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Many other have told this to you. And I don't really want to pour water on your enthusiasm.
Perl 5 is slow not because its Perl 5 or because its not C. Its slow because it does a lot of things for you automatically. In other words its slowness comes from 'doing those extra things'. Now you can probably extract some speed out of it, but that is going to be in the >10% range and not the kind of speed you are hoping to extract.
There are other problems with Perl 5, solutions to some of those are in urgent priority than other ones. For example chromatic mentions C-Types as one of them. Another one he mentions is a MOP in the core. Many others have mentioned such needs after their hard experiences hitting rough edges over the years
Large break through level changes in Perl 5 are not possible with sane design consistency. Hence the Perl 6 Project. Some problems with Perl 5 can't be solved as is, or without breaking backwards compatibility. Adding new syntactic power to Perl 5 has shown some success and in some cases it has proven to be a failure(like the smartmatch operator). The reason as Larry Wall mentions, there are a lot of individual design changes that make perfect sense. But not when you add them all.
Your time is better spent either solving the pressing problems Perl 5 has. Or contributing to the Perl 6 project.
Especially Perl 6, that is likely to solve bigger problems in the longer run.
In reply to Re: Perl 5 Optimizing Compiler, Part 7: Video Chat w/ Ingy & Reini, Today 9/18 8pm Central Time
by Anonymous Monk