No, it's not April 1st, and as far as I know, hell hasn't frozen over either. The Merb and Rails teams have in fact announced that they will be joining forces. The end result will eventually be released as Rails 3.
Rather than repeating all the details here, below are links to the original announcements by various team members:
- DHH (Ruby on Rails Blog)
- The day Merb joined Rails (Ruby on Rails Blog)
- Yehuda Katz
- Ezra Zygmuntowicz
- Matt Aimonetti (also includes a short FAQ Video)
- Carl Lerche
It is unclear how much of the actual Merb code will make it into Rails 3, but the important thing is that Rails will embrace many of Merb's core principles, such as a lightweight core, performance, modularity (i.e. you'll be able to easily swap ActiveRecord out for DataMapper or some other ORM framework), and a well-defined and stable public API that plugins can be based on.
I've been a big fan of Rails for many years, and it is certainly relatively mature and has a large developer community. At the same time, I've been drawn to Merb and related technologies (such as DataMapper) lately, and I strongly agree with their core principles.
Integrating these two frameworks will be no small feat, so the new combined team definitely has their work cut out for them. But as different as the two frameworks are, they also have a lot in common. By agreeing on this new direction, the team will be able to focus on the important tasks without having to deal with redundant functionality. I am looking forward to the new direction and am excited about trying out the first Rails 3 alpha whenever it is released.
Over the past few months, there's been a fair amount of bickering between the Rails and Merb teams, and I'm all the more impressed with both teams for reaching this decision and deciding to work together. I am convinced that the Ruby Community will be a lot better for it.