Matz Joins Heroku: It’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

Matz and heroku

The folks at Heroku have put out a press release (okay, PR people, I’ll call it a news release. Happy now?) as well as a blog post announcing that Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto has joined them. A quick recap for those of you unfamiliar with those names:

  • Heroku is a subsidiary (they got bought by Salesforce in December 2010) that runs a cloud platform-as-a-service that supports Ruby as well as Node.js and Clojure . It was one of the first cloud services, with development on it starting “way back” in 2007, and hosting over 100,000 applications.
  • “Matz” is the creator of the Ruby programming language, upon which the web application framework Ruby on Rails is based, which in turn is what Shopify is built upon.

Here’s the picture from the blog entry with the announcement. I hope it becomes Matz’s business card!

Heroku matz

What does this all mean in the end? Think of it as an artist/patron kind of relationship. Open source software has had a number of notable relationships of this sort:

  • Linus (Linux, or if you’re one of the “Stalliban”, GNU/Linux) was hired by Transmeta and he worked there until 2003.
  • Guido (Python) was hired by Google and he’s still there.
  • Larry (Perl) was hired by O’Reilly — no idea if he still on their payroll.

In all these cases, it was an organization with a fair bit of money hiring a developer who built the OS or language they use. The organization benefits from continued development of that open source OS or language, and the programmer benefits from a steady paycheck. Luckily, we also benefit!

According to the Heroku blog, Matz and “a small team of Ruby’s core committers” will continue to work on the Ruby programming language. They close their entry with this:

We love Ruby, and we are honored to be able to give back to the community and to Matz, the Ruby dai-sensei, by providing resources for him and his team to continue to design and architect the language.

Sounds good to me. Time for a celebratory dance:

This article also appears in the Shopify Technology Blog.