FAQ
Perl is my only language, its a monoculture like a family, dysfunctional at
times, but show me a family isn't (at times).

In fact the whole public domain seems a little goofy at times but I stick with
it because I know the end results are going to be fantastic.

Perl is designed in a true democracy, chaotic at times. Even the group
decision to keep the Y2K "bug" intact is endearing.

It seems Larry Rosler wants to change all that.

I am cut+pasting from
http://www.perl.com/pub/2000/06/rosler.html?wwwrrr_20000606.txt

In his own words:

LR: I believe that [ Perl needs ANSI standardization ], in order to increase
its acceptability...

ME: Perl is already everywhere, it is the single most used language on the
web, Java lacks performance an always seems to be in court. A few stuffed
shirts seem to be in denial about perl but their days are numbered anyway.

LR: I was experimenting with CGI programming using shell ... Soon I discovered
that Perl ... was much more expressive and much

ME: Duh !! Shell is nearly useless.

LR: ... 'official' Perl semantics has [ err, have ] never been adequately
characterized independent of the implementation, so is subject to arbitrary
change.

ME: Arbitrary ?? I can honestly say that I have never seen a single perl
feature that didn't make me proud of the perl way of making decisions. Its a
model for the whole human race :)

LR: Building on quicksand is acceptable for 'scripts' of limited longevity

ME: Hugh ?? Knowing systems operations, I am guessing most scripts will out
live Bell Labs, even UN*X

LR: Ilya Zakharevitch is most outspoken in his view that Perl is not (yet?) a
'programming' language!

ME: Applications building language !! Perl does not seek to replace C, but
work w/ it (and the others.) Its a philosophy _and_ a desert topping.

LR: people should devote their attention to firming up the semantics and making
sure that the implementation conforms to those semantics, rather than the other
way around

ME: No more swiss-army-chainsaw, :`(

Joe Johnston: Or to Perl's charmingly permissive OO implementation.

ME: Gush !!

LR: I am less concerned about individual programmers [ and ] more concerned
about major corporations or government agencies

ME: Perl is a collage of individuals who wont be denied, even in the
workplace. It seems LR wants to hand it over to the suits.

The new economy smart enough to reject corporate welfare and bold enough to
take on the lazy big-caps. Perl is the language to do it.

LR: Samuel Johnson: "When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it
concentrates his mind wonderfully."

ME: Better start thinking a little smarter because the small-caps are the clear
winners, the old economy is hanging by a thread and doesn't even know it.

LR: Python is [in]sufficient to give it a critical mass and I don't think
significant inroads are being made.

ME: My sources tell me that Python is _the_ language to learn from. It will
never achieve chainsaw status, and thats probably a good thing. Small is
beautiful. Thanks for denigrating it, now I'm going to take the plunge.

LR: I have never needed to write an object in any program. And, as I said, to
me OO is a big yawner.

ME: Hey, news flash: CPAN = OO modules !!

Joe Johnston: How much longer do you see the "Internet Goldrush" continuing?

LR: Judging by the recent performance of the NASDAQ, it may be over already.

ME: Well since then the gold rush has half returned. This statement is typical
of the cynicism and ignorance that caused the tumble in the first place.

I support the small-caps but dont want work for them for the simple reason that
they will make me work.

Fact is that you can actually fall asleep in your big-cap cubicle for years...
I dont sleep, obviously, but I spend all my time fathoming how perl is going to
save our werld.

The economy today is global. The NASDAQ collapse was thought of as an internet
failure, but that was the media talking out their ass.

A quick lesson: There are several indexes which show the whole picture. While
the connection between the stocks and investment is dubious at best, its the
only game in the global village. We, the privileged, vote for our economy by
buy stocks in the sectors we support, usually through funds.

DOW: The fat cats, receivers of corporate welfare
S&P 500: Generally midcaps, it spans the distance to the next layer, the
Russell 2000: Small, aggressive successful companies who pray each and every
day for lower interest rates
NASDAQ: Similar to the Russell 2000, in fact the charts are parallel.

The trend since y2k is clear. Smaller companies, despite high interest rates,
started eating the bigcaps for lunch. Technology is a key booster, but other
stuff is going on.

Leading up to March 10th peak the whole world was elated. To quote some old
cowboy, "you spit in the desert and a flower blooms."

In a way, these broken investments are the best because recovery is pure
growth, and growth is profit. For example, the application of translation
software to an array of B2B applications simply drops state of the art business
services on any broken nation instantly fixing it making it a viable trading
partner.

From y2k until the end of March, the naz and the dow were oscillating against
each other. Growth possibilities brought down the dow, interest rate fears
boosted the dow and killed the naz. Now both are growing, but, face it, the
big caps are doomed, though we may have to topple the berlin wall here in US.

Clearly, the big-caps are not interested in seeing their coporate welfare
evaoprate, nor do they want to be gobbled alive by the up-and-comings.

Greenspan exists to keep their machine running. His contradictory statements
would have made Nixon blush. His claims of controlling inflation are pure lie,
he only seeks to lower one number, OUR salaries.

That and only that number will determine interest rate hikes. The problem is
that we are worth the money, and always have been. And perlers are worth even
ore.

LR: Each of us is working on the Perl Golf tournament

ME: There ya go !!





