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Ugh, stop twitching
perl 6 mugslinging
rants Posted 2002-08-23 09:03:58 by Jim Crawford
Perl 6 is looking good. I like the // operator, and if the new array operators are optimized, perl may suddenly become useful for serious number crunching operations, like audio DSP. I'd like to start using it.

But... and there's always a but, isn't there? When was the last time I posted an item here just to say I liked something?

The following quote from a Larry Wall talk on Perl 6, in which he describes how an event at “Perl Conference 19100” inspired Perl 6.

We spent the first hour gabbing about all sorts of political and organizational issues of a fairly boring and mundane nature. Partway through, Jon Orwant comes in, and stands there for a few minutes listening, and then he very calmly walks over to the coffee service table in the corner, and there were about 20 of us in the room, and he picks up a coffee mug and throws it against the other wall and he keeps throwing coffee mugs against the other wall, and he says “we are fucked unless we can come up with something that will excite the community, because everyone's getting bored and going off and doing other things.”

And he was right.

This is the reason Mr. Wall decided to make Perl 6. They were “fucked” because the community was “getting bored.”

I am going to extrapolate this to a ridiculous extreme in order to make a point. Lets assume for the moment that Perl was the perfect language [that's the ridiculous extreme], and thus no more work had to be done on it. I see no problem here, but Mr. Orwant does: since the community will quickly become “bored” of working on a project where their contributions are rejected because they're just making things worse, the developers are now “fucked,” and must do something to excite the community. Is getting people's attention supposed to be an end in itself?

Maybe it's just me, but all I saw was an act of vandalism by someone with nothing worthwhile to say, who just wanted to get people's attention.


Seriously, did nobody at the conference make this connection? You have to admit, it's kind of obvious. Maybe they were just in awe of the idea of a grown man throwing a temper tantrum. “He must feel his convictions very strongly in order to do that.” Or something.

On the other hand, if this kind of thing actually works, maybe I should pay a visit to Mr. Wall to discuss variable prefixes and the requirement of braces around single statements.

I'll even bring my own mugs.

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