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Organizational Culture (Part IV): Perl Culture

by eyepopslikeamosquito (Bishop)
on Jul 05, 2021 at 13:25 UTC ( #11134669=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Perl makes easy things easy and hard things possible

-- Official Perl Slogan, coined by Larry Wall

Haskell makes hard things easy and easy things weird

-- Larry shows his sense of humour by coining an unofficial Haskell slogan

> I cannot decide if your analogies are false since I cannot make heads or tails of them
You should try to make CARs and CDRs of them instead

-- Larry teasing (the serious-minded) functional programming community on comp.lang.lisp, Jan 21 1993

Struggling to make heads or tails (sorry, CARs and CDRs) of Perl culture, I decided to focus on Perl's creator, Larry Wall. As indicated by the quotes above - and Larry Wall wikiquotes - humour is a huge part of Perl culture. Especially compared to the PhD-powered functional programming community - for those doubting this stark cultural difference, see the "Black Perl" and "Haskerl" sections at The Lighter Side of Perl Culture (Part VI): April Fools. :)

Seeking further insights into Perl culture, I began reading Larry's Culture of Perl keynote from The Perl Conference of '97. I really struggled to relate to it though, couldn't make heads or tails of it. Later in the day I suddenly remembered my fluky lunch date with Larry from years ago. The strong impression I felt that day was Larry's extraordinary intelligence combined with a delightful kindness and gentleness. Combining those feelings with Larry's final metaphor from The Culture of Perl:

the theological metaphor I want to leave you with is simply that it is better to give than to receive
and this quote from the Perl Culture chapter of Programming Perl:
the only personality trait Perl programmers have in common is that they're all pathologically helpful
leads to my two primary characteristics of Perl culture:
  • generosity and helpfulness
  • quirky sense of humour
As you might expect from my posting history, I never could embrace TMTOWTDI, much preferring TIMTOWTDIBSCINABTE (pronounced Tim Toady Bicarbonate).

What are your top two or three attributes of Perl culture?

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