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To monks who are interested in contributing to Perl 6 but are not now doing so. What is stopping you?

by raiph (Deacon)
on May 10, 2013 at 20:07 UTC ( #1033018=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Hi Monks,

One way for the Perl 6 community to attract contribution to Perl 6 is to write How-To instructions. This meditation is a request for brainstorming and constructive comments on what else we can do. For example, would a Perl 6 realm on questhub be helpful?

Please don't post if you are not currently interested in contributing to Perl 6. If you do post, please hug trolls and focus on helping yourself or other potential Perl 6 contributors get what you/they want. Thanks!

  • Comment on To monks who are interested in contributing to Perl 6 but are not now doing so. What is stopping you?

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Re: To monks who are interested in contributing to Perl 6 but are not now doing so. What is stopping you?
by Your Mother (Bishop) on May 10, 2013 at 20:17 UTC
    • Stepping on toes.
    • Establishing stupid namespaces, etc, that will become a FILO albatross.
    • Writing Perl6 that is indistinguishable from Perl5.
    • Revealing the limits of my IQ by not utilizing Perl6 metaops and such to the fullest.
    • Acquiring another set of modules I don’t have time to maintain.
    • Getting flamed/embarrassed/called-out or having to listen, even from the sidelines, to another lecture/argument about how Perl6 is TEH FUTUR or the END O’DAYS depending on where you sit.
      Edit: Let me emphasize that I very much appreciate any and all sincere or good humored responses. This includes lists like yours or the one-liners a couple folk have added. My intent below isn't a rebuttal by any means; it's just an attempt to clarify the points I didn't understand and/or suggest a mitigation that folk reading along might appreciate.

      Stepping on toes.

      Edit: Do you mean that the mere act of contributing to Perl 6 will tick some folk off in such a way that it's just not worth it?

      Establishing stupid namespaces, etc, that will become a FILO albatross.

      Do you think there are already stupid Perl 6 namespaces etc. that have become permanent?

      Are you interested in the underlying technical mechanisms at both language and archive levels? Or is your main focus the social processes that build on top of those? In case the former applies:

      The spec defines a module/cpan namespace mechanism. There have been many pre-implementation related discussions on #perl6, especially over the last year. FROGGS wrote up some rough notes a few months ago. More recently, lizmat, who was part of the recent Perl 5 QA hackathon focused on CPAN, has begun working on implementation for Rakudo. She posted Goal for supporting auth / version / name in module / class / grammar ? earlier today.

      If you have input on any of this, please consider visiting the #perl6 IRC channel on freenode.net.

      Writing Perl6 that is indistinguishable from Perl5.

      Heh. I think it's fair to say that if you do a pull request of a patch that passes relevant tests, you have likely contributed even if it doesn't get committed as is. Several major #perl6 contributors are also well known as friendly teachers of Perl programming, both 5 + 6, so you may find writing an initial patch Perl 5 style is a great way to get free feedback that teaches you Perl 6.

      Another option is learning some part of the Perl 6 codebase so you can help debug it and produce small patches. This commit from 4 days ago consisted of adding two characters but had a huge pay off. Several people collaborated to locate the problem, read the code, and figure out the short and long term fixes. So, not typical, but shows that simply learning to read Perl 6 and help debug code can be a very valuable contribution. (And there's also doc, tests, and so on of course.)

      Revealing the limits of my IQ by not utilizing Perl6 metaops and such to the fullest.

      Heh. What do you think might be done to make you feel more relaxed about that sort of thing?

      Acquiring another set of modules I don’t have time to maintain.

      I hereby command you not to acquire any Perl 6 modules. :)

      Getting flamed/embarrassed/called-out or having to listen, even from the sidelines, to another lecture/argument about how Perl6 is TEH FUTUR or the END O’DAYS depending on where you sit.

      Those sorts of conversations pretty much don't happen on #perl6. Folk are busy contributing or having fun/worthwhile discussions. It's a very productive atmosphere. You may have noticed that #perl6ers like Moritz Lenz seldom mention Perl 6 on PerlMonks despite that being their main focus. So one solution is to ignore the trolling that happens outside #perl6 and focus on finishing the product.

      (Of course, that begs the question of why I'm posting this meditation. My response is that I haven't yet concluded that no one on PerlMonks is interested in contributing to Perl 6, and I'm currently willing to navigate among the trolls.)

      Thanks for commenting. I hope my reply was helpful.

        All my reasons were either selfish or insecure. :P I thought the little hackathon/tutorial thingy for perl6 the other day came off very well and it got me to install perl6 on my new box and at work and poke around and try some of the problems/solutions. I didn’t get very far for lack of time (was a work day after all) but I see perl6 as a viable development tool already and didn’t the last time I really tried about 2 years ago. Speed and error messages are vastly improved and that was my major complaint before. The new built-in “REPL” and .perl alone are super inviting.

      Looks like the poll options for this question. Could maybe add my own reason: "Just too damn lazy!"

