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Re: More patching! Less whining!

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From:
simon
Date:
April 1, 2000 02:33
Subject:
Re: More patching! Less whining!
Message ID:
slrn8ebk1m.1vj.simon@othersideofthe.earth.li
Tom Christiansen (lists.p5p):
>It is?  Really?  You're calling a working, dramatically improved,
>and far more than simply timely release an EMBARRASSMENT? 

Okay. I'm now sick of the bullshit.

First, let me say I don't want to take anything away from Sarathy. He's
done an *excellent* job as pumpking, and I can't praise him enough. This
release has needed a lot of nurturing, and he has given time and energy
above and beyond the call of duty to do exactly what has been required
at all times. Sarathy, thank you.

But one of the things I've wanted to do is tell the world what's new in
Perl 5.6.0. I've had quite a good crack at it, but believe me, it's been
extremely hard.

What improvements can we tell the user community about? To justify a
move off the 5.5 track, it's got to be something big.

Ah, yes. Unicode. But after two years of work, the one thing that users
will want to do - open and read Unicode data - is still not there.
Who cares if stuff's now represented internally in Unicode if they can't
read the files they need to.

The compiler dumps core less often. I could say that. I don't think
it'll give the right impression.

Threading. We've got this brand new threading model but - sorry folks,
you can't actually use it. The only thing it does at the moment is give
fork() to those systems which don't have it. The only significant group
of users this affects are Windows users: ActiveState's customers.

This shouldn't be an issue, as there are other PC ports around. But support
for Cygnus now requires a development snapshot to work. DJGPP people
have been reporting failures as well. This may be due to inadequacies in
DJGPP - which we failed to work around. The only PC port that's held it
together has been - guess.

Hey, don't draw the wrong conclusion here - this just means Sarathy has
been working harder and better than the rest of us. But it's still
pretty odd. Especially since we've allowed things like AIX to lapse as
well.

Those are the three big things we've been working on. They're not there.

No, don't parrot me the change log. I've read it. I've crawled through
perldata and Changes to fish out things worth writing about. It's not
been easy.

I've also read Todo-5.6, and seen everything we said we would do, and
somehow the release became `ready' before we made good on a reasonable
number of those. That worried me.

But besides, for the purposes of selling a new version to the users,
I've been trying to find things that'll be significant for them, not us.

Take Unicode tuples. Great stuff, but they've caused a whole bunch of
confusion among the porters - the very people who ought to understand
this stuff better than anyone else. If we can't grok it, I can't really
push it as new and exciting.

Yeah, a bunch of bugs have been fixed. So, what, I'm reduced to calling
it a bugfix release? But that would have been 5.005_04.

Eventually, I cooked something plausible up, but had to drown it in
provisos and disclaimers enough to take all the wind out of it. It's
been depressing.

We were overdue a new release. I accept that. And it's merely a new
subversion, not a brand new version. Fair enough. 

I also accept this wasn't Sarathy's fault. If it was anyone's fault, it
was my fault, because I didn't work hard enough to get the things I
cared about on the Todo list done. I hope each one of you can honestly
say the same.

But this means I won't be getting the champagne out yet. 

And I means I seriously don't think it was worth three bloody good
porters over.

-- 
A year spent in artificial intelligence is enough to make one believe in God.

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