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John van Vlaanderen

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  • Michael G Schwern at Jun 11, 2000 at 1:38 am
    On a counter-note, I was kinda anti-ANSI, too. But a late night
    discussion on #perl has me swayed a little bit, Abigail and mjd scored
    some good points for standardization:


    Schwern: Hmmm, Mr. Rosler misses the point of standardization.
    yrlnry: schwern: I somehow doubt that.
    Schwern: Well, why "officially" standardize something that's not fractured?
    pudge_: Schwern, so businesses can rely on it.
    Schwern: Yay. They already can rely on it.
    pudge_: no, not on perl
    pudge_: on a standard
    Schwern: Perl people are absolutely crazy about backwards compatibility.
    pudge_: i am not saying i agree
    pudge_: you asked why standardize, and i told you :)
    pudge_: actually
    Schwern: ...but that's his argument. Yeah.
    yrlnry: crazy in the sense of ignoring it in an irrational and self-destructive way, perhaps.
    pudge_: one could make an argument that perl IS fractured
    Schwern: I'm just afraid it'll get frozen in time like C.
    pudge_: you havce 5.004 over there, 5.005 here, and 5.6 out there
    Schwern: Pudge: Standardization won't help that anymore than it helped C++
    pudge_: Schwern, my hope is that Perl WILL get frozen in time.
    Schwern: There's still tons of non-ANSI C++ compilers out there.
    pudge_: when it is done.
    fimmtiu: C++'s problems are not a result of standardization.
    fimmtiu: C++'s problems are because it's a poorly designed language.
    Schwern: fimmtiu: Not what I'm saying.
    pudge_: C++ has only one problem.
    pudge_: it's not perl!

    **later**

    Abigail: What do people think of the Larry Rosler interview?
    Schwern: Abigail: His arguments for turning Perl into hundreds of pages of unreadable documents are less than convincing.
    PerlJam: Abigail: I'm composing email to Larry Rosler about it right now. I think he's clued but misguided.
    Schwern: Abigail: THen again... we already have man pages...
    PerlJam: What Schwern just said.
    Abigail: I didn't see him talking about "unreadable" documentation.
    Schwern: Abigail: Ever read an ANSI spec?
    Abigail: Schwern: yes.
    PerlJam: Abigail: What do *you* think about it?
    Schwern: Abigail: Not the clearest things in the universe.
    Schwern: And has a language as complicated as Perl ever been spec'd?
    PerlJam: Schwern: C++
    yrlnry: schwern: Have you read the ANSI C standard? I don't think it's unreadable.
    Schwern: C++ has nothing on Perl.
    Schwern: mjd: My copies in storage, I've seen a few gems.
    quidity: If we had a standards committee, would we have to adopt strict definitions of all the Larry Wall quotes as well?
    Abigail: I think that it would benefit Perl in the long run to standardize it. However, it should be a standard that allows things that are "deprecated" to be removed in future versions.
    uri: mjd: ever read the pl/1 specs? total gibberish.
    yrlnry: uri: No, I haven't had that pleasure.
    uri: mjd: the pleasure^Wpain was all mine
    Abigail: One of the problems now is that certain things aren't well defined, and if behaviour chances from version to version, a bugreport can be dismissed as "well, it was never well defined, so it isn't a bug".
    Schwern: I'm more afraid of calcification of Perl than anything else.
    uri: mjd: i wrote massive runtime library stuff from that spec. i still have the scars
    dngor: That's what Ilya means when he says Perl is nondeterministic, right?
    yrlnry: Another problem is that the current development team doesn't seem to particularly care about backward compatibility anyway.
    Abigail: For instance, what should the following print: sub AUTOLOAD {print $AUTOLOAD} *foo = *bar; foo (); ? (It prints different things in 5.005 and 5.6 for instance).
    Schwern: mjd: Odd, I've always found p5p to be absolutely rabid about that.
    yrlnry: schwern: You haven't been paying very much attention then.
    Schwern: Not since 5.6.0 came out.
    yrlnry: Not since about three yeasr ago, it appears.
    yrlnry: Try reading perldelta sometime.
    clintp: The theme is "Well, we can break backward compatability, as long as it's not something important that anyone in p5p uses."
    yrlnry: Or if Larry decides that the new way is more useful.
    clintp: For varying degrees of "important"
    Abigail: "Important" often meaning "I don't like the new way of doing it, so the old way is important".
    Schwern: Here's the question. Would an ANSI spec chisel Perl in stone? Would there be no more new features because of it (or effectively because they weren't in the standard)?
    yrlnry: Well, that didn't happen to C. Why would it happen to Perl?
    PerlJam: Schwern: in as much as C is "chiselled in stone"
    Schwern: C relies more on its libraries than its core language.
    uri: schwern: i think the issue is less about features than clarifying what perl is supposed to do in odd places. it is too empirical sometimes.
    PerlJam: Perl needs to be redesigned from the ground up (again)
    *** mandrake- (mandrake@nat-su-33.valinux.com) has joined channel #perl
    Abigail: Having a Perl standard means that other people could write compatible Perl compilers/interpreters.
    mandrake-: huh
    Schwern: I'd consider C to be (arguably) "complete"
    yrlnry: Schwern: Regardless of what you think, the new standard is standardizing features that have been introduced after 1989.
    Schwern: mjd: What new standard?
    PerlJam: uri: ah
    yrlnry: schwern: There is a new ANSI C standard in development.
    Abigail: C9x
    Schwern: There's a new ANSI C standard? I had no idea.
    Schwern: of course, this will take another decade to be widely adopted...
    yrlnry: That makes like five things you have cirticized and argued about in the last twelve hours that you had no idea about.
    Schwern: mjd: That's why I have you here, dear.
    PerlJam: Schwern: Have you seen GNU C lately?
    Abigail: Schwern: there are a hell of a lot more C compilers and run time environments out there then there are Perl compilers.
    Abigail: (Perl compiler being perl, not perlcc).


    --

    Michael G Schwern http://www.pobox.com/~schwern/ schwern@pobox.com
    <GuRuThuG> make a channel called Perl, and infest it with joking and
    fun....it doesnt make alot of sense.

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postedJun 10, '00 at 5:18p
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