Linked by Shlomi Fish on Sat 16th Oct 2004 07:28 UTC
General Development The purpose of this essay is to explain why I believe Perl 6, the way it currently seems to progress, is the wrong thing at the wrong time, and why I predict (with all the expected caveats of predicting something) that it won't be successful. I will also suggest a better alternative for the future of Perl which makes more sense at this point.
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by Anonymous on Sat 16th Oct 2004 08:23 UTC

1. The author doesn't understand the contents of the Apocolypse documents, and concludes that this makes Perl 6 too complex because others will understand them even less. A lot of people do not tend to even understand Perl 5 very thoroughly, but that doesn't seem to impede its progress.

2. Ponie (which the author mentions) is already posed to implement Perl 5 for Parrot permitting interoperability between Perl 6 and Perl 5.

3. The author insists that because Perl 5 is "good enough" that Perl 6 is unnecessary, but could nevertheless be an adequate evolution of Perl in a period of ten years. The author doesn't indicate why Perl 5 makes Perl 6 superfluous, nor why in ten years it would be more suitable. In ten years, there will be much more crufty code written in this regrettable language, and departures that broke backward-compatability would cause even more whining.

4. The author implies that the learning the changes made in the construction of Perl 6 will be a large detriment. Depending on how thoroughly one intends to learn the language, the changes could be sufficiently unintrusive as to seem trivial to a prospective learner. Just the same, programmers tend to learn several programming languages, and if legacy Perl 5 code can be deployed along with Perl 6 the transition will be simple for any reasonably-intelligent developer. VB.NET departed significantly from the traditional Visual BASIC, and people have managed with becoming proficient with both to solve problems.

5. The author argues from authority with Joel quotes. Joel is an opinionated loudmouth, not the god of software engineering. One could just as easily pick some words from Larry Wall to support the existence of Perl 6, and Larry Wall is undeniably more successful than Joel. It would still be retarded to do so, but one can see where this road goes.

6. I wasn't certain if the author really meant Perl's man pages or perldoc. Either way, there is certainly no shortage of documentation for Perl available.

Overall I was largely unconvinced by the article and thought it was a somewhat arrogant and a bit whiny. No one really cares about the name some random person gives to a theoretical fork of Perl 5. Don't like Perl 6? Well that's ok, it's not even ready for use yet. It turns you that perl5 interpreter on your computer still works just fine, and all of the people not uninterested in Perl 6 can continue to use it and its revisions for the forseeable future. Want Perl 5 with all of the whizbang features of Parrot? Contribute to Ponie.

I don't think Perl 6 will be as successful as Perl 5, because, frankly, Perl is a nasty language that peaked during the dot bomb and has been declining in popularity. Perl 6 is complex, as was Perl 5, and it is different enough from Perl 5 that I can imagine many Perl 5 users resenting the differences enough to not learn it just to spite its existence. However there will undoubtedly be many users of Perl 6, and whatever new users that turn to Perl when Perl 6 is extant will probably prefer Perl 6 to Perl 5, and find it to be just what they need and just when they need it.