15 Mar 2017
Since the early days of Ruby, Ruby Central, Inc. has served as an organizational anchor for our community. Starting in 2001, with the organization of the first International Ruby Conference, we have been responsible for running RubyConf and subsequently RailsConf. Thanks to you all, our conferences have enjoyed broad, sustainable success, endowing us with a solid financial foundation, which we then happily invest back into the community.
That financial foundation is what makes Ruby Central the natural guardian of the RubyGems project. Not only was RubyGems started by our past Directors, but it has – since its inception in 2006 – also been supported financially by Ruby Central. This includes many years of server and hosting costs, as well as the coordination of volunteers, directors, and sponsors operating the service.
The growing use of RubyGems feeds a virtuous cycle where Ruby and Rails continue to grow more popular with a broader base of companies. This, in turn, makes sponsoring services (like Fastly has done with CDNs) and sponsoring conferences (RailsConf & RubyConf) more attractive. It also means that there are more companies willing to assign their programmers to work on the services and contribute to their maintenance. Success begets usage which begets success.
Our guardianship of RubyGems has, in the past year, been complemented by the work of Ruby Together. Developers paid by donations made to Ruby Together have created new features and fixed bugs in the gem distribution system, Bundler in particular. This work and the attention paid to improving the software used to access RubyGems.org has been a tremendous addition to the whole community.
Unfortunately, this past year has also given rise to some misunderstandings about this relationship in some quarters: chiefly, that by donating to Ruby Together, companies were paying for the operations of RubyGems. And in turn, that if enough companies didn’t donate to Ruby Together, RubyGems would subsequently be in a perilous situation. This isn’t so.
No one in the Ruby community should worry about the availability or security of RubyGems being connected in any way to the fundraising of Ruby Together. Funds raised by Ruby Together go primarily towards paying developers to add features and fix bugs. Ruby Central, on the other hand, is wholly responsible for the operations and baseline stability of the system. While these two efforts go hand-in-hand, it’s vitally important to understand that they are two different things. Ruby Together’s requests for donations do not mean that there is any reason for concern about RubyGems’ continued existence or operation.
To further allay any fears that may still linger in the community about our commitment to provide and support the RubyGems service for all, we’re working to renew involvment with projects to further help assist in the operation of the services and the software, as well as to always be on the ready to deal with availability, security, or compatibility issues.
An explicit team – the Rubygems Infrastructure Team – is being put together to provide the community with a core group of folks that can be relied on. This team will work across Bundler, RubyGems, and RubyGems.org to ensure that the community can always rest assured in the knowledge that all links in the gem distribution system are properly looked after.
Who is on that team and how it will function will be announced at a later time.
NOTE: A previous iteration of this post spelled out specific team members. While those individuals are still involved, the post was revised because their inclusion made it sound like the hard working members on those various projects not listed were being removed. That was far from the case, and so we’re looking to make announcements about the team at a future time.
Ruby Central has also worked with Ruby Together to clear up some of the language and positioning that could have contributed to these past misunderstandings. Ruby Central and the new RubyGems Infrastructure Team will continue to work closely with developers paid by Ruby Together to improve and strengthen the gem distribution system.
We’re very fortunate in the Ruby community to have access to such a great mix of volunteers, company-sponsored developers, and donation-sponsored developers.
If you have any questions about this, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org