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Are monks hibernating?

by BrowserUk (Patriarch)
on Feb 13, 2007 at 16:50 UTC ( [id://599721] : monkdiscuss . print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Can anyone with superpowers and 5 minutes to spare, confirm my gut feeling that PM has been exceptionally quiet over the last 2 to 3 months?

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".
In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Are monks hibernating?
by fenLisesi (Priest) on Feb 13, 2007 at 20:05 UTC
    Thou still unravish'd bride of --quietness!
    Thou forked-child of silence and IP::Country::Slow time(),
    Workflow::Historian, who canst thus Class::Meta::Express
    An Acme::Floral tale more Class::DBI::Sweetly than our Lingua::Rhyme:
    What leaf-fringed B-Tree haunts about thy Geo::Shape
    Of Perl deities or newbies, or of both,
    In File::Tempe or the dales of Arc::Servery?
    What monks or gods are these? What she-dragons and -kitties loth?
    What Audio::Mad pursuit? What struggle to uri_escape?
    What pipes and SIGPIPEs? What Config::Wild ecstasy?

    Hurd maladies are sweet, but GPL'd kernels
    Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft IO::Pipes, play on;
    Not to the senseless PEAR, but, in Net::SSL tunnels,
    POE::Pipe to the spirit daemons of no tone:
    Weighted Fair youth, beneath the Tree::Tries, thou canst not leave
    Thy Music::ABC::Song, nor those tries have words bare;
    Bold font Lover, never canst thou Math::Random::Kiss,
    Though Win32 confounds AI::ExpertSystem::Simple::Goal - do not grieve;
    GPL cannot fade, use Acme::Comment type => 'Bliss',
    For ever wilt thou love, and the queue be fair!

    Ah, bereaved, doleful SVN boughs! that cannot Data::Dump
    Your Java leaves, nor ever bid the Spring framework adieu;
    And, happy Perl Monger, riding high on a camel's hump,
    For ever piping STDOUT for $ever->new();
    Carp::Assert::More happy love! more happy, happy love!
    Servers in warm startup and still to be firewall'd,
    For ever CPANting and for ever young;
    All breathing Time::Human passion far above,
    That leaves CORE high-sorrowful and cloyed,
    A burning MIME::Head, and a parsing mung.

    Who are these coming to the Monastery?
    To what green service provider, O mysterious Priest,
    Lead'st thou that hyperthreading dromedary,
    And all her silken flanks for nineteen-inch cabinets drest?
    What Config::Tiny town by river or sea-shore,
    Or Module::Built with Object::Deadly citadel,
    Will host YAPC, this pious morn?
    And, Little's Moose, thy accessors for evermore
    Will silent be; and not a handle, to tell()
    Why thou art desolate, can e'er return().

    O Artistic License! Fair attitude! Mersenne-twisted
    Synapses brooding on Synopses on the Apocalypse, wrought
    In hallowed Forrest, dereferenced, flat-listed;
    Thou, silent HTML::Form, dost tease us out of thought
    As doth a while(1) eternity: Water-cooled Pastoral!
    When $old->age({ shall => $this->generator( \%waste ) }),
    PM, thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
    Than ours, a friend to llama, to whom thou say()st,
    "Beauty is Perl, Perl beauty, - that is all
    Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."

Re: Are monks hibernating?
by jbert (Priest) on Feb 13, 2007 at 17:44 UTC
    <div class="hidden_from_browseruk">Ssssh everyone. Don't spoil the joke.<div>

    Nothing to see here, move along.

      ........................ /me hides
Re: Are monks hibernating?
by grinder (Bishop) on Feb 13, 2007 at 18:52 UTC

    Hibernating, I don't know, but the post volume has clearly declined, as shown by jcwren's PTAV. January 2007 was the quietest month since the year 2000.

    (No superpowers were hurt during the creation of this node).

    • another intruder with the mooring in the heart of the Perl

      (No superpowers were hurt during the creation of this node).
Re: Are monks hibernating?
by Old_Gray_Bear (Bishop) on Feb 13, 2007 at 18:49 UTC
    Of course I'm hibernating, silly. I'm a Bear.

    I Go Back to Sleep, Now.


