“A language” is much more than just a compiler: it is an environment. Perl-5 is not the most elegantly designed or implemented compiler ... certainly not the most elegantly designed language ... that I have ever used in my quarter-century at doing this. But what it does, it does very well. And through the CPAN library, it allows a designer to leverage a large suite of existing function.
Perl also shows the intrinsic benefit of open-source: for all the stock Chevys that are running down the street on Saturday night, now and then one rolls by with something totally-cool stuck onto it ... “Pragmatic Perl” ... and a while a few hundred folks are oohing-and-aahing at what they see, another guy's got a scowl on his face and a scrap of paper in his hand and an idea. Which sooner-or-sooner winds up in Perl.
And so, I would argue, a lot of what we see and use and take for granted is a product of synergy. The Detroit designers are working on the Chevrolet from one point of view, and the Saturday-night street-rodders are simultaneously working on the same thing from a different point of view, and ... lo! ... what shows up downtown (and in a very remarkably-short amount of time) is actually a hybrid of both.
It takes a lot of synergy, and a certain amount of chance, for that to “happen.” As we can plainly see by comparing the richness of Unix/Linux development environments to the stark paucity of Windows, “money can't buy you love.”
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