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Re: PERL as shibboleth and the Perl community

by rir (Vicar)
on Nov 24, 2005 at 06:00 UTC ( #511329=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to PERL as shibboleth and the Perl community

Ha! I resisted the first bait but--Hey! I'm just a fish.

Using PERL as screening criteria is reasonable to me.
Litmus tests are cheap and require little skill or effort. They do measure only one attribute; they do have their place.

But not for an initially given reason.
Cultures do not deserve respect, people do. A culture seems to inhere in, or adhere to, its people but is foolish to confuse the two.

On ethics.
Generosity is greater than fairness. I test the fit of the concept of generosity in all the places that I previously used fairness. This has been fruitful. Fairness or justice can easily become an exercise in miserly bean counting--did I get mine? Generosity promotes a finer intention and diminishes the importance of what is beyond your control.

Much of the elite of perlmonks is supporting the significance of Perl versus PERL. I don't know to what degree this is driven by self-interest. I doubt many have considered the issue--it is such a small matter. I use Perl and perl as prescribed by that elite; if it was my code I'd be a cargo cult programmer but since it's my English I'm a clueful character. There is something amusingly weird in that.

Be well,

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Re^2: PERL as shibboleth and the Perl community
by Aristotle (Chancellor) on Nov 24, 2005 at 07:34 UTC

    I was with you until you drew the cargo cult parallel. How is that applicable? “Use strict and warnings” is a mantra when writing code; “avoid GOTO” has been another one for a long time. Sure, “know when not to” is added on occasion; but just because something is considered good style and widely followed in a community does not make following it mere cargo cult.

    Makeshifts last the longest.

      Sorry I was obscure. Please note that that paragraph was designated Humor and not to be taken too seriously. I learned Perl from the first two Camel Books, very roughly from the first edition and with a little depth from the second. So I emulated the code presented there, specifically the bits return bless {}, ref( $self) || $self; and sub AUTOLOAD seemed to be recommended by the authors. So I used them, this was cargo culting. The cuteness and convenience of the constructs seduced me; obviously I was not alone. Now I would be more cognizant that a manual's authors obligation to demonstrate the features of a language surpasses their duty to instruct the reader about when to use the various features. Wall, Chrisiansen, and Schwartz wrote it and I imitated it--cargo cult.

      If I use Perl over PERL because well respected members of perlmonks indicate that it is proper that, again, is imitation. Again based on deference to authority--cargo cult. In my case my recollection of the pink Camel is that it presented PERL as much an acronym as BASIC. That I discount my own memory makes it an exceptional case of cultism. That Perlers will think me foolish for the former and fine for the latter does amuse me slightly.

      Regarding use strict; I had used perl as a replacement for awk, sed, and sh. I complained of the non-scalability of perl and was clued to the creation of the strict pragma. That increased my interest in Perl. My usage of strict is not cargo cultism, I avoided writing all but small scripts because I understood all too well some of the problems that it deals with.

      just because something is considered good style and [is] widely followed in a community does not make following it mere cargo cult.

      I say if such prejudices or judgements of the herd, or herd leaders, are the only reasons one follows a practice it is mere cargo cult. I do not disdain cargo cultism. I understand the negative connotations but do not give them weight. Some cargo culting is unavoidable. We learn by doing so we may be doing something we do not much understand, if it works for us and others it may go unquestioned by many. There is an efficiency in that.

      Be well,

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