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Re: Perl and Open Source in General

by blazar (Canon)
on Feb 16, 2007 at 17:20 UTC ( #600479=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Perl and Open Source in General

would first like to thank everyone that has helped me with the code I am trying to hack. It is still not working but I am making a lot of progress. I realized today that Perl is "open source" I thought it was strange but now I know why it does not come with any version of Windows.

It does not come with any version of Windows, because it's not Microsoft software, not because it's open source, period. OTOH there's at least one piece of Windows documentation where Perl is mentioned as a topical example: not terribly relevant, but just to let you know...

Anyway there are quite a lot of programming languages which do not ship with any version of Windows, wheter open source or not. Indeed the average Windows user won't need a programming language in any case. (FWIW Microsoft produces and sells compilers and/or development tools for several languages, IIRC there are even free versions -as in "free beer"- of some. Yet they're not distribuited with Windows.) For those who want one, it will generally be a few clicks away. In the case of Perl, the easiest and most common choice will be ActiveState's ActivePerl.

Does this snub from Microsoft give PERL less credibilty than other software that is enterprise class like WORD or INTERNET EXPLORER?

Not at all! Word is a respectable program and all, for some applications. But it is a very poor tool, nay fundamentally a toy one, for those who are in the know of good typesetting and document managing. Thus is has popularity, but no credibilty. OTOH there are good alternatives which are also free in the widest sense of the word and more or less open source, like TeX & C.

BTW: it has already been told you, but there's not such a thing as "PERL": as you can see from that link itself, the use of an all uppercase "PERL" is a means in the community to distinguish who's in the know from who's not. As usual the best explanation is the one that ships with perl: check perldoc -q difference between "perl" and "Perl".

I must say I have found PERL to be pretty hard to use. I am a serious hacker with 22 years experiance in IT. Most of those years were spent hacking. If PERL is indeed already installed on a system..like it was on mine (and I didn't even know) shouldn't they make it more obvious that its on there? I consider myself pretty computer technical..AOL, Earthlink, EV1 and I know Powerpoint also..So I am no slouch.

Please do not take it as a personal offense, but despite your repeated boasting about having "22 years experiance in IT", evidence is that your experience has been in just some limited areas: all those things that you mention -AOL, Earthlink, EV1, Powerpoint- are by no means the whole world. More precisely they comprise a very small portion of the (IT) world.

I'll try to clarify with an example: I think I'm a pretty decent judoka with several years of experience in this sense. Yet I can't play basketball. I can't even dribble the ball, and apart the fact that I know that the ball has to be thrown in the basket to score some points, I ignore the rules. Now, basketball for me is like "PERL" for you. No matter how much experience I have with some other sports, I can't play basketball. BTW: it's not "my" sport and I could never make a decent let alone a mediocre player. But I could at least study the rules. You ignore the very basic "rules" of Perl, nay, evidence is that you hardly get what Perl really is. So it's not surprising that you find it "to be pretty hard to use".

So my piece of advice is: forget about your 22 years worth of experience: you will have to start learning anew something different from what you already know. Also, 22 years mean nothing a priori: given her age, Audrey Tang can hardly have that many years of programming experience. Yet she's a much better hacker than many older programmers with longer lasting programming careers, and when I think of her I doubt I will ever be such an extraordinaire one! It's quality that matters, not quantity!

I guess what I am trying to say is if someone has tech as me has trouble with PERL what does that average Joe experiance when trying to hack code?

I don't know if I'm as tech as you, but Perl was a natural pick for me. However I had some previous experience with other programming languages, although none of them really "caught" me as much as Perl.

Thanks again for all the help I am still working on getting this going - Just throwing this out for discussion. Also lots of really technical people in my hometown have never even heard of PERL!

As the funny anecdote derby reported in another thread of yours shows, many people regard themselves and are possibly even regarded as "technical" without really being, or being only in some limited sense. You can by no means be an expert in "everything". I guess I'm a pretty "technical guy" in some application areas but I have no experience with videogames and only limited sysadmin skills and know-how, for example. Also, it's not surprising at all that they haven't ever heard about Perl! There are quite a lot of other programming languages actively used, not to mention abandoned ones that are still of historical interest: do they know "all" the other ones?!?


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