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Re: People who write perl, Perl and PERL

by merlyn (Sage)
on Nov 21, 2005 at 04:15 UTC ( #510355=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to People who write perl, Perl and PERL

it's just that he's not into the Perl community and doesn't know certain things...
If you're not into the community, you're not into Perl. Part of what makes the CPAN work is that it's a two-way street, and to do that, you've got to be plugged in, and making contributions. It's not cool to simply be tapping the CPAN because it's there. You've got to be submitting bugs, and participating on the mailing lists, and know about monks, and so on.

-- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker
Be sure to read my standard disclaimer if this is a reply.

Comment on Re: People who write perl, Perl and PERL
Re^2: People who write perl, Perl and PERL
by shotgunefx (Parson) on Nov 21, 2005 at 05:07 UTC
    There's a difference between being passionate about something and being knowledgeable about something. Though I think Perl attracts more people who are passionate then some other languages...

    I disagree about people using CPAN and not contributing. I think people who benefit, should want to contribute and should if there able, but I don't think it's a mandate.

    If Linux finally gets a large share of the desktop space, would end users be in the wrong for not subscribing to the kernel lists or submitting patches?


    perl digital dash (in progress)
      The Linux desktop is not a programming language. I would expect Linux developers to be aware of the various Linux programming community areas. I would not expect Aunt Sally in Accounting using Linux on her desktop to be aware of such things, any more than I would expect a user to have a Perlmonks handle.

      However, I would expect the programmers of to have a Perlmonks handle, and know about, and so on. That's what I'm arguing here. To be an effective Perl programmer, you're in the community because that's part of being an effective Perl programmer. Hence, the "PERL" shibboleth is valid, as far as I'm concerned.

      -- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker
      Be sure to read my standard disclaimer if this is a reply.

        I would expect Linux developers to be aware of the various Linux programming community areas.
        So do I. And I'd expect that of the perl developers as well. I do not expect that Perl programmers to join "the community" - it's nice if they do, but there are other nice things to do with your time as well.
        Perl --((8:>*
        Kind of two different points here. The linux example was more directed toward using software without contributing.

        Personally, I think a competent programmer is a competent programmer. It's irrelevant if he doesn't know the social conventions of the community surrounding it. It speaks little to how they can apply that tool.

        It's like jumping all over someone for not knowing how to pronounce something. Just because they can't say it right, doesn't mean they don't understand it.


        perl digital dash (in progress)
        Randal, I strongly disagree that to be an effective Perl programmer you have to dive deep int othe community. Nor does one have to subscribe to all of their beliefs. If "Practical Extraction and Report Language" appears on the first page of perldoc, what is wrong with compressing that into PERL ?

      You have made your point clear and loud, and certainly have no need to further reply to any trollish replies.

      You are a fine and wise person.

Re^2: People who write perl, Perl and PERL
by Anonymous Monk on Nov 21, 2005 at 05:41 UTC

    That sound's a lot like; If you wanna play with my ball, you gotta play by my rules.

    If active participation in the vaunted "Perl community" is a prerequisite for using perl and CPAN, then that should be a clear and obvious part of the licence agreement.

    It isn't. Why not?

    Perhaps, because it would be "open source" if it were.

      "I really shouldn't respond to the troll", but...

      You're arguing against something that I didn't say. Please read closer next time. I agree with you... there's no "license" requirement. There's only an ethical requirement that taking from the CPAN also means giving to the CPAN, and a similar requirement that someone be participating with the community to be an "expert" according to many people.

      -- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker
      Be sure to read my standard disclaimer if this is a reply.

        "I really shouldn't respond to the troll", but...

        I'm thinking the same thing here.

        In your original post, you said:

        It's not cool to simply be tapping the CPAN because it's there.

        What's cool and not cool is, well, really a matter of subjective opinion. You have yours, and you've made it known. People may agree and disagree with it (the latter group is way more likely to respond, so I'm not going to draw conclusions from the way the posts are going). But it is there.

        Now you're saying

        There's only an ethical requirement that taking from the CPAN also means giving to the CPAN

        That's a huge jump from "cool" to "ethical".

        For many people, their advocacy of perl, the programming language, is simply to be effective with it. How did I get perl into our team at work? Simply by proving it to be orders of magnitude more effective than what we were doing (shell), and orders of magnitude better than the alternatives (C++ or Java) at what we were going to do with it (text manipulation and filesystem manipulation - two of perl's strongest points).

        Depending on your employment contract, that may be the best you can do. You may not be allowed to contribute to CPAN - it took me 6 months to get management to approve my work on CPAN, for example, including one lengthy conversation with a corporate lawyer. You disparage the good they do for perl simply by being an example of perl's usefulness to their cow-orkers.

