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Perl 6 was released years ago

by Juerd (Abbot)
on Oct 31, 2004 at 14:00 UTC ( [id://404127] : perlmeditation . print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Well, not really. But imagine that it was.

It is the year 2012 and you are asked to write an article about Perl history. About the community (and other Perl coders) while Perl 6 was being designed and Parrot was still being constructed (that would be around the year 2004), about the release itself (and parties to celebrate it?), about the years after that. Did people get used to Perl 6 quickly, or did it take years before Perl 5 was no longer used for new projects? Is there still active development on Perl 5? What is the current version of Perl, and what has changed since Perl 6.0.0?

Predict the future and in 8 years, we'll see whose version of this story was the closest to what really happened. :)

(Enclose everything that is written in "2012" in <i> tags.)

Juerd # { site => '', plp_site => '', do_not_use => 'spamtrap' }

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Re: Perl 6 was released years ago
by davido (Cardinal) on Oct 31, 2004 at 16:36 UTC

    ...Unlike the transition from Perl 4 to Perl 5, Perl 6 wasn't intended to be a replacement for its predecessor, but rather, a new and modernized tool. Perl 5 development for the 5.6.x line ended in 2006, but 5.9.x and eventually 5.10.x continues today, though admittedly popularity has waned somewhat in the face of what has become a superior tool. New Perl learners seem to be drawn mostly to Perl 6, and for good reason. It has progressed significantly since its early quirky days. Perl 5 posts on popular websites such as PerlMonks have become far less frequent in favor of Perl 6 topics, and the main focus of the development community has shifted toward Perl 6. Amazingly, Parrot (the back end of Perl 6) has now been adopted by Python and Ruby as their foundation of choice, and probably not so coincidentally, Microsoft has begun development on a Parrot-like backside for its much anticipated .WET development tool.

    In 2011, Larry pulled himself and a small team away from the p6p group to begin concentrating their bleading-edge efforts on the much anticipated Perl 7. At this point details on Perl 7 are sketchy, but those in the know seem to all light up with a knowing and smug grin whenever the project is mentioned. The development community is abuzz with the few tidbits that have been overtly discussed, and seems to look forward to the omnipresent mantra of TIMTOWTDI being combined with the next generation linguistic parser that Larry discussed in his state of the onion talk in 2009.


      I think you are forgetting one important thing. Perl6 is being designed to be a twenty (or even fifty) year language. There should not be a need (nor want) for a Perl 7.

      Update: Although, going back to Apocolypse 1, I see that there will be a Perl 7 and that Perl6 is the prototype. So instead my last sentence should say "There should not be a need (nor want) for a Perl 7 for a very long time".

        Perl5 was also supposed to be the last rewrite of Perl. It was designed to be extendible, without a frequent need to update the core. Development of perl6 started less than 6 years after the release of 5.000. So, I guess the main reason to not expect development of perl7 to have started in 2012 is that it's unlikely that perl6 will be released before 2006. ;-)

      To suppose that Perl 5 will be actively developed 8 years from now is to greatly underestimate the importance of an innocuous little thing called the version number.

      I cannot imagine anybody seriously using an 8 year old obsolete version of anything and not being in the tiniest of minorities. Who uses Windows 95 anymore? Linux 2.0 or older? Java 1.0? PHP 3? Perl 4? Yes, old versions do get used, but only in special circumstances.

      Sure, Perl 4 was good enough for what it was, but then along came Perl 5 which was also good enough for that, and more. And today Perl 5 is good enough for a great number of things, and Perl 6 will be good enough for all them, and even more again.

      If Perl 6 were renamed to something other than Perl, then I could see a future for Perl 5, but if there's a bigger number available, it will get all the attention.

        You'd be surprised...

        I had a query the other day from someone using perl 5.000 (yes, that's right) and sybperl 2a7 (that's an alpha release), all 10 year old code, and running on Solaris 8....

        I very strongly advised them to upgrade (I can't count the number of bugs fixed in sybperl, let alone perl in the last 10 years!)...


        I cannot imagine anybody seriously using an 8 year old obsolete version of anything and not being in the tiniest of minorities.

        FORTRAN 77. That's all I have to say.

        Well, I'll say a tiny bit more: YES, people do still use FORTRAN. YES, there are newer versions than the (19)77 version. HOWEVER, FORTRAN 77 is still in a great deal of use. Probably the majority of FORTRAN code in use today is FORTRAN 77. Certainly not a small minority.

