FAQ

On Sat, Oct 16, 2004 at 02:22:29PM +0200, Shlomi Fish wrote:
I wrote a critique of where Perl 6 is heading. It was published in Freshmeat:

http://freshmeat.net/articles/view/1339/
Where you say, in part:

Why Perl 6 is Bad?

No one Understands Perl 6

Having read this title, you are probably thinking to yourself: "So
you don't understand Perl 6. What makes you think everyone else
doesn't? How do you justify this inductive thinking?" Let me tell
you a little story:

One day, I met with a good friend of mine (whom I highly appreciate
both as a person and as a software engineer), and I asked him if he
reads the Apocalypses. He said he does, but that he doesn't
understand them. This eventually made me realize that I also read
them, and also did not understand many things. And neither he nor I
are particularly stupid people. And here's an interesting quote from
the famous Weblog "Joel on Software": "Whenever somebody gives you a
spec for some new technology, if you can't understand the spec,
don't worry too much. Nobody else is going to understand it, either,
and it's probably not going to be important." (Read more at the link).

If you can say this with a straight face, then you must not have
listened to the rationale for Perl6, nor heard the four years' worth of
reiteration of that rationale.

No, no one knows how to program in Perl 6. And that will continue to be
the case for another few years. And, no, this is not a problem. It
took about a decade for some truly bright people to fully comprehend
Perl 5, and even with that, we're still learning about the nooks and
crannies in Perl 5.

And that's why, with the same breath that Larry and others promote Perl 6,
they are quick to assert that Perl 5 is *NOT GOING AWAY* (as Schwern
noted in response to your article on fm.net). This simple statement has
many interpretations, all of them true:

- The Perl 5 sources will continue to live on, for anyone wants to use
them or hack on them

- More people will know Perl 5 than will know Perl 6 for a substantial
period of time after Perl 6 is released

- Parrot is designed with the intent to run Perl5 side-by-side with
Perl6 code in the same process

- One of the requirements for Perl6 is to faithfully run Perl5
programs in a "backward compatability mode" with Perl5 if some
yet-to-be-determined token that this program is actually Perl6 code
is not found

In your essay, you have highlighted some social problems with Perl 6,
many of them true, all of them overinflated in importance. However, the
people working on Perl 6 are fully cognisant of these issues, and many
others which you have failed to note. Furthermore, most (if not all) of
these social issues are actually addressable with a modicum of
software engineering.

With that said, I can only conclude that you are creating yet another
tempest in a teapot by trying to show the entire Perl community the
errors of its ways, instead of pitching in doing something constructive.

Z.

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postedOct 16, '04 at 12:19p
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