Perl is Dying?

Some interesting posts over in Planet Perl:

While I'm a raging Python fanatic (or at least a serious Python user :) I don't think this is anything to gloat about: Perl vs Python is a relatively minor struggle compared to Good Language vs PHP, and Dynamic vs Static.

Either way there are good lessons for any language in there. And we should be sure to thank GvR, Barry Warsaw, and all the other Py3k contributors for moving forward with Py3k... Say what you will about Py3K's backwards incompatibility, but I think the lack of a strongly determined future for Perl, i.e. a clear roadmap for Perl 6, is one of the Perl community's big problems.

--titus


Legacy Comments

Posted by mark on 2008-12-04 at 21:32.

But the fact remains that both python and ruby appeal to new users
more readily than perl's syntax will.    Perl 5 stopped evolving. it
still has a huge niche, an ecosystem of C coders who are 60 years or
older ;-)    But the new blood isnt coming into Perl. The fossil
coders repeat how great CPAN is but they forget that perl as a
language is not as good as ruby and python.

Posted by Martijn Faassen on 2008-12-05 at 09:19.

Agreed. While I do have things to say about Python 3's lack of
backwards compatibility, the core developers have managed the
situation a whole lot better than the Perl 6 project did. The Python
core developers value the evolutionary approach, and don't tend to get
carried away by ambitious projects like a massive revision of the
language **and** interpreter infrastructure (Parrot).     The Python
developers reach for the possible and leave the insanely ambitious and
difficult to other projects like PyPy. That's the right way to go
about it.

Posted by Aaron Trevena on 2008-12-07 at 06:35.

Wishful thinking much ?    If Perl 5 stopped evolving why has 5.10 got
new operators and features, as well as bein faster ?    I don't think
there is much evidence that the Python core developers have managed
anything better at all.. both Parrot/Perl6 and Python 3000 projects
were started about the same time, and Parrot 1.0 will be delivered in
March, while Perl 6.0 will be delivered the following January, so it's
a matter of a few months difference, despite Pythons huge hyperbole
and Google backing.    We've had 5.8 and 5.10 versions of Perl
released since Perl 6 was started, and will likely have a 5.12, and
many features of Perl 6 have already been included in 5.10 or made
available through CPAN.    Anyway.. much as some Pythonista might
hope, the constant repitition of the PiD meme does you no favours and
just gets in the way of mixing communities.    I'd love to start a
Dynamic Languages user group in my area, but I can't be bothered with
all the Python Zealots. The PHP, Lua and Ruby guys may have drunk the
koolaid but at least you can talk with them.

Posted by Alexandr Ciornii on 2008-12-07 at 07:04.

Perl 5 didn't stop evolving: there is perl 5.10 with serious changes
(including features from Perl 6), Moose and MooseX::Declare that are
more serious OO system that Perl's integrated (that was copied from
Python). And many, many others. Perl programming evolved much in
latest 2 years.    I read someone's blog a year ago that was bashing
Perl based on 10 year old description of Perl. Many programmers
(especially python ones :)) don't know about changes in latest 8 years
and do similar things.    I general, problem is very huge base of
programs that should work on future versions of Perl. So removing
features in Perl 5 is not good.    As chromatic said, Python 3000 was
developed more that 9 years, so 8 years of Perl 6 is not much.

Posted by Marcus on 2008-12-07 at 09:17.

I wouldn't underestimate the Perl community.  Sure, they're taking
their time with Perl 6 and Parrot, but... would we want either of them
rushed?  I didn't understand Parrot until listening to developer
presentations at OSCON and elsewhere.  Imagine a better .NET, and open
source.    And no, none of the Perl 6 and Parrot crew appear advanced
in years, as if such blatant agism would be an appropriate criticism
in any event.  These are youthful C coders at the top of their games,
with the courage to think about problems other language developers are
all too pleased to avoid.    I'm sticking with these folks, and
sticking with Perl.  This language still has a lot of visionaries on
the team, and a lot of legs.

Posted by Robert on 2008-12-07 at 13:22.

I wish people that mention Perl 6 actually knew what they were talking
about. The only thing Perl 6 has done "wrong" is marketing. Perl 6 is
a total re-write of the Perl language and yes it has taken a long
while for the volunteers to put together. On the other hand, you have
Python 3 which is not a total re-write at all and was at least
backhandedly funded by the Google machine. I like both languages
actually but your (Martijn) opinion about "the right was to go about
it" is just that, your opinion.

Posted by Paul Boddie on 2008-12-18 at 07:04.

I'm not sure I'm that sorry to see Perl fade away. On various
occasions I've experienced cheap shots, sniping and puerile remarks
about Python from Perl programmers, who would rather see everyone
waste their time fiddling with Perl, and I've encountered more than
enough decaying Perl code over the years, probably as a consequence of
this shoehorning tendency.    The Ruby people managed quite a "bait
and switch" routine with those Perl people dissatisfied with the state
of Perl but too proud to switch to Python. Now, a lot of those people
are using a language which is much closer to Python, and which has
dropped a lot of the Perl-style compatibility baggage: they can surely
keep up their whining about Python from another location, oblivious to
the inherent contradiction in their position.    Still, there's a
lesson to the Python community here as well. Perl still gets a lot of
usage because of all the libraries, even though I suspect that many of
them are overrated (the "CPAN is wonderful" argument). In contrast,
Python's standard library decays and the Python 3000 tidying project
has taken precedence.    Changing these priorities in order to confirm
Python as a better choice than the "incumbent" (Perl and Java,
frequently) is better than looking over one's shoulder at whatever the
next supposedly cool language is doing; this means improving the
library offerings and making the details of actual work, not language
gymnastics, easier.

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