        Oh, and just because I like to point it out: FORTRAN is the last major language, before Python, to incorporate significant leading whitespace as a "feature" of the language. :-P

        ------------ :Wq Not an editor command: Wq
        I cannot imagine anybody seriously using an 8 year old obsolete version of anything and not being in the tiniest of minorities.

        There are lots of airplanes flying around that are older than 8 years. Trains are build to last 40 or more years (and they do).

        What I can't believe is that people upgrade for the sake of upgrading. There's an old saying "if it ain't broken, don't fix it". New versions of software *do* break things, whether intentionally or not. And I have to say, many open source authors don't consider backwards compatibility as important as they should (if they'd paid more attention to it, it would help in getting corperations to use more open source software). Perl tries it best to be backwards compatible, but it isn't perfect.

        Not everyone seems to realize the costs upgrading takes. Upgrading a single developer box isn't hard. But for numerous organizations, installing new, or upgrading existing software is a big deal. Banks, hospitals are air flight controllers don't just upgrade. They have long and rigorous testing procedures, including regression tests. Anything that breaks is a show-stopper until resolved. People working with the new or upgraded software may need re-training. This all costs money.

        I think the computing world would benefit if eight year old software wasn't "obsolete" and would just run without problems.

        Yah, who uses K&R C anymore?
Re: Perl 6 was released years ago
by Anonymous Monk on Nov 01, 2004 at 09:07 UTC
    Wednesday, July 25, 2012. California. TPC16: When asked about the release date of Perl 6, Larry Wall expected it to be "real soon" now. "I've now written 18 Apocalypses, and I've only a handful of them to go". Damian Conway said "it'll be released on Christmas". He also added that it was only a few years till his retirement for Monash University, which would enable him to spend full time on the development of Perl 6. Young John Rapier, perl6 pumking of the concatenation operator: "These are exciting times. Here I am, working with people who could remember the time people were happy with perl5 and nobody had heard of perl6. I was a toddler when this guy was throwing mugs at the wall, and now I'm in charge keeping track what the current name of the concatenation operator is. Printed out, perlconcathist.pod takes 23 pages."

    Google has been asked to help out the Perl community in archiving and indexing 12 years of perl6-language. Larry Page and Sergey Brin announced: "this will be our biggest challenge sofar. But given a year or two, we will succeed".

    In other Perl news: the recent release of perl 5.14 went smoothly, but very quietly. A hacker going by his nick name KoolDudz said: I'm not really interested in 5.14. I've had this great idea since 2005, but I'm waiting for perl6 to implement it. It's going to be so cool, I can't wait to write my first Perl program.

      Brilliant satire. :)
Re: Perl 6 was released years ago
by Your Mother (Archbishop) on Oct 31, 2004 at 18:58 UTC

    Perl 6 has, with great sadness on this reviewer's part, been relegated to the hall of things that were too early, or perhaps too good(?), for their audience.

    In 2002 it all seemed so promising. Linux was enterprise class and the steady Perl 6 list wars about -> and _ only showed the passion, the vast fuel ready to drive this motor to the edge of space. Who could have forseen that just 1 year after Parrot, the underlying bytecode compiler for Perl 6 et al, was declared in production release, Microsoft would buy Sun while simultaneously moving Java to the GPL and releasing the SlapJack IDE including the source code for Longhorn and Steer!. The U.S. Supreme Court's landmark "Gates v Logic" was the final nail in the coffin, legitimizing the newly created U.S. Department of Coding and Software which requires a one billion dollar license to sell software in America and abroad. What a difference a day--and 400 billion dollars of cash reserves--makes.

    Let us all observe a moment of silence while Perl 6 takes its place beside BeOS, NeXTSTEP, Betamax, and Linux on the long list of should-have-beens.

Re: Perl 6 was released years ago
by jackdied (Monk) on Nov 01, 2004 at 07:42 UTC
    As other posters hinted, there are two issues here, Parrot and Perl6. And keeping in theme I'm writing this is the style fo a trade magazine blurb

    Dateline Jan 1 2008:
    In a move to salvage market share Sun Microsystems has announced that it will offer a Java byte code compiler for the Parrot VM platform. Readers will recall that Parrot silenty arrived riding on the coat tails of the perl language. Readers might also be forgiven for forgetting that Parrot only came about because of the perl "6.0" language. The forgiveness comes because if you aren't a computer "geek" or don't read the Harvard Business Review you aren't aware of the dark horse history of the Parrot VM.

