in reply to Does Perl Have a Business Plan?
Interesting reads, thanks.
Just my opinion, but I think that if I were a Perl God, I would be wondering if it weren't time to start thinking of Perl in some business contexts, if someone's not already doing so.
A typical large business owner/manager sees several facets to his company. One, as a tool to make money, 'cause, let's all admit it, money may not gurantee happiness, but a lack of it can make life pretty darn sad. Two, good businessmen really believe their product makes a positive contribution to the world in some unique way. It's better than others, or less expensive (leaving more in families' pockets for other things), or something positive. So there is a real motivation to keep the product evolving, improving, making the world better. And three, the company provides a decent living for its employees. There is a responsibility to the peons to capitalize on their personal investment and keep that living coming in.
Perl may have been "just a language" many years ago, but it has, by its success and lengevity, acquired some of these same facets.
It's a way that many people make their living. Because of its many qualities, it improves the world by making the programming that drives progress better, easier, more reliable. There is a real motivation to keep doing that. And, in my opinion, it has a responsibility to the many who've made a personal investment in it to do what's necessary to leverage that personal investment for further growth.
The existing model has certainly served Perl and its community very well. But I think Perl may have reached a level of maturity in the product life cycle that going forward it will need what every successful business needs: a central directing body of people skilled in making product life-cycle decisions on technical products like languages, and a business plan that includes market research, a market positioning strategy, technical R&D, product development, and then a serious sales & marketing effort to trumpet to the world that Perl "X" has everything they could dream of in a language, and show both companies and developers that they really want to get on board.
These are just the ABC's of any successful commercial venture. And I think Perl, despite having no shareholders, has acquired the characteristics and needs of a commercial venture.
Now, all this would need funding. Dedicated volunteer idealists will only take you so far. So step one would be devising a plan by which some kind of funding can be had. This is one of the epic conundrums of the digital, open source, world. But it has to be solved. I don't know if Perl appeals to large corporate partners for some sort of exchange (ex: funding for advertising as a sponsor), or if there are opportunities for the Perl infrastructure to generate its own revenues (please, don't say "book sales!"), but there are people expert in finding sources of revenue for worthy projects.
Step two is talent needs definition and acquisition. In many business cases, eventually the engineering genii who built the company must relent and let evil business development experts take the reins.
Then the research, the strategy, the business plan, and the execution.
I'm sure Perl 6 is wonderful. But even as Apple is rolling out the latest iPad, they still have people drumming up marketing campaigns, sales networks in high gear, and strategists already doing the market research for the next revision. That's what gives adopters confidence that this latest version isn't just a one-off, or the end of the line, and yes they can invest in it too.
Perl is an excellent language. It's gone far on its strengths and the fervour of many visionaries. I firmly believe it has the potential to continue to fulfill those roles of improving the world and providing a living for its adherents. I think that future potential could be most fully realized by thinking more like a business venture.