        Or "Too busy living/writing perl"
Re: To monks who are interested in contributing to Perl 6 but are not now doing so. What is stopping you?
by curiousmonk (Beadle) on May 14, 2013 at 03:52 UTC

    Basically there is a skill set gap. Nearly every one likes to contribute to a project this big and significant. But it will need much application of effort, time and energy to even get started and do something significant. Given most people have to tend to their full time jobs, have responsibilities (both financial and in other kinds) and are badly strapped for time. It will definitely require more than just 'trying' to contribute significantly to Perl 6 kind of a project.

    Also not all people are altruistic like the current Perl 6 contributors(I have utmost respect for the current contributors, All of them Jonathan, Masak, Moritz, Larry, Patrick.. I mean every one who has contributed). People tend to think learning as investment in time and effort rewards of which they can reap later.

    So if you are expecting people to invest in something like Perl 6, you also need to bring it out ASAP. I don't want to get into another 'readiness' debate. But the fact of the matter is, if some one asks you if they can simply go and use Perl 6 for all things they use Perl 5 today- Your answer will be a straight 'No'.

    I am willing to bet that once something you yourself call 'production ready 6.0 release' is out. Module contributions will come in floods. But until then most people are going to stick with they think is going to be around for a long time. And that's hardly surprising.

      There’s your problem:

      ... if some one asks you if they can simply go and use Perl 6 for all things they use Perl 5 today, Your answer will be a straight 'No.'

      “Therefore, it is not ‘Perl-6.’”   Period, hard-stop, end-of-sentence.   I don’t know what it is (and at this point I frankly do not find reason to care), but the bottom line is that you are creating:   a different language.   Stack it alongside, say, Haskell or Lustre or Simple or Sartre or Brainf*ck or InterCal or Piet or Whitespace, and hope for the best.   But, please, don’t play out in real-life the old joke about the woman who was married to an IBM salesman for thirty years but was still a virgin ... “all he did was to sit on the edge of the bed and tell me how good it was going to be.”   :-)

        Postscript:   the above post was mine.   I don’t know why PerlMonks logged me out.   I own these words.   Attach your down-votes here ...

        (And to the above list of languages I would have cheerfully added ... “or C++ or Ruby or Perl5 or ...”     (Insert the wildly-successful programming language of your personal choice or prejudice.)   This is engineering, and in the Engineering world you live-or-die by a strange combination of virtue, good fortune, and pure dumb luck.   (But somehow, meanwhile, you get the job done.)

Re: To monks who are interested in contributing to Perl 6 but are not now doing so. What is stopping you?
by fisher (Priest) on May 14, 2013 at 15:59 UTC
    Hey but...

    Just before contributing I believe I should became a user for this product. But the last time I tried Rakudo I found myself in struggle just because of lack of documentation.

    When I say 'documentation' I actually mean the full chain of 'quick getting started', 'the complete user manual', and 'internal architecture/design for hackers'. All I saw before was the type one of these, how to install and run the fresh-built binary. Yes I understand that the code itself is not yet done, but this fact is not a blocker for documentation process. I believe this needs a huge effort from developer team and especially project leads -- take as an example the OpenBSD project -- they refuse any changes if these changes are not documented.

    Resuming -- no how-tos, but the complete manual is needed to gain userbase and only after that the part of it maybe became your contributors. This is just my opinion, hope it helps.

      Updated Nov 2013. Reformatted, tweaked content, mentioned videos and jnthn's slides.

      Added Dec 2013. re: 'internal architecture/design for hackers'.

      If you last looked more than 18 months ago, I'd say the doc situation has significantly improved. There isn't a complete manual by any means, but perhaps what is now in place is enough to get some folk up to speed.

      New since summer 2012 or thereabouts:

      Of course, some doc related projects started more than a year ago have been further developed. Most notably, Larry Wall, with help from a few others, has pushed the count of Perl 6 Rosettacode entries to around 600.

      (Talking of Larry, he has said he is working toward publishing an O'Reilly book, a Perl 6 equivalent of the Perl 5 "bible" Programming Perl.)

      With all that said, a word of caution. If by "user" you mean relying on Perl 6 the way someone might rely on Perl 5, things are far, far from that. Perl 6 won't be able to support users and doesn't need contributors in the way that Perl 5 supports users and needs contributors; Perl 6 can only support users willing to work with it despite its many weaknesses and relatively high rate of change from release to release.

      Hth someone!

        "a solid start of what may become" ?

        What is so defective in perl-6 that you believe that is acceptible? Is that supposed to make people happier about perl-6? Why not tell people "oh the source code documents itself" and admit that you hate the users you don't have? What is so hard to admit about that?

Re: To monks who are interested in contributing to Perl 6 but are not now doing so. What is stopping you?
by pvaldes (Chaplain) on May 16, 2013 at 19:09 UTC

    Yup, you can't have a "brainstorming" and "don't post if" in the same place, both are mutually exclusive concepts.

    would a Perl 6 realm on questhub be helpful?

    Probably not

Re: To monks who are interested in contributing to Perl 6 but are not now doing so. What is stopping you?
by Anonymous Monk on May 17, 2013 at 22:39 UTC
    This language would probably have a much better chance if you called it "Rakudo" or "Maven" or whatever-you-want ... instead of attempting to tie it to a language to which it in fact bears little resemblance. Even "God Larry" writing a book about it won't make it Perl++.
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