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Merb: new features, different paradigms

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Recently I listened to a podcast where DHH discussed how the Merb/Rails merger happened, what the issues were, what might change, and how things were progressing. From your point of view:

- What are some of the core philisophical changes and features that Merb brings to the Rails community?
- How did Merb start? What is the future of Merb? (will it have a sunset date?)
- Do you think that the Merb/Rails merger gives Rails3 a significant advantage over frameworks in other spaces (Java, .net, php, Python, etc)?
- Are there things in Merb that won't be making it into Rails3, that you wish could have?
- Rails3 will be all the better for merging in Merb. However, do you think Rails benefits from having a strong competitor?

Appreciate your time, and thanks for your answers!
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