"Perl exists now as an edifice, but as an act of love. People love Perl and love and take care of each other through their involvement with Perl.
Our generation has a set of tools for aggregating things people care about in ways that increase scope and longevity in ways that were unpredictable even a decade ago. We have all kinds of coordinating tools, mailing lists, Weblogs, etc. Those tools turns love into a renewable building material.
Today, looking toward the future, you will make more accurate predictions about software and services if you donít ask about the business model, but you ask, Do the people who like it take care of each other? Linux gets rebuilt every night, like that Shinto shrine, by people who care about its being around the following morning. "
The rest of the article is here: http://www.3pointd.com/20070621/shirky-and-caruso-at-supernova-risk-vs-love/
Apparently Shirky speaks in more depth about Perl and online community in his recently published book "Here comes everybody".
I think Perl will be fine as long as it can keep from losing the existing culture that has grown up around it--it really is unique. That is, as long as people keep creating new projects in Perl, keep hooking Perl into other successful open-source projects--basically perpetuating the motion of that vast online conveyor belt that brings new people to discover Perl("aha, a technology which allows me to get something done myself, and for free"), while also leading existing Perl hackers out into undiscovered fields to cleverly apply what they know("aha, here's something which everyone is doing the hard way, let's make it easy and free").
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