        Even then, we've (well, you have - I wasn't on PM at the time) had one PM member who was prohibited from using PM at all for a period of time. (Yes, I read random nodes from time to time.) That time only ended when his employment ended. Any assumption or subjective requirement to be a member of the community devalued that member while so employed. I wonder if your statements say that tilly should have quit and starved to maintain his merlyn-sanctioned stature in the community.

        Coming from other languages, I didn't join PM for about 3 years after starting to use perl. Perhaps I'm overly taken with the virtue of Hubris, but I would claim I had reasonable "expert" status prior to joining PM or releasing anything on CPAN. In C++, the man pages had URLs in them, but no concept of this type of community. So when perl's man pages also had URLs in them, I didn't even guess that there might be this type of community behind it. I just toughed my way through the learning curve based on the perl docs, especially perlstyle. My coding style may have changed somewhat since joining PM, but not significantly more than if I hadn't - as my coding style has changed slowly over the years anyway.

        I've been labelled close-minded pretty much my entire life. But yet, for some reason, I can accept all programmers of perl into Perl. I'm not sure why you want to close the door on them. Ok, that's not quite a good analogy - I'm sure you'd accept them if they came in the PM door. You may even invite people you know outside the site (e.g., on c.l.p if you still participate in usenet). But you'll reject them as "Perl members" until they do so.

Re^2: People who write perl, Perl and PERL
by g0n (Priest) on Nov 21, 2005 at 08:34 UTC
    My first response to your post as a lifelong antisocial non-joiner of things was unthinking disagreement, until I thought for a minute about my progress in Perl.

    I had been using Perl for a couple of years before contributing to CPAN and then ending up a regular here, and I think my Perl (and programming knowledge generally) has shifted into a new (and much higher) gear since I started engaging with the community. Plus of course I now have a better idea of just how much more there is to know.

    Engaging with the community is the difference between a programmer who blindly relies on the tools provided in the form of published modules, and hence works always within external constraints; and one who really knows that, if they find a bug or shortcoming in a CPAN module, they can fix it themselves. Put in vaguer but more general terms, the horizons of a community connected perl programmer are probably broader.

    As an added bonus, it's probably fair to say that a perl-er who engages with the community is more likely to have a more realistic assessment of their own skill level than one who doesn't.

    I'm not sure it's entirely true to say that one can't be 'into' Perl without engaging with the community, in the sense of being an enthusiast for the language, but it seems likely that one could reasonably expect higher standards from someone who does.

    To address cogs point, sometimes it seems that monks make too much of the correct capitalisation of perl/Perl/PERL. Personally, I often miss out the initial capital when posting because I'm so used to typing:



    "If there is such a phenomenon as absolute evil, it consists in treating another human being as a thing."

    John Brunner, "The Shockwave Rider".

Re^2: People who write perl, Perl and PERL
by Perl Mouse (Chaplain) on Nov 21, 2005 at 09:51 UTC
    I've seen estimates of the number of Perl programmers to be somewhere between 100,000 and 1,000,000. My estimate is that the number of people that are part of the "community" are at most a few thousand, of which most aren't "making a contribution".

    If I look around me at my current employers, and several of my previous employers, there are Perl programmers (and people programming in Perl) at all of them. Except myself, none had any interest in participating in "the community".

    Besides Perl, I also use (or have used) C, shell, Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, MySQL, Sybase, awk and a few other things a lot. I've never been involved in their communities either.

    Perl --((8:>*
Re^2: People who write perl, Perl and PERL
by thor (Priest) on Nov 21, 2005 at 12:26 UTC
    It's not cool to simply be tapping the CPAN because it's there.
    Being cool and being effective are. for the most part, orthogonal concepts. Just ask the stereotypical 1950's accountant. :-) Speaking to the topic at it possible to become a very good Perl programmer armed with only the docs that come with perl and by having a take-only mindest with respect to CPAN. Does this disqualify that person from making informed hiring decisions with respect to Perl programmers? In my opinion, not at all.


    Feel the white light, the light within
    Be your own disciple, fan the sparks of will
    For all of us waiting, your kingdom will come

Re^2: People who write perl, Perl and PERL
by gnat (Beadle) on Nov 21, 2005 at 23:28 UTC
    It's not cool to simply be tapping the CPAN because it's there

    That's pretty dogmatic. It's an organic system with room for many roles: some people consume, some only occasionally produce, some produce full-time. As Larry says, there's more than one way to do it. There's no point demanding CPAN contributions from people who aren't in a position to make them, or who don't want to. If you want more CPAN contributions, work to ensure that contributing is easy, fun, and rewarding. --Nat

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