IBM brews exciting enterprise-grade PaaS project

Language VM bits from the Java days

IBM is brewing an open-source project to improve the operation of languages and tools on different PaaS.

The giant firm has revealed it’s working on OMR, to develop reusable and “easily consumable” components for building “all kinds” of language runtimes.

Code for OMR comes IBM’s J9 Java Virtual Machine – the heart of IBM’s enterprise Java stack since 2005.

OMR has kicked off with preview technology to make OMR work with Ruby.

Why language runtimes?

This is a topic as old as Java – with the JVM – that took on a fresh lease of life in the mid 2000s with projects to make languages other than Java work in the VM.

Again, why runtimes? Given we’ve now with the cloud supposedly transposed servers and the notion of write-one-run-anywhere that Java supposedly offered.

According to IBM, a common set of language runtime components can help a consistent “user experience” for infrastructure, tools, hardware and software regardless of the language – thereby, supposedly, giving devs freedom on language choice.

The idea is you get the benefits of the VM minus the Java semantics.

“If every runtime is implemented differently, the path to this degree of seamlessness will be really hard and take a really long time,” IBM wrote here.

“With common runtime components, everyone (including IBM) can all better leverage our efforts to make runtimes better, faster, more capable, and more integrated to accelerate bringing not just the promise of cloud computing but also the reality that developers should expect from a cloud computing environment.”

As in the 2000s, Ruby is an early candidate for getting the VM love.

The OMR project has released a port for Ruby with GC, JIT compiler and method profiling capabilities based on Ruby 2.2.3,

When multi-language VMs were hot JRuby was an early participant – an implementation of the Ruby language for the JVM written largely in Java. ®

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