Today I re-read the 1999 talk: "Perl, the first postmodern computer language." I couldn't help but laugh to see that--as of this writing--the #1 advertised post on the right side-panel is the Perl 7 announcement, with the tag-line Perl 5 with modern defaults.
Do we want our postmodern language modernized? It may not be the sound of one hand clapping, but still worthy of some meditation, I think. I recently noted that Perl 5.30 will run almost all of the Perl 1 test suite unmodified (the rare failures are on subroutines called with do whatever();). If I understand the Perl 7 plan correctly, Perl 7 will run approximately zero percent of the Perl 1 test suite due to mandating strict and dropping bareword filehandles. Does that matter? I guess not, but it feels
like a loss to me.
The virtues extolled in the talk were (1) incorporating what rules (2) leaving out what sucks and (3) letting the duct work show. To uphold those virtues, it seems to me that newer Perls should look around and incorporate things that both (1) rule and (2) aren't already in Perl. Perl should primarily accrete, and occasionally mutate. So, Monks, should it concern me that one of the two motivations given for Perl 7 is the ability to remove syntax? Should it concern me that SawyerX's Guac project (youtube) calls the regularized, easily-parsable subset of Perl "Standard Perl"? Despite the don't-worry-disclaimers, if the pumpking can call a language without autoquoting or heredocs Standard, that speaks volumes to me about where his head is at. Perhaps I am overreacting.