook, all of them collect the IP address of every comment and everything posted, and retain it for at least 3 months, to turn over to law enforcement. We can let our young people know they are being manipulated, and do more of that."

  • Pudge, you work here. You just claimed that you could hurt someone, on your company's web site.

    Well, of course you could hurt him. Anyone could. Anyone could hurt anyone else. All it takes is a l;ack of caring, some motivation, some ether, and a car battery. No one sane brags about it. And no one with hopes of furthering their career says anything so juvenile on their own company website.

    Now, what he said was that he would pay for the ring, and fight you legally. Knowing the two of you, I would put my money on him. No question. I would absolutely love to see the two of you face off in a ring. Whoever loses, the rest of us win.
  • by jimicus (737525) on Wednesday January 02, 2008 @06:40PM (#21887992)
    I'm beginning to get an inkling of why you don't tend to see such an elitist "I'm better than you!" approach to communication on Windows-based forums, mailing lists and IRC channels - and I think Zed has just inadvertantly explained it beautifully.

    In closed source software, very few have access to source code and those that do aren't at liberty to discuss it in any detail. We only have access to the same help files, knowledge bases and forums, which are by and large a lot more human readable than several thousand lines of C code. But at the same time, they're a lot less informative. In solving a particular problem, everyone's trying to find the proverbial black cat in a coal cellar. It's in everyone's interest to remain at least civil at all times, because next week it could be us asking the questions.

    In Open Source, everyone has access to and can discuss the source code all they like - and there is an elite of people who have the time and expertise to be able to understand it in some detail. The elite don't need to worry so much about pissing people off because they have the ability to read the source code and understand what is going on. And so it seems much more often you find someone who tends to come across as either very outspoken (at best) or downright malicious (at worst).
  • Re:So what (Score:5, Interesting)

    by analogueblue (853280) on Wednesday January 02, 2008 @06:41PM (#21888008) Homepage
    You're right, but I will say the combination of practical martial arts and real world fights is better than just the latter. Muscle memory response and a deep familiarity with joints, nerves, strike points, and the like, helps out a lot against a bar brawler who just knows how to swing and duck.

    I've worked club security in Boston and been in more than my share of altercations and I can attest that years of Ju-Jitsu absolutely make things easier, But I do agree that someone walking out of a normal dojo and getting into their first fight is almost certainly going to be in for a painful surprise.
  • by Grey Haired Luser (148205) on Wednesday January 02, 2008 @06:49PM (#21888116)
    Well, to the Ruby guys, I'd say "Chin up, mate". And
    don't worry about it too much. After all, Lisp has
    been savaged over and over, and even after the AI winter,
    it's no deader than usual...

    Always remember that popularity != success.

                            --The Gray Haired Luser Guy
  • by sizzzzlerz (714878) on Wednesday January 02, 2008 @06:54PM (#21888160)
    Except for the foul language, of course.

    Assuming this isn't a parody, this guy has some really major issues that he needs to work on. I don't care how good someone thinks they are, with this kind of attitude and me being a hiring manager, his resume goes into the circular file.
  • by rewt66 (738525) on Wednesday January 02, 2008 @07:13PM (#21888382)
    His pointing out that Rails required restarting every 4 minutes was both technical and interesting - shocking, in fact.
  • by AuMatar (183847) on Wednesday January 02, 2008 @07:37PM (#21888658)
    I'm sorry, but Python isn't nearly as important as Perl. If it had 10% of the marketshare I'd be shocked- in my 7 years of professional programming, I've seen 2 Python programs. One was an app the author wrote to try out Python, the other we rewrote in Perl. A lot of Python users want to thing its big, but it just isn't.

    Yeah, a bunch of companies are using C# now, but it still isn't anywhere near as big as Java or C++. I can't accurately judge it though, as I avoid windows like the plague. Besides, in 2 or 3 years MS will have there next new language of the month Javathon-- or whatever they'll call it.
  • by gknoy (899301) <gknoy@nOsPaM.anasazisystems.com> on Wednesday January 02, 2008 @08:53PM (#21889412)

    The lesson will prove even more invaluable whenever he is next looking for work (I predict this to be coming sooner than he expects). All it will take is one person at the company to throw his name into google and then look at the internet archive version of his site and voila: Instant rejection.


    This brings up an interesting (to me) issue. When someone DOES post something on the internet which others would consider sufficient for instant-rejection, how does that individual reform (and subsequently recover)? I like the idea of being able to know that John Q Applicant was a complete asshole at Some Time in the Past, but what if he's genuinely been trying to improve? What if he was off his meds that day, or his jealous now-ex wrote it? What if he recognizes that it was a mistake, and has been working actively to be a better team player? Will anyone ever give them a chance?

