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A meditation on the naming of perl6

by stevieb (Abbot)
on Jul 07, 2017 at 13:38 UTC ( #1194498=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

An interesting meditation by zoffix on a potential name tweak to perl6 over on Perl blogs.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: A meditation on the naming of perl6
by BrowserUk (Pope) on Jul 07, 2017 at 22:34 UTC

    My verdict would be: too little, and far too late. The damage -- significant damage -- to both language variants was done and dusted a long time since. Sad to say, but I think recovery at this stage is impossible for both camps.

    In part, the marginalisation of Perl(X) has come about because different parts of its once hugely broad domain wanted different things from it.

    • The web market wanted a simpler language, substituting built-ins for common patterns of code: They got PHP.

      Server side for 'simple' websites that is. For anything interactive Javascript/JQuery is really the only player in a game that Perl simply had no cards in.

    • The math/science/CS people wanted less magic and more rigour: they got Python.
    • The embedded market wanted smaller, cleaner, reentrant: they got Lua.
    • The corporate IT world wanted "reusable code" -- despite that 95% of reusable code is never reused -- and that means objects: they got Java.

    Even without the self-inflicted wounds caused by the naming, delays and infighting, Perl was always going to have a tough time to compete on all fronts. With them, it stood no chance.

    Whilst I still use Perl5 for prototyping, I haven't produced a 'production program' in it for over 2 years.

    With the rise and rise of 'Social' network sites: 'Computers are making people easier to use everyday'
    Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
    "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority". The enemy of (IT) success is complexity.
    In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice. Suck that fhit

      When I was still a university student, the CS department was steeped in Scheme. Meanwhile, in engineering, we were using C and a little assembly language as needed. One of the CS classes I took also used some Pascal (because the professor was steeped in Pascal and still learning Scheme). A few of the engineering libraries were written in FORTRAN, still around because "if it ain't broke, don't replace it". But mostly, we coded in C.

      Now, many years later, as a professional developer in the embedded market, still using C. In the testing group, many of the tools they use have various dialects of Lua as scripting languages. Several use Excel spreadsheets as their scripting "language". A few use "Labview" (National Instruments' graphical programming system for their test controllers).

      Perl is our data munging and "build script" language. It gets the job done, usually very nicely.

      The IT departments of my current and past 2 employers code in Power Shell, C# and SAP Scripting language.

      The network admins, though, use Perl and bash.

      I don't know what other companies use.

        Perl's utility hasn't and won't go away. In 10 years or 20 it will still be as good a language as it ever was; and that's very damn good. The problem will be finding companies that are prepared to accept it's use on their projects & systems.

        Eg. For anything that needs to work with AWS until very recently you were totally out of luck. As of 2015, a community effort started to put together a Perl interface to it in the shape of PAWS. By roughly the beginning of this year, they had something that could be seen as reasonably robust; for those AWS services it covers. But that set is only a subset of those available; and the delay between AWS adding new ones and those becoming available via PAWS grows longer.

        These problems do not occur for the users of Go, Java, JavaScript, PHP, Python, Ruby, Windows and .NET, C++; for which AWS write and maintain the interfaces and mostly release simultaneously with the announcement of new APIs.

        As an in-house perl programmer, you will tend to move between companies that use Perl; as a specialist consultant, the pieces of work I choose from tend to come from a small range of organisations many of whom are now outsourcing the type of workloads I code to AWS/GCP/MAS; none of whom offer Perl support, thus the Perl opportunities in my field have dried up.

        I hate to say that the battle is lost; but I see no way back when those 3 cloud vendors cover 9x% of that market place and they -- for pretty sound reasons -- have rejected Perl.

        With the rise and rise of 'Social' network sites: 'Computers are making people easier to use everyday'
        Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
        "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority". The enemy of (IT) success is complexity.
        In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice. Suck that fhit
Re: A meditation on the naming of perl6
by Anonymous Monk on Jul 07, 2017 at 21:13 UTC

    The Perl 6 language—to which I shall refer to as Rakudo language, for the rest of the article—is versioned separately from its implementations and is defined by the specification.

    (Emphasis is mine.) And I thought Rakudo (and rakudo) was an implementation of Perl 6, not a specification itself. Also, did not think Zoffix Z would be the one to conflate the two. Dang it!

Re: A meditation on the naming of perl6
by 1nickt (Monsignor) on Jul 07, 2017 at 16:24 UTC

    While it is perhaps a positive sign to see that it's finally dawning on one of the leading "Perl6" advocates that the butterfly language is not actually Perl (as per the globally accepted meaning of that term), it's unfortunately not much help.

