|Don't ask to ask, just ask|
...parrot seems frivolous and unnecessary
I am glad we're making a platform that can run different languages. Parrot has the potential to pull much of the dynamically typed language community together and can give it a solid footing. If there is a great Python library that I want to use, I can run it through Parrot and use it from Perl without much effort. You can also use Parrot assembly directly from Perl and get the performance benefits without being forced to learn C. And the JIT compiler will be a godsend for many programmers. It will be wonderful to compile and distribute an actual application, rather than many of the hodgepodges that we have now.
the use of . instead of -> and _ instead of . utterly disgusts me.
The underscore is there because the dot operator no longer represents concatenation. As for the dot operator, once I became used to the change, I was happy for it. First of all, it represents less punctuation. Whether justified or not, many people gripe about Perl's excessive and sometimes confusing punctuation and this will help to alleviate that concern. Of course, if one is going to reduce punctuation, one should do it for commonly done things. The arrow operator is one of those things and since everyone else already uses the dot, it's a pretty natural conversion.
Incidentally, take a look at some VB6 or VBScript code and compare it to the code written for Win32 modules. Quite often, lines of code are identical, except for the difference between the arrow and the dot. This makes less of a barrier for people coming to Perl. We shouldn't be here to be elitist. We should be here because Perl Gets Things Done. If switching from an arrow to a dot improves that and makes Perl seem less intimidating, so be it.
Returning to the punctuation problem, the shift from arrow to dot is part of the overall plan to extend Perl yet make it easier to learn. This has led to standardizing the sigils of variables so that they denote type instead of what the variable is returning. For instance:
The above syntax is already what many new programmers expect out of Perl5. We have to violate their expectations to explain the difference between accessing a single array value or an array slice. Further, the following monstrosities in Perl 5 can hopefully go away:
(out of time and need to get to work ... I'm sure others can come up with better examples and show how they'll look in Perl6)