Oh, but I disagree. Kind of. I see no problem in judging a piece of art by its appearance. And that's pretty much what this aspect of the language wars is focusing on: aesthetics. What looks good, feels right. Even in perl, some people have balked at $', $$, and other such "non-sensical" variable names. Which is why we have the English module. To give these variables actual names.
"I may be fat, but you're ugly - and I can lose weight!" At least Perl's "ugliness" can be overcome. ;-)
And some of it is - in perl 6, $_ becomes even more optional than in perl 5. The English module will likely live on. Parens become more optional - but nothing says they can't still be used.
There are different ways of thinking, and different ways of expressing oneself. And different languages are different ways of expressing oneself - you need to find the language(s) that allow you to express yourself in the most reliable, maintainable, and flexible (to changing requirements) fashion. Sometimes that will be perl. Sometimes that may be lisp. Other times C, C++, C#, .Net, Java, shell scripting, or whatever. Probably not ForTran or COBOL, though.
Bottom line is that you need to be productive. That is, you need to produce something. To me, it's just like the editor wars. Most of my team has switched to FTE, partly because I'm a member of that project. But I stressed to each person that, at the end of the day, your choice of editor is immaterial, as long as you are productive in it. If you find vi is the most productive editor for you, use it! If it's emacs, fte, nedit, or "cat > foo.C", it doesn't bother me. However, we don't write editors in our group, so don't write your own. Just find one and use it. However, if it's not the same as me, there is some razzing to be taken. :-)
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