develooper Front page | perl.perl5.porters | Postings from April 2000

RE: More patching! Less whining!

David Grove
April 1, 2000 03:04
RE: More patching! Less whining!
Message ID:
> It is?  Really?  You're calling a working, dramatically improved,
> and far more than simply timely release an EMBARRASSMENT?  Surely
> you jest!  Does twitterpation run in neck of the woods?  I haven't
> checked the moon lately.  Perhaps that's it.
> I have not, to the best of my recollection, seen even a single
> compatibility issue between the previous release and this one amongst
> any one of the thousands or so Perl programs runig on my system,
> nor even a burp in compiling any external module.  While it is [snip]

You seem to have a utopian system. Doesn't jive with the other posts in this
thread and others, though.

> As some of you have doubtless noticed, I've been stress-testing and
> feature-testing various pieces of Perl.  And guess what?  Yep, some
> things are broken!  However did you guess?  Now guess what else:
> These things, nearly to the very last of them, have in fact *ALWAYS*
> been broken!  Why are you not excoriating the previous release
> managers for having the temerity to emit a version of Perl that
> was, in fact, imperfect?

I've never heard of any perfect piece of software, especially in its first
release. But there's a vast difference between imperfect and broken.


> The sheer
> mass of people who sit on their butts and expect somebody *else*
> to slave away for them is astounding.

After spending thousands of hours working on my own gratis contribution to
the perl community, I'll guess you're speaking to someone else.

Some people work on the perl core, and despite some people's opinions that's
not all there is to "contributing". Some people work on perl modules, and
despite some people's opinions that's not all there is to "contributing".
Some people work on documentation, some on advocacy, some on getting perl
accepted in more situations and for more uses by providing free,
professional quality software built for it. Whose contribution is most
important? Which is more important, the big toe or the little pinky toe?
Neither, it's the whole body that's important. Thinking otherwise is
arrogance and inappropriate self-importance. That's biblical, isn't it? 1st
Corinthians I believe.

I, for one, _AM_ contributing my butt off, not just in time and sweat and
sore fingers but financially as well. My conscience is clear.

> >The Win32
> >community is convinced that 5.6 is out, stable, and available
> only from one
> >source.
> And just whose fault might you be construing *that* to be?  If the
> helpless and hapless demand that all be handed them on a silver
> platter because they are either too lazy or too incompetent to seek
> their own solutions, how can you blame the hand that holds out a
> platter to those bleating multitudes in such earnest need?  There
> is no guilt to distribute here.  Nothing stops anyone from solving
> their own problems, nor does it stop anyone else from becoming

There are entities that exist that thrive on the helplessness and
haplessness of the Win32 community, and go through great pains to keep them
there. They hold out their hands with what minimal is needed to eat, then
steal their shoes.

And no, I'm not talking about the Perl Porters.

Your generalization of Win32 users as being helpless and hapless little
ignorant lambs continues to be incorrect and insulting. There are a large
number of exceptions to Christiansen's Law "All Windows users are idiots
because I say so." Maybe you should name your next book "Programming Perl
for Tom, because everyone else is an idiot, especially Win32 users." True,
Win32 is fullest of Perl's newest and rawest users, especially where the web
is concerned, and some of them are clueless... they would admit it openly,
and with the rare exception generally do. But your arrogance isn't going to
keep out the newbie web users, no matter how much you cry and stomp your

Precisely how does this arrogance help the perl community as a whole? How
does it help even the unix-perl community?

> >I would also qualify "stable" with the stability of the more popular
> >modules, Tk, LibWin32, LibWWW, LibNet, GD, DB_File, and other
> biggies, many
> >of which do not compile at all with 5.6 without "relatively
> minor tweaking".
> You're fear mongering.

This has been shown in many posts both here and in the advocacy list. You're
false-hope mongering.

I realize that eventually everything will stabilize, that the modules will
eventually be repaired and possibly even made a little more flexible for the
next time backwards compatibility is thrown to the wind.

> >Without these modules, Perl is not Perl.
> Rubbish and poppycock.  And less savory bits, too.

Heh. Tell that to the tens of thousands of users who thrive on Tk and
LibWin32, neither of which (as of about 2 weeks ago) compile with core perl
on Win32 without changes. I stopped at that point. I don't really know how
far this problem goes.


> >soon to go cross-platform, which depends on a stable Perl as a
> backbone: and
> >after officially declaring 5.6 ready, this group is now
> wondering why it was
> >released at all so quickly?
> It wasn't.  It was released incredibly, unprecedentedly SLOWLY.

The slow approach to 5.6 doesn't excuse it's anomalously short public beta
stage, with little opportunity for module authors to catch up.

> First of all, to the people who think there