Re: Are monks hibernating?
by suaveant (Parson) on Feb 13, 2007 at 18:08 UTC
    All the questions have been answered. We're done. ;)

                    - Ant
                    - Some of my best work - (1 2 3)

      Although said in jest, for me ant is correct. I've noticed that there's really been a lack of worthy questions of late ... but maybe that's just me and my mid-winter blues.

Re: Are monks hibernating?
by jmcnamara (Monsignor) on Feb 14, 2007 at 01:35 UTC

      It really does look like Perl has seen it's best years on the basis of those stats. Unless people are finding some other source of support and assistance.

      One wonders what it would take to re-invigorate interest? Will 5.10 have sufficient new features or improvements to rekindle the flame? Would an installable version of Perl 6 with sufficent performance to at least equal Perl 5 do the trick?

      I've been looking to find an alternative to Perl in order to take many of my interesting projects further. The single biggest reason is sub/method call performance that means that every layer of abstraction you add, the slower the code runs. I've stalled on several projects because I've initially started out with nicely structured code only to find myself de-structuring it to try and recover some performance. Perl OO is just so slow. I've investigated writing OO using Inline::C, but even then the wrapping process that mates C to XS to Perl just sucks away most of the performance gains. Writing XS directly can save some of that, but then you're in a whole other world of pain.

      I'd love the idea of moving on to Perl 6, but it's current levels of performance preclude that.

      There are plenty of alternatives, but none of them have the flexiblity of Perl. And each seems to have some quirk or caveat that niggles me enough that I end up back in Perl.

      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".
      In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.
        For me, Perl is every bit as powerful and fun to use this month as it was last month. Even more, actually; new modules or improvements to existing modules are posted to CPAN every single day.

        Even if it's true that the level of participation has gone down, the level of participation is still enormous. As always, that participation includes people who are new to the language. Many of them are in the process of becoming regular Perl users who will make valuable contributions to the community or even to the Perl code itself.

        What does it matter if Perl isn't as "popular" as it was last month or last year? Sheer popularity matters when electing a Prom King and Queen at high school (although I've never seen that achievement actually listed on a resume).

        Perl is popular enough, meaning it continues to attract enough bright, interesting new people to push the language forward.

        "Re-invigorate interest"? That implies there isn't any interest or that there isn't enough interest. There continues to be an enormous amount of interest. It's more than enough interest.

        "Re-kindle the flame"? That implies the flame has gone out. No way, man.

        What we need to do on PerlMonks and in other public venues is to make the new people feel good so they'll stay a while. Some of them are on their first date. Others are going out for the second or third time. They are trying to decide whether they'd like to take the time and effort to get to know this person and possibly make a commitment. You're out to eat at a nice restaurant with your date (the "PerlMonks Cafe") but when you go into the restroom you overhear some guy talking about your date: "Yeah, I've gone out with her and she still gets dates but not as many as she used to ... so she's seen her best years." You return to your table a bit discouraged. Do those other guys know something you don't know, or are they just fascinated with the new girl in town who wears tight sweaters (we'll call her "Ruby")? If you let that kind of popularity be your guide and end your date now, you might well miss the opportunity to get to know the one who would be your loyal soulmate for life.

        Interesting -- there are good reasons to use Perl -- fast to prototype, works easily on many platforms, all those yummy modules on CPAN -- yet speed, while very good, is not Perl's best feature.

        For speed you do have to go to C or assembler -- that's something I know from experience. So at that point the question becomes, How much do you do in Perl, and how much in C? Should you bother to do *any* of the project in Perl?

        I haven't written a large project in C in quite some time -- about ten years -- but when I have time, I'd love to do it again. With enough planning, the right structure and a great development environment, it would be lots of fun.

        Alex / talexb / Toronto

        "Groklaw is the open-source mentality applied to legal research" ~ Linus Torvalds

        One wonders what it would take to re-invigorate interest? Will 5.10 have sufficient new features or improvements to rekindle the flame?

        Im hoping it will raise the excitement level somewhat. Ive had a modest amount of feedback about the new regex features that would indicate that there is some enthusiasm for a new release.

        Would an installable version of Perl 6 with sufficent performance to at least equal Perl 5 do the trick?

