A Perl 6 developer’s reply to a Russian Perl Podcast

[This is a response to the Russian Perl Podcast transcribed by Peter Rabbitson and discussed at blogs.perl.org.]

I found this translation and podcast to be interesting and useful, thanks to all who put it together.

Since there seems to have been some disappointment that Perl 6 developers didn’t join in the discussions about “Perl 7” earlier this year, and in the podcast I’m specifically mentioned by name, I thought I’d go ahead and comment now and try to improve the record a bit.

While I can’t speak for the other Perl 6 developers, in my case I didn’t contribute to the discussion because nearly all the things I would’ve said were already being said better by others such as Larry, rjbs, mst, chromatic, etc.  I think a “Perl 7” rebrand is the wrong approach, for exactly the reasons they give.

A couple of statements  in the podcast refer to “hurting the feelings of Perl 6 developers” as being a problem resulting from a rebrand to Perl 7. I greatly appreciate that people are concerned with the possible impact of a Perl 5 rebrand on Perl 6 developers and our progress.  I believe that Perl 6’s success or failure at this point will have little to do with the fact that “6 is larger than 5”.  I don’t find the basic notion of “Perl 7” offensive or directly threatening to Perl 6.

But I fully agree with mst that “you can’t … have two successive numbers in two brands and not expect people to be confused.”  We already have problems explaining “5” and “6” — adding more small integers to the explanation would just make an existing problem even worse, and wouldn’t do anything to address the fundamental problems Perl 6 was intended to resolve.

Since respected voices in the community were already saying the things I thought about the name “Perl 7”, I felt that adding my voice to that chorus could only be more distracting than helpful to the discussion. My involvement would inject speculations on the motivations of Perl 6 developers into what is properly a discussion about how to promote progress with Perl 5.  I suspect that other Perl 6 developers independently arrived at similar conclusions and kept silent as well (Larry being a notable exception).

I’d also like to remark on a couple of @sharifulin’s comments in the podcast (acknowledging that the transcribed comments may be imprecise in the translation from Russian):

First, I’m absolutely not the “sole developer” of Perl 6 (13:23 in the podcast), or even the sole developer of Rakudo Perl 6.  Frankly I think it’s hugely disrespectful to so flippantly ignore the contributions of others in the Perl 6 development community.  Let’s put some actual facts into this discussion… in the past twelve months there have been over 6,500 commits from over 70 committers to the various Perl 6 related repositories (excluding module repositories), less than 4% (218) of those commits are from me. Take a look at the author lists from the Perl 6 commit logs and you may be a little surprised at some of the people you find listed there.

Second, there is not any sense in which I think that clicking “Like” on a Facebook posting could be considered “admitting defeat” (13:39 in the podcast). For one, my “Like” was actually liking rjbs’ reply to mst’s proposal, as correctly noted in the footnotes (thanks Peter!).

But more importantly, I just don’t believe that Perl 5 and Perl 6 are in a battle that requires there to be a conquerer, a vanquished, or an admission of defeat.


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One Response to A Perl 6 developer’s reply to a Russian Perl Podcast

  1. But more importantly, I just don’t believe that Perl 5 and Perl 6 are in a battle that requires there to be a conquerer, a vanquished, or an admission of defeat. ???????????????????????????????????
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