    Parrot slipped in silenty to all manner of internet platforms on the basis of speeding up the widely installed base of perl5 (hereafter just "perl" as it is known to most users) instalations. While Parrot "just worked" and was "good enough" for a lot of things the perl "6.0" programming language languished in complexity and navel gazing. Perl itsef not only stayed but it grew. Parrot's promise of "run anywhere - no really - run anywhere" was fullfilled and that is where the story really started. Perl was still good for perl things but while they were waiting for the "next perl" - the main reason for Parrot - to arrive those same developers started to leave. Where the leavers went is history, some went to ruby, most went to python. The non-leavers stayed with perl "5." No one expected the result then, but as we look back on it we can be greatful. Without perl "6.0" there wouldn't have the Parrot we know and love.

    I moved to the other "p*" language coummunity a couple years ago so ... don't hate the player, hate the game.

      Those that wanted to leave for Python already did. Or more likely never used Perl and chose Python from the beginning. The feel of the languages is rather different so I don't see a lot of people going in that direction. Both are nice, they just suit different people.

      We'd like to help you learn to help yourself
      Look around you, all you see are sympathetic eyes
      Stroll around the grounds until you feel at home
         -- P. Simon in Mrs. Robinson

Re: Perl 6 was released years ago
by zentara (Archbishop) on Nov 01, 2004 at 12:59 UTC
    I'm sure if you are reading this, you know who "Godzilla" is (was :-) ) on comp.lang.perl.misc. She is constantly ( sometimes rightly) bashing perl5 code, saying perl4 style code was faster and "good enough" for some purpose.

    So I prognosticate many Godzilla-style dinosaurs, some who are very respected Perl programmers, who will just keep on claiming that Perl6 is a waste, and Perl5 will do it just fine.

    I also see this common scenario: A question will be asked, the standard Perl5 answers will appear, but someone will point out how much easier it can be done in Perl6, OR if it was done in Perl6, it will avoid some sort of hidden problem. Then eventually, more and more people will start using it.

    I also forecast that a bunch of people will want to use Perl6 to make binaries for distribution, to hide their source code, and all the pro-con discussion which goes with that. (It seems that most new programmers want to hide their code :-) ).

    Finally, I see a flood of new Perl6 books, and Perl5 books going for $1 or $2 on ebay. People will be discussing whether it is worthwhile to read the old books.

    I base my forecasts on my observations of human behavior, not on the merits of Perl5 or Perl6.

    I'm not really a human, but I play one on earth. flash japh
      I'm sure if you are reading this, you know who "Godzilla" is (was :-) ) on comp.lang.perl.misc.
      Which is funny on several levels, since it's almost undoubtedly true -- you do know Godzilla. You just don't realize you know...
        I'm perplexed, like the joke is on me and I don't know it. :-) Are you, or some other monk here, Godzilla?

        I'm not really a human, but I play one on earth. flash japh

      I also forecast that a bunch of people will want to use Perl6 to make binaries for distribution, to hide their source code, and all the pro-con discussion which goes with that.

      IIRC, the current plan for the bytecode compiler would include a section that had the orginal source verbatim. So the "hide our crappy code!" people aren't getting a bone thrown to them. Which is fine by me.

      "There is no shame in being self-taught, only in not trying to learn in the first place." -- Atrus, Myst: The Book of D'ni.

        I would assume the standard answer would then be, remove the verbatim copy and run without it.
Re: Perl 6 was released years ago
by erix (Prior) on Nov 03, 2004 at 01:06 UTC

    In 2042, an old perlmonk recalls:

    I mean, how were we supposed to know?

    Take those computer sticks you get with your groceries nowadays; they have molecule memory, quantum computation, whatnot. Or take storage. My generation, we thought storage was always going to be large and complicated; databases we called 'em, and you had serveral: IBM, Oracle, Sybase, ... ah, all gone now!

    Don't get me wrong, all in all the '20 patent abolition has been a Good Thing. Not many were in favour of it, but in the end it has worked. Yes, it worked all right. Now you, you are young, you have probably never experienced a failed connection, but in those days, things could go wrong, and boy they did. I tell you, there were even different ways and speeds at which things could be sent. It's strange to remember now - it does not seem logical.

    And I remember the time when it was the laughing stock of engineering, AI. Yes, really, because it seemed so unlikely to ever work, and such a long time it hadn't. Little did we know that it would take most of our work and demolish our pride.

    Back then, of course, we were actually paid for making software. Later, all that was left was some legacy and security work.

    Well, it is now '42, gods gone, only a few monks remain, the monastery a ruin. Soon it will not exist anymore.

    But still, I hope to live to see the new Perl version. It's version 6, you know, and it should be coming any day now.