    The problem is that this particular bandwagon-jumper, er ... advocate, came so much later to the "party" than the other bandwagon-jumpers, er ... advocates, who have been busily staking a claim in the hoped-for "Perl6" gold rush, writing books about a non-production ready language they are learning, running crowd-funding campaigns to underwrite the aforementioned, etc. Those folks all have too much invested in the wrong name, as the blogger acknowledged.

    On the other hand his hubris is so enormous that he's apparently unilaterally changing the name in his own writings, and heaven knows that hubris has been the hallmark of the butterfly language so far, so he might just succeed in his quest. Too bad it's only half the job. Perhaps the '6' could be deprecated and phased out over a year or two. 'Rakudo Perl' and 'Perl 7'* -- I could get behind that.

    * or 'Perl 28' or even just keep going with 'Perl 5.28 .. Perl 5.99' so long as the damn '6' were dropped)

    The way forward always starts with a minimal test.
Re: A meditation on the naming of perl6
by sundialsvc4 (Abbot) on Jul 10, 2017 at 14:31 UTC

    I dunno ... software tends to live forever in whatever language(s) it was started in.   Perl(5) continues to do what it was designed to do for those systems, and this alone I think will keep it in the main stream for decades to come.   Like COBOL, it will forever continue to be the implementation language of revenue-producing legacy code.   For that reason alone it will continue to be important.   Perl(5) still is a Swiss Army® Knife for an awful lot of things.   Well-implemented, and able to leverage a truly vast library of tested contributed code, this tool still moves the freight that pays the bills.

    But, probably, not for new systems.   (And I will say the same for PHP and, at least within web circles, Python, all IMHO.)

    Just as ADD 1 TO COBOL GIVING COBOL. was more-or-less always an academic curiosity, I don’t think that Perl(5) will ever have, nor that it ever needed, a “successor.”   It would have been far better to call the successor to Perl(5) Ruby Rakudo, or something, anything else which did not imply that it actually was an upward-compatible successor to anything.   (The fact that the team was fractured over wildly divergent implementation choices and wanted to run on JVM didn’t help matters, either.)   The choice of a Perl6 name was an attempt to “bootstrap” upon the success of the Perl5 language and its enormous contributed library.   A clear message never developed, and maybe that clear message never was there at all.   It offered no implementation advantages to mitigate the cost and the business risk of materially changing “a Perl5 code-base that is right now successfully running the business.”   But, you could never say such a thing to any of the language’s now-shrinking number of pundits at that time.   They just wouldn’t listen.   Maybe they still won’t now.   Will the last pundit left standing please turn off the lights.

    Edit:   Perhaps this is a little bit too harsh.   After all, new(!) programming languages do appear all the time, and most of them are indeed serious attempts to refine and to build upon what has come before.   In this particular case, though, I think that this entirely-different set of implementors (and, Larry Wall himself, as the registered owner of the Perl® trademark) erred by trying unsuccessfully to link this new(!) language to their (his ...) previous wildly-successful creation.   It is not properly a “Version 6” of anything, and I fear that it has suffered grievously ... and perhaps, unnecessarily ... from the pretense.

    Many other programming languages have tried hard to follow in Perl’s footsteps, and the most-notable of these that comes to my mind is Ruby.   Ruby copied many key concepts from Perl, and yet it never pretended to be “Perl++.”   From day one, it established itself as a clearly-separate brand with a clearly-distinct ancestry, and it always seemed to know what it wanted to be when it grew up.   By comparison, Perl6 produced only brand-name confusion, and it seems to IMHO that the market responded by ignoring it.   Which just might be a damned shame.

      #!/usr/bin/env perl # $Id:,v 1.5 2017/07/10 17:37:57 karl Exp karl $ use strict; use warnings; use feature qw(say); $SIG{INT} = sub { die q(Nuff said!); }; say q(Did you post some valid code today?); my $answer; ANSWER: { chomp( $answer = <STDIN> ) } $answer = lc $answer; my %dispatch = ( 'yes' => sub { say q(Good!) }, 'no' => sub { say q(Bad!) }, 'nada' => sub { say q(Answer yes or no!); goto ANSWER; } ); ( $dispatch{$answer} || $dispatch{nada} )->(); __END__

      «The Crux of the Biscuit is the Apostrophe»

      perl -MCrypt::CBC -E 'say Crypt::CBC->new(-key=>'kgb',-cipher=>"Blowfish")->decrypt_hex($ENV{KARL});'Help

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