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Re^2: top ten things every Perl hacker should know

by apotheon (Deacon)
on Mar 16, 2006 at 00:25 UTC ( #537005=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re: top ten things every Perl hacker should know
in thread top ten things every Perl hacker should know

It seems like an important item if you're going to converse with other Perl programmers. Calling it PERL instead of Perl is a quick way to get marked as a know-nothing newbie — which is doubly problematic if you're an author of programming instructional texts. I've seen an awful lot of Perl books wherein the author kept calling it PERL.

Then again, you're right: this item is pretty frivolous, in the grand scheme of things.

print substr("Just another Perl hacker", 0, -2);
- apotheon
CopyWrite Chad Perrin


Comment on Re^2: top ten things every Perl hacker should know
Re^3: top ten things every Perl hacker should know
by thor (Priest) on Mar 16, 2006 at 00:59 UTC
    Not this shit again...:(

    thor

    The only easy day was yesterday

      No, not that again. There's a big difference between saying it's important to know Perl is not PERL if you're going to participate in the Perl community and saying I wouldn't hire someone for not knowing Perl is not PERL. I suspect I'd be less likely to hire someone that called it PERL on a resume, but not because of the capitalization — it's probably the case that the qualities I'd look for in a candidate would match up with the likelihood of knowing that Perl is not an acronym, though.

      In other words, I wouldn't mark you down for not knowing it's properly Perl instead of PERL, but I have a sneaking suspicion that calling it PERL is more likely to be accompanied by a lack of qualities I'd like (such as involvement in open source development communities).

      In any case, the point of this is that it's something people should know to get along in the Perl community, not an indictment of people who don't know them. Everybody starts out ignorant: knowledge and wisdom come with (not necessarily formal) education and experience.

      print substr("Just another Perl hacker", 0, -2);
      - apotheon
      CopyWrite Chad Perrin

        Remember that a lot of CVs that you get from agents will have been mangled beyond all recognition by the agent. That a CV from an agent says PERL doesn't say a thing about the candidate.

        That's why, as a candidate, I usually take my own copies of my CV to interviews, to replace the broken one the agent has given them.

      Though I've seen a lot of low-quality "Perl" books, I've never seen a high quality "PERL" one. It's worth remembering.

      Cheers,
      Ovid

      New address of my CGI Course.

        ++, Ovid. This is so far the best reason I've heard for not spelling PERL.

Re^3: top ten things every Perl hacker should know
by nimdokk (Vicar) on Mar 17, 2006 at 16:42 UTC
    It's minor, sure, but it drives me batty that I have an infrastructure diagram where it is spelled PERL. In spite of how many times I have told them to change it. I think its a conspiracy to piss me off :-D

    no, i'm not paranoid - it's just that they really are out to get me ;-D

Re^3: top ten things every Perl hacker should know
by Anonymous Monk on Mar 20, 2006 at 15:37 UTC
    Calling it PERL instead of Perl is a quick way to get marked as a know-nothing newbie
    %man perl NAME perl - Practical Extraction and Report Language

    You're right... only an idiot would consider that an acronym. No wait -- only a perl cultist wouldn't consider that an acronym, because that's exactly what it is, and only severe abuse of one's perceptions and/or the English language itself can change that.

    However, not everyone is a perl cultist. Some of us don't believe in abusing the honorific case in English to distinguish a language from it's implementation, because unlike gods and royalty, a mere programming language doesn't deserve genuflection, and to those speakers of the English language, "Perl" is only correct if capitalized at the beginning of a sentence.

    I realize this place is called Perl Monks, and that some people think it grants them license to turn into foaming at the mouth perl fantatics, but seriously -- denying the very truth before your eyes is the mark of a cultist, not a rational human free of the taint of religion.

    Perl *is* an acroynm, because of the very fact it's been billed as such for well over ten years. Just because Pope Larry has decided to pull back from some of his past decrees doesn't undo the past.

    Drop the religious fervour; it's not serving any purpose. Be rational, and focus on writing quality code in the language, and follow the original rules for the English language, not PerlSpeak.

      I can only assume you're unfamiliar with the term "backronym" — which is what Perl is, rather than a proper acronym. If you don't believe me, ask Mr. Wall.

      In fact, if you're interested in getting this all "right", you might wish to refer back to the writings of Mr. Wall, the inventor of Perl and the man who coined the term Perl in the first place. It might also be of interest to note that the term perl, with a lower-case first letter, arose only because that's what the binary executable Perl parser is called in most unix-based implementations.

      Perl is a proper name, as are Ruby, Python, Java, Lisp, Prolog, and a slew of other languages — no matter what their various parser binaries are called.

      For purposes of knowing the proper terms, it helps to know the history of the terms.

      print substr("Just another Perl hacker", 0, -2);
      - apotheon
      CopyWrite Chad Perrin

        I can only assume you're unfamiliar with the term "backronym" which is what Perl is, rather than a proper acronym.

        Just because Larry carefully rebranded perl as an acronym for marketing purposes doesn't make it any less an acronym. We don't know all the internal names the makers of lasers, sonar, or scuba gear pitched before the acronyms were popularlized: yet those words are and remain acronyms.

        Ten years ago, perl was being agressively and loudly marketed under the acronym "Practical Extraction and Reporting Language" -- it was a selling point to encourage people to switch from shell scripts, which is largely what perl was written to replace. The fact that early versions of perl didn't have the acronym was a tiny sentence buried deep in man pages as a minor historical footnote.

        For well over a decade (at *least* since I first read the perl man pages back in 1994, if not before then), perl was billed, loudly, as an acronym for "Practial Extraction and Reporting Language": now that it's associations with shell scripting are no longer considered cool, Larry is trying to flip-flop back to the old name. That part is fine, I guess, but claiming that perl is suddenly no longer an acronym is NOT okay.

        That's revisionist history, and it's flat out wrong. Perl is still defined as an acronym in the canonical man pages that describe the language, so to claim otherwise is just plain silly.

        Perl is a proper name, as are Ruby, Python, Java, Lisp, Prolog

        Uh huh. So the concept of Perl gets to be a proper name, but the tangible instantiation doesn't? We don't do that with any other noun in English. I don't drive a "ford taurus", which then deemed to be a specific instantiation of the platonic ideal of a "Ford Taurus". If anything, a proper noun implies a specific instantiation of a more general concept, not the other way around. We name specific children; but we don't consider 'child' a proper noun. Yet perl zealots keep harping on the distinction between the Holy Abstraction of Perl (which is capitalized, presumably as an honourific), and the lowly, bug-ridden instantiation (which apparently doesn't merit one).

        We write popular acronyms in lowercase, without the periods: thus "perl", not "P.E.R.L."; just as we do with laser, maser, sonar, or scuba.

        For purposes of knowing the proper terms, it helps to know the history of the terms.

        And history says that perl stands for "Practical Extraction and Reporting Language"; that the definition was changed very early in the history of perl, and the very first description you got, and still get when you look up the meaning of the language has been, and still remains, an acronym.

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