        I'm sure it would. Although I'm sure the current perl6 folks would object to the implication that the current perl6 isn't installable. :-)


        Yeah, I noticed a falloff in posts around Christmas, lasting until the SuperBowl was over. Maybe people are too dulled from partying to be thinking about code? Actually today was the first day in a long time, that there seemed to be alot of posts.

        Not that anyone would notice my lack of posts, but I've been spending my time trying to learn enough c to do GLib . To me, it is a nice attempt to fix some c problems, like c strings, arrays ,hashs and automatic memory allocation. Its also a breeze to do threads with GLib, much easier than Perl, because it lets you use shared values and subs without declaring them as shared. I've noticed the C++ people have done alot with Boost , which has libraries for handling text that almost make it as convenient as Perl, but its about 200 Megs of libraries which you need to learn. I'll make an attempt toward Glib, but leave Boost for the next generation. :-)

        So it seems that the compiled languages c and c++ are making great strides toward better usablity...... but there are still those f*c*ing Makefiles, which I don't ever think I will ever grasp.

        But maybe the lack of Perl questions, is a symptom of it's success? It has made almost all common problems easy to solve, and most questions have been repeatedly answered before, and can be found by a quick google search.

        I'm not really a human, but I play one on earth. Cogito ergo sum a bum
        I've investigated writing OO using Inline::C, but even then the wrapping process that mates C to XS to Perl just sucks away most of the performance gains. Writing XS directly can save some of that ...

        I see (from time to time) vague allusions to the notion that XS can achieve something that Inline::C cannot - and the above quote is just one more example of that.

        But then ... the allusions are so vague that I'm never sure that I've understood correctly :-)

        Are you saying that there's some performance improvement to be had by writing XS directly (that can't be achieved with Inline::C) ? If so, could you (or anyone) give an example - more for my own edification, rather than for any other reason.

        Given that Inline::C merely autogenerates an XS file, I find it hard to comprehend that the one has any advantage over the other (re performance).

        I'll go back to sleep, now :-)

        It really does look like Perl has seen it's best years on the basis of those stats.

        What? You think people are coming here for perl?

        I've been regularly reading on here for years now and this is the first time I've heard that the major bottle neck in Perl is that sub/methods calls are slow. It's common knowledge that Perl is significantly slower than straight C, but are you saying that the bulk of that slow down occurs due to sub/method calls being slow?
        I've recently been poking around the perlguts, writing some XS/Inline code, and reading Perl's C source, so I'd love to get a peek at the underlying reasons for the slowdown you mention--even just a cursory peek which is probably all I could comprehend at this point.
      c.l.p.m could also be suffering from a (supposed) more general decline in usenet usage (or usenet usage for programming-related questions).

      It would be interesting to graph number of new monks per month. I wonder how easy it would be to calculate that?

Re: Are monks hibernating?
by Limbic~Region (Chancellor) on Feb 13, 2007 at 21:30 UTC
    I have been less active then usual since early December for a number of reasons. First, a local security policy changed requiring the removal of all non-preinstalled software from our internet facing desktops. Then I spent three weeks in Maine for the holidays. Finally, I have been temporarily pulled on to a project normally managed by another group that is in the spotlight which prevents me from accessing the internet at all other than during short breaks.

    For a 35 day period starting on March 19th, my activity should spike. Expect it to drop back off after that.

    Cheers - L~R

Re: Are monks hibernating?
by jdporter (Chancellor) on Feb 22, 2007 at 15:33 UTC

    Well, I was doubtful of this. It's very easy to see trends when there really aren't any. So I decided to do some research.

    I looked at the rate of posting of root SoPW nodes since the beginning of the (PM) epoch. Here is what I found.

    First, the rate of posting has been very consistent throughout almost the entire history of PerlMonks. This in itself is interesting, because it could mean that interest in Perl has been flat, in the aggregate, despite developments in the product and the advancing competition. (Perhaps those factors balance out.)

    Second, there are at least two cycles visible in the rate of activity, one weekly and the other annual. This should come as no surprise.

