Fragmentation of Ruby?

Peter Cooper at Ruby Inside posted recently on two developments in the Ruby world: a new iteration of an old Ruby interpreter and a new, Ruby-like language. He then muses on the possibility of fragmentation in the Ruby community: multiple interpreters, multiple implementations — will we all disperse into specializations out of preference or necessity? Will the center no longer hold? Here’s a very interesting quote:

I’m starting to believe that “Ruby” is starting to represent both a community and a language “ideal” rather than just a single, well-defined programming language.

Now what does that sound like? A bit like the story of a programming language that rhymes with “crisp,” perhaps? Or Smalltalk? Maybe Ruby really is the descendant of these languages.

As the commenters to Cooper’s post point out, there’s still plenty of cohesion around the core language and one or two interpreters, but you can’t deny that “the Ruby stack” is starting to look a bit more like, say, the Java stack, with decisions to make at every level. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I do wonder how much longer it will be possible for journeyman developers to know a reasonable amount about everything in the Ruby mainstream.