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Why we're here

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Nathan Torkington
July 23, 2000 19:18
Why we're here
Message ID:
Wow.  First lesson learned is definitely to not announce something and
then attend sessions at the conference :-)

I've caught up on the discussions on the list.  I'm glad to see that
most people seem to think that a rewrite of the internals is a good
idea, and even that there's been some discussion of how to do it.

I want to say now why I think we're here: we want to make perl6 happen.
Part of that will be defining what perl6 should be (suggesting language
features, selecting them, working on an internals structure, working
on the extension mechanism) and part of it will be deciding *how* we
want perl6 to happen.  Larry calls this "rewriting Perl culture".  I
just think of it as a chance to try a better way of communicating than

I was at the p5p day and didn't want people to walk away saying "yeah,
p6 is a great idea" but then have it die.  So we found some people who
would make stuff happen, and then give them stuff to do.  Hence the
big list from Adam of short-term and long-term things to be doing.

There was a bit of a fear of random abstract talk at the meeting, so
we were thinking of ways to avoid it.  Smaller groups focussed on a
single problem was one way.  Hence the "working group" idea.  The RFC
process was another: focus a group of people on a common task by making
them write a document outlining what they want to do and why.  The
document would be useful as both a focus and an output of the process.

Nobody wants paperwork and hierarchy and crap like that just to have
it.  We all work for a living and have encountered pointless beaurocracy.
We're trying to find the least amount of structure, while acknowledging
that no structure has fallen apart as p5p grew.

So, who is doing what?  Larry is the language designer, no change
there.  However, he will be supported by a cast of thousands: us.  Our
job (and I always mean "us", "our", and "we" inclusively: not some
dreaded seekrit group of puppetmasters, but everyone and anyone who
wants to participate) is to help him.  First step will therefore be to
collect suggestions for new language features, evaluate them with an
eye to implementation, so Larry doesn't have to do all that himself
(he'll be working on it with us, of course).

We can't separate internals and externals, so we can't design one
without thinking of the other.  Dan Sugalski has offered to be point
man for the internals.  He wants to work on the embedding and
extension API (the XS-analog) and has offered his services as an
advisor to anyone proposing language features who would like some
advice on possible internals implementation issues.

We want to make sure that we have a functioning Perl from day one.
Michael Schwern kindly volunteered to organize an effort to get a QA
group for perl6.  I have no idea what form or scope it'll have, and he
probably only has a vague idea of what might be good.  He won't be
doing the work himself, he's just stood up as the one who will take
responsibility for making sure it happens.  We'll need to help him.

We figure that when we start getting designs hammered out, we'll have
plans and specs being generated left, right, and center.  Adam Turoff
offered to set up a document repository as a central place to keep
these, making it easy to see what the current state and intent is.

Ask Hansen volunteered to handle mailing lists and web site sysadmin
type of work for us, a job he's done very well for p5p.

Other crappier languages have gotten the jump on us recently because
they managed PR well.  This doesn't mean telling lies, it just means
having a single recognizable voice.  Brian Foy has offered to handle
the editing and dissemination of information for us, so that when we
have announcements, they will be sent to all the right places.

We can't do this without input from Perl users.  Dick Hardt offered to
reach out to the corporate customers of his, who we figured probably
didn't have much interest in following the bootstrap list, and feed
back to us their comments.

Someone has to herd these cats to make sure that most of the time
we're moving forward.  That's my job.  I intend to make sure we're
started well down the road of language design before handing over
the reins.  Why me?  I herded the cats at the p5p meeting on Tuesday,
and nobody else wanted the job (I turned it down once before they
talked me into it, truth be told).


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