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Re: Perl 6: Managing breakages across Rakudo versions

by sundialsvc4 (Abbot)
on Jul 17, 2012 at 13:23 UTC ( #982236=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Perl 6: Managing breakages across Rakudo Star versions

Let me be frank:   please stop calling this thing “Perl 6.”   Call it Rakudo ... present it as a new language.   (With a sexy trendy name.   Do the whole faux-Ninja thing, to appeal to the twenty-three year olds among us who still love spending all day and all night hacking software.)   ;-)   This is IMHO a much better positioning of this project at this point in time, and not a criticism of the effort or its extreme lateness.   In support of this notion, I offer these points three:

  1. If it’s source-code compatible with Perl, it’s not better, and it is now at cross-purposes with itself.   The internal complexity of the system shoots up, and stability goes down.   Various other projects, including ADD 1 TO COBOL GIVING COBOL., have encountered this issue before.   You really can’t change an existing language that much and call it the same language.
  2. If it’s not source-code compatible, then “it is a different language,” and everything of significance is going to have to be ported, so the CPAN library effectively splits.   Very well, then:   let it split, and do it cleanly.
  3. There is a mammoth installed-base of Perl5.   These installations consist not only of the interpreter executable, but also the CPAN libraries.   The possibly major changes to these libraries which might be attempted in order to accommodate Rakudo might well de-stabilize them, causing significant business problems for installations which have no interest in adopting Rakudo at this time.

If Rakduo, called Rakudo, is deployed in a parallel but separate track, the cost/benefit analysis holds up.   If, instead, it disrupts existing installations in any way, it produces cost without benefit.   Perl has a history now.   It has a legacy to support.

Once again, this is not a flame; this is a Meditation.   I invite equally cordial comments; not just +/- votes.   What do you think in response to my comment, and why or why not?


Comment on Re: Perl 6: Managing breakages across Rakudo versions
Re^2: Perl 6: Managing breakages across Rakudo versions
by chromatic (Archbishop) on Jul 17, 2012 at 17:00 UTC
    What do you think in response to my comment, and why or why not?

    I think every time it comes up, Larry says no.

      Yay for community. Yay for open source software.

        Because no one has convinced Larry to change his mind on the name of thing he created, it's not technically community-driven free and open source software?

        That position seems rather indefensible.

Re^2: Perl 6: Managing breakages across Rakudo versions
by raiph (Hermit) on Jul 18, 2012 at 02:29 UTC
    please stop calling this thing “Perl 6.”

    I'm torn on this.

    I know I'd be delighted and relieved if Larry decided it was wise to rename. But Larry seems to be steadfast in his veto over renaming his latest version of his language.

    I've been a marketing professional, and the negative aspects of Perl 6's reputation bug me big time. However, in the years since I began thinking a renaming would theoretically be the right thing to do, I've never been fully persuaded it's actually the right thing to do. One thing to bear in mind is the decadal view. I have absolutely zero doubt that, in ten years, Perl 6, or whatever it is called, will be considered a member of the Perl family, and a natural heir for most users to what is currently called Perl 5.

    Ultimately, I trust Larry's instincts on the decision more than my own instincts, or marketing theory, or popular opinion.

    So, some almost certainly futile bikeshedding... I assume you accept the familial resemblance, even if you don't accept more than that. Akin to, say, C and C++ and C#. So maybe PerlVI, Perl++, or somesuch? (I'm pretty confident Larry would have an especially negative reaction to Perl++ due to association with C++.) Maybe P6rl, with use of unicode to make the 6 small, like an upside down reflected "e"?

      Maybe P6rl, with use of unicode to make the 6 small, like an upside down reflected "e"?

      How about a symbol, like the artist formerly known as prince?

        I hadn't thought it was that lame a suggestion! At least there would be obvious short ascii versions (p6rl or p6).
Re^2: Perl 6: Managing breakages across Rakudo versions
by sundialsvc4 (Abbot) on Jul 18, 2012 at 15:42 UTC

    Heh... and why, exactly, should anyone in this case particularly care “what Larry Wall thinks?”

    “Ooops!” he said, looking fearfully straight ahead and wondering what it will feel like to become a pillar of salt ...

    A few hundred million source-code lines ago, the Perl language ... having not yet achieved(!) the viability that it has achieved now ... had many options to become viable.   But, once it did, it suddenly became the case that the financial(!) value of what has been made using Perl, and put into daily service, vastly outweighs the ($0.00 ...) cost of Perl itself.

    At this point, what matters is that those mission-critical applications keep running.   No one is asking to rewrite them; no one is in a particular hurry to spend the millions of dollars and to risk the business instability that could occur by doing so.   There is no benefit; there is considerable cost; there is one hundred percent risk.

    Therefore, I would frankly argue that the best thing that could be done for this Perl-6 project, if (and I now consider it to be a very big “if” ...) it ever actually sees the light of day and if, having done so, it actually proves itself to be a viable product.   Being tapped as the successor of a noble ancestor, by anyone at all for any reason at all, does not guarantee or validate success.

    The evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?”
    -- Acts 19:15b; New Living Translation

    This is “nothing personal” and “everything practical.”   There is no place for a “Perl 6” because that multi-million real-dollar place is already taken by the system that is in service.   Any successor project will forever stand beside Perl-5 and must not in any way whatever jeopardize it ... most specifically, there must be zero impact to the mission-critical parts of CPAN.

      Heh... and why, exactly, should anyone in this case particularly care “what Larry Wall thinks?”

      He created and leads the project.

      ... most specifically, there must be zero impact to the mission-critical parts of CPAN.

      I like the DBI. I don't miss sybperl.

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