|Perl: the Markov chain saw|
Hockey Sticksby raiph (Friar)
|on Jan 16, 2012 at 10:48 UTC||Need Help??|
Initially written Jan, 2012. Latest update Jan 2014.
(If you are what some call a "global warming denier", please bear with me. For the purposes of this post, let's imagine that global warming is real, and that the famous hockey stick graphs from a decade ago used good data.)
There is now increasing acceptance of the idea that the Perl Planet is again warming up after a brief cooling period. Perl 6 is a reinforcing factor in this warming, with an accelerating impact...
On #perl6 tonight, we see:
05:57 Coke # 01/16/2012 - niecza at 100.02% 05:57 BOOYAH! 05:57 sorear \o/ 05:58 Coke gist updated, google doc not. zzzzz. 06:04 moritz \o/ 06:05 sorear++ Coke++ colomon++ 06:05 congratulations everybody
What did Coke++, a long time contributor to many Perl things, push to achieve tonight before he succumbed to exhaustion? I've been watching Perl 6 for over a decade, and to me no moment has looked more symbolically significant than this one.
Niecza, a Perl 6 compiler, overtook Rakudo, another Perl 6 compiler, as measured by the number of "spectests" passed. (A comparison of the two compilers' features based on fairly recent data.)
This does NOT mean that Niecza is better than Rakudo. The 100.02% figure does NOT mean that Niecza is magically doing everything Larry specced, plus reassigning the colon.
Instead, this moment symbolizes continual progress, and accelerating progress -- the same figure for Niecza just a month or so ago was around 60%.
Jan 2014: Niecza dev has since slowed and fallen behind. Rakudo went from passing ~19k of ~23k spectests on the Parrot backend in Jan 2012 to passing ~28k of ~28k spectests on both the Parrot and JVM backends and several thousand tests on the new MoarVM backend. (As chromatic emphasized in some of his original responses to this post, don't read too much in to these numbers. I think they are a fair reflection of Perl 6 development, but ymmv.)
Outsiders might now be able to see that, although the effect is gradual -- so gradual many deny it is even happening -- Perl, and Perl 6, have been developing consistently for years now, and this development is subject to self-reinforcing acceleration, i.e. the Hockey Stick effect.
There are at least TWO Perl 6 Hockey Sticks: Rakudo and Niecza, with corresponding coding heroes jnthn++ and sorear++. (The new audrey++s. Not to forget pmichaud++, but he's being a hero of a different sort at the moment. And not to forget other Perl 6 compilers and their authors such as Perlito and fglock++.) Not only is development of each of these Perl 6 compilers accelerating individually, each is reinforcing the pace of development of the other.
Jan, 2014: Major contributors have arrived on the scene from both outside the old Perl world (especially FROGGS and ex-pythonista timotimo) and inside (especially lizmat and nwc10). jnthn continues to drive Rakudo dev. pmichaud will return to the scene in 2014. sorear did little or no Niecza dev in 2013. sorear wrote the plumbing needed on the JVM in mid 2013 that allowed jnthn to start building out the P6 concurrency story on Rakudo/JVM. fglock added a p56 (P5 to P6) translator to #perl6 in late 2013.To get a sense of how the lead developer of a Perl 6 compiler sees things, check out Jonathan Worthington's post yesterday that summarized how 2011 went, and how 2012 should go, from the Rakudo perspective.
But better still, to check out how it feels from the perspective of the rest of us Perl 6 fans, check out Solomon Foster's Perl 6 post from yesterday in which, while describing the 400th Perl 6 Rosetta Code entry, he notes "the awkward situation with Rakudo Star has helped obscure the fantastic good news in Perl 6."Jan, 2014: Two years later, Solomon is one of the few who have written and deployed P6 code for a $dayjob and Rosetta now has about 600 entries for both Perl 5 and Perl 6.
I don't want to raise expectations unduly. There is clearly still plenty to do before 6.0.0. But I was a contributor to Mozilla 2002 thru 2004, and I recall how most people had more or less written off the whole project by then. And then came Firefox.So, if you know how to be nice to people, and to butterflies, why not come play hockey on irc chat at #perl6 on freenode?