eWeek has an interesting article up about Gemstone Software’s presentation at RailsConf 2008, where MagLev was introduced. This introduction has set the Ruby on Rails community abuzz, and has created a good amount of controversy.

So what is MagLev anyway? It is a Ruby environment, based on the mature and extremely robust Gemstone/S, an enterprise grade Smalltalk virtual machine.

Why is it a big deal? In one word: performance. Even at this early stage of development it seems to outperform all other Ruby interpreters and VMs by many orders of magnitude.

Why does it matter? It could settle the “Ruby is slow” and “Rails doesn’t scale” arguments for good, as well as kicking down the doors for Ruby on Rails adoption in the enterprise market.

Relevant links:
Ruby and other gems – Avi Bryant, creator of Seaside and a lead developer in the MagLev team compares Gemstone/S + Seaside with a Ruby on Rails stack, giving us some insight about where Gemstone is going with this project.
Maglev – Chad Fowler, gives some background on the project origins and presents some ideas about why MagLev matters.