in reply to Unix shell versus Perl
Portable anything is difficult, the question is how difficult.
If you give me the option of porting a shell script and a Perl script to a win32 environment, I'll take Perl. It's still not a fun job, but at least it isn't a painful job.
Throwing nuclear weapons into the sun
Making everybody on Earth disappear
A threat from an alien with a mighty robot
A new technology or communications medium
Providing a magic fish to a Miss Universe
Establishing a Group mind
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