    Before the internet, one could conceivably recover from such a career mistake (if this was one): move to a new city/state/country/industry, and start over. Now, it's so easy to Fail people out of the job selection process (or any other one) that it seems like some people may be excessively punished for past behaviors.
  • by Sweetshark (696449) on Wednesday January 02, 2008 @09:03PM (#21889540)

    If it had 10% of the marketshare I'd be shocked- in my 7 years of professional programming, I've seen 2 Python programs.
    Since you are doing profesional programming so long, you have to have seen a trac installation, if you have not been living under a stone. So what was the other app? Propably anything from google with scripting in it, because at google, they standardizing on C/C++, Java and Python. Or did you play Civ IV, where the AI is written in Python? Or did you use bzr or git, the scm of the linux kernel? Dia, gnumeric, or nmap? Xfce or Gnome? Or gentoo linux?
    Seven years of professional programming? What did you do? COBOL coding for a bank?
    http://www.tiobe.com/tpci.htm/ [tiobe.com]

    As for C# -- dont be so arrogant. Microsoft does a lot of stuff wrong. But Sharepoint is a killer app - although a buttugly one. And while hubris reigns about the failures of Microsoft elsewhere, they are establishing a monopoly there thats even stronger and meaner that Windows and Office ever were.
  • by billstewart (78916) on Wednesday January 02, 2008 @09:15PM (#21889658) Journal
    Having a business degree is nice, but it doesn't usually teach you much about what real business environments are like; unfortunately the Real World is a better school for some kinds of things. As you say, clients aren't always good at paying on time. Some are consistently much worse than others - big businesses are often slow but usually will pay eventually, while small businesses sometimes just don't have the money, which they may or may not have known when they hired you, and maybe they're waiting for their clients to pay them so they can pay you, or maybe they're waiting for the customers who were supposed to be banging down the doors to hand them money once their really cool website was up and running, in which case you should have known going into the deal that you weren't going to get paid any time soon.


    And clients aren't always realistic about what work they need done, or what it'll cost them. The old "$5 to turn the knob, $995 to know which knob to turn and how far" kind of story has pretty much always been true. Back when I was in the billable-hours game, it took a while to get used to the idea that my work might be worth $500K/year to a client (more if they only needed a day's work, negotiably a lot less for extended jobs), but the first time you tell somebody "Don't do X, that would be a Really Bad Idea, do Y instead", you've potentially saved them millions, and you don't feel at all bad charging them $250 an hour to do the grunt work on Y that their own employees could do for $50 if they knew how. (It was also interesting to have law firms as customers, since their attitude toward money was that computer consultants usually bill less per hour than associate lawyers, so go do what you need to do and don't waste our time supervising you. By contrast, retail companies are universally very price-sensitive about everything.)

  • by aldheorte (162967) on Wednesday January 02, 2008 @09:27PM (#21889758)
    I'm not making any argument against Mongrel technically. I was trying to soft play it, but here's the hard version: Do you really want a piece of code in your software stack from a guy that is a loose cannon like that? Now that the cannon has gone off, do you want to be pulling updates from this guy's svn server into your software stack? A project is both about the people and the code. This is why, contrary to this guy's opinion, Rails is good (and more so on the people than the code, actually).

    I can longer consider using Mongrel unless there is independent review and/or this guy's committer access is revoked. Permanently. Since the only person who can revoke it is him, for Mongrel to be useful, someone needs to fork it right now from a 'last known good' version, into an independently controlled repository.

    Failing that, my message to other people using Rails is that there is alternatives to Mongrel, so don't let not wanting to use Mongrel dissuade you using Rails.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 02, 2008 @09:44PM (#21889884)
    So he flames the whole rails community and then states it all stems from their dabbling in PHP prior to trying rails?

    This douchebag must a shitty programmer with that kind of equating.. Ill continue to make my money (more money than him) with PHP while he lives in a cardboard box trying to figure out what programming language he likes best?
  • by crush (19364) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @12:16AM (#21890920)
    He's also completely right about the widespread ignorance of statistics [zedshaw.com] which more of should really be concerned about.
  • Re:So what (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chemisor (97276) on Thursday January 03, 2008 @11:41AM (#21894968)
    I just have to repeat that quote from the article:

    > You think you can take me, I'll pay to rent a boxing ring and beat your fucking ass
    > legally. Remember that I've studied enough martial arts to be deadly even though I'm
    > old, and I don't give a fuck if I kick your mother fucking ass or you kick mine. You
    > don't like what I've said, then write something in reply but fuck you if you think
    > you're gonna talk to me like you can hurt me.

    I absolutely LOVE this attitude :) It is so refreshing in a world where a more typical response to criticism is a lawsuit. I, for one, would much rather deal with this guy than the common sleazy cowards that libel you behind your back, destroy your life with litigation, and froth at the mouth as they demand protection and sheltering from their mommies and from the state.

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