    Third, beginning in March of last year, there has been a steady decline in the rate of SoPW postings. Just eyeballing the graph, trying to smooth out the various cycles, it looks like the current rate of SoPW postings is about one half of what it has been historically. I didn't do any analysis of the last 2 to 3 months specifically, but the trend has been fairly smooth, and we're now at the lowest level of SoPW activity since about January of 2001.

    I don't pretend to know what any of this signifies.

    A word spoken in Mind will reach its own level, in the objective world, by its own weight

      Thanks to you (and others) for looking up some numbers.

      I'm pretty convinced that the recent decline is due to me finally closing the back door where search engine spiders were (badly) indexing the site. Note, however, that bad indexing has at least some advantages over no indexing. The back door was closed for good reasons and it was thought that a long-running project to produce search-engine-friendly renditions of pages would be finished "RSN". Also, closing the back door doesn't appear to have magically ended our recurring problem with one of the web servers going "out to lunch".

      So, in the short term, we should probably re-open the front door (but keep the back door closed) and try to only open one front door (just, not nor etc) so that we have "okay" indexing. It will be unfortunate that snippets of CB content will be indexed and cached and some of the features for making it easier to do more powerful searches via google (et. al.) won't be there (my plan was to add keywords to pages so you could tell google that you only want to search a specific section or only for a certain author even if that author's name is something heavily used like "grep"), but at least we'd be on the map and "strangers" might find some of our useful content.

      I'll put that near the top of my to-do list.

      - tye        

        Okay, say "hello" to our new (dynamic) /robots.txt; what you see there will depend on what hostname you use to visit PerlMonks. Compare vs.

        Now we see how long it takes google, et al, to notice and then wait for the traffic levels to rise until the site becomes just annoyingly slow enough that we reach equilibrium (which I think explains the quite flat site traffic level prior to shutting out the search engine spiders).

        - tye        

Re: Are monks hibernating?
by jettero (Monsignor) on Feb 13, 2007 at 21:12 UTC
    ... for my part... I keep checking in every day, but I don't have time to participate in a meaningful way so I've been converted to a lurker... I pretty much just got back into the site like a month ago too. But my current schedule is killing me. work+moonlight gig+grad-school == severe illness? We'll just see.


Re: Are monks hibernating?
by tphyahoo (Vicar) on Feb 14, 2007 at 14:28 UTC

      I don't think that PM has ever been indexable? Though there used to be that static mirror that went away mid-way through last year that was indexable.

      Can't but help wonder if one of the alternative urls couldn't be made to simply present the nodes as 'static' entities. With none of the expensive bits. No user auth or checks; no user css or preferences; No edit facilities or print/with replies/xml/top index/etc.; no nodelets or CB; no hierarchal presentations. Each node just displays that nodes contents amd nothing but. And have the robots file redirect them to that.

      Would that reduce the cost of presenting a node sifficiently that PM could allow indexing without huge costs?

      I know that if such a simplified view of PM existed, I'd probably use it in preference to the current view for most things.

      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".
      In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.
        See also: Prlmnks

        Very handy for searching.


      I've also noticed things slowing down lately.

      I think you're very right about the google problem. I wonder if there's any correlation between the end of the site and a dwindling number of new users?

      I'd love to have some form of google search working again. I used to rely on it a lot, and I never seem to be able to find things as easily now with Super Search.

        I found Perlmonks through google hits at ThePen. I got the answer to a few questions this way and when I finally came up short I tried my first post to PM. I was stunned by the speed, accuracy and knowledge of the responses . I signed up for an account shortly thereafter. I think the loss of ThePen must have a deleterious effect on new recruits.


        Pereant, qui ante nos nostra dixerunt!
      Yes, I discovered just yesterday that Google is returning absolutely no search results for the query "" ... except the home page! I had been combining "" with some search terms, to see if Google could give me results quicker than the Super Search.

      Just saw the comment about ... I'll certainly give that a go. is the leading Perl message board, where years of valuable content have been contributed by Perl's brightest lights... it seems a darned shame that the search engines aren't picking up its content. Not good for the language or its users. Using search engines to find content on ought to "Just Work."

        Yes, I discovered just yesterday that Google is returning absolutely no search results for the query "" ... except the home page!

        I'm a little surprised it even returns the home page. The only search engines that'll index any part of this site are those nefarious ones that only index the pages you say not to.


Re: Are monks hibernating?
by rinceWind (Monsignor) on Feb 14, 2007 at 10:22 UTC

    Hibernating? No, I'm just waiting for a local event flag. (VMS joke)


    Oh Lord, won’t you burn me a Knoppix CD ?
    My friends all rate Windows, I must disagree.
    Your powers of persuasion will set them all free,
    So oh Lord, won’t you burn me a Knoppix CD ?
    (Missquoting Janis Joplin)

Re: Are monks hibernating?
by blue_cowdawg (Monsignor) on Feb 13, 2007 at 23:06 UTC

    I've been Hibernating and working on struts and putting up tiles! :-)

    Peter L. Berghold -- Unix Professional
    Peter -at- Berghold -dot- Net; AOL IM redcowdawg Yahoo IM: blue_cowdawg
Re: Are monks hibernating?
by artist (Parson) on Feb 13, 2007 at 22:26 UTC
    I have taken perl hiatus.
Re: Are monks hibernating?
by Marza (Vicar) on Feb 13, 2007 at 23:49 UTC
    Did you get your dissociative identity disorder under control? :P
Re: Are monks hibernating?
by swampyankee (Parson) on Feb 14, 2007 at 05:01 UTC

    We've become members of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance.


    Insisting on perfect safety is for people who don't have the balls to live in the real world.

    —Mary Shafer, NASA Dryden Flight Research Center
Re: Are monks hibernating?
by stonecolddevin (Parson) on Feb 21, 2007 at 06:36 UTC

    I agree. it has seemed a bit quieter around here.

    Posts are down, spam is up, and it just seems quieter. I've been trying to do my part and answering intelligently nodes that I have knowledge enough to answer, but that's not much.

    Seems like people are just busy. I wouldn't say anything is wrong, it's just a depression in the wave!

Re: Are monks hibernating?
by teamster_jr (Curate) on Feb 14, 2007 at 11:38 UTC
    fwiw i've not posted because i've not had anything really to contribute - i've been working off and on on my next obfu for at least 6 months now.

    it's taking longer partly because i chose something that's a little, er, ambitious, and the fact that i got a new job that gives me less "free" time :).

    but yes, i check every day and it does feel quieter.


Perl still in top 10 @ #6
by blogical (Pilgrim) on Feb 20, 2007 at 06:02 UTC
Re: Are monks hibernating?
by InfiniteLoop (Hermit) on Feb 14, 2007 at 17:41 UTC
    To me, a search/super search gives me all the answers I need, perhaps a indication of my skill level :). I would rather see few good questions , than more of noise. A better measure would be the number of people logged into the system.
Re: Are monks hibernating?
by wolfger (Deacon) on Feb 15, 2007 at 14:32 UTC
Re: Are monks hibernating?
by webfiend (Vicar) on Feb 14, 2007 at 19:58 UTC
    Been too busy writing with it to write about it.
Re: Are monks hibernating?
by samizdat (Vicar) on Feb 16, 2007 at 13:12 UTC
    I'm busy writing C and preparing for a new baby... though I pulled out my trusty Perl just the other day to build an IPMI-stimulator script.

    It does seem that there's been a slowdown, yes. However, a lot of the slowdown seems to have been the garbage posters. No loss! I note lots of quality visitors still posting and kibitzing. :D

    Don Wilde
    "There's more than one level to any answer."
Re: Are monks hibernating?
by radiantmatrix (Parson) on Mar 14, 2007 at 16:32 UTC

    I know I've been less-active since being forced to brush up on my Java skills; my current employer has all but banished Perl in favor of Java and .NET -- if I move to a group where Perl is still accepted (most the UNIX group, unsurprisingly), I would have to take a fairly significant (read: mortgage-threatening) pay reduction.

    Fortunately, they haven't tried to stop me from using Perl on my desktop, so most of the development tools I use are Perl (svn automatons, code formatters, utilities to search code, etc.). ;-) Unfortunately, none of those tools have prompted good Perl questions, and my Perl skills have stagnated a bit.

    Ramblings and references
    The Code that can be seen is not the true Code
    I haven't found a problem yet that can't be solved by a well-placed trebuchet
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