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Re^2: The Lighter Side of Perl Culture (Part III)

by eyepopslikeamosquito (Chancellor)
on Jan 25, 2005 at 09:16 UTC ( #424805=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re: The Lighter Side of Perl Culture (Part III)
in thread The Lighter Side of Perl Culture (Part III): Obfu

I think we've been a bit unfair to Mr. Clinick.
Agreed. The article as a whole is very positive towards Perl and hugely respectful of Larry Wall and his contribution to the scripting world.

I included this quote because it contains a lesson: it shows how Obfuscation Contests can be used as a propaganda weapon to damage Perl's reputation. Since attempting to outlaw Perl obfu contests is clearly absurd, the best we can do to protect Perl's reputation is to respond promptly and accurately -- as brian_d_foy and merlyn did above. BTW, I heard a rumour (but I'm damned if I can find anything with google now) that O'Reilly did not sponsor the TPJ Obfuscated Perl Contests because they felt they would project the wrong image of Perl. Does anyone know if there is any truth to this rumour?

Perl actually stands for Practical Extraction and Report Language
To nitpick with Mr Clinick, I refer to the draft Oxford English Dictionary entry cited on history.perl.org:
Perl Brit. Perl, perl, irreg. PERL Computing. perl n. , arbitrarily chosen for its positive connotations, with omission of -a- to differentiate it from an existing programming language called Pearl. Coined by Larry Wall in the summer of 1987; the program was publicly released on 18 December of that year. Acronymic expansions of the name (such as Practical Extraction and Report Language and Pathologically Eclectic Rubbish Lister), though found in the earliest documention for the language, were formed after the name had been chosen. Coinage details confirmed by personal communication from L. Wall, May 2000. A high-level interpreted programming language widely used for a variety of tasks and especially for applications running on the World Wide Web. The form Perl is preferred for the language itself; perl is used for the interpreter for the Perl language.
I love it that PERL is considered "irregular". :-)

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[Corion]: hippo: If you have a Unicode-wise Perl then likely some zero-width characters in $x would work. Maybe $x = "\x{200b}" works.
[Corion]: Hmm - no, that outputs 1 for me on 5.14 - perl -wle "my $x = qq(\x{200b}); warn $x; warn length $x"
[hippo]: Smart - I'll give that a go. Thanks.
[hippo]: Ah
[Corion]: But maybe there is some other Unicode string that will be true but have a zero width
[hippo]: For explanation, I've seen this construct in someone else's code (no names, no pack drill) and couldn't think of a situation to trigger it.
[Corion]: You'll have to look somewhere esoteric for that. Maybe some tied variable or special dualvar can also trigger that. But it's certainly not a common occurrence
[Corion]: And on 5.20, the following also outputs no find:perl -wle 'for my $x ("\x{2000}".."\ x{1fffff}") { if( $x && ! length $x ) { warn qq(<$x>); warn length $x; die } }'
[Corion]: (this time on Unix)
[hippo]: Understood. I'll have to go through the code and see if it's doing anything fancy with ties, dual-vars or non-scalars. In the end, it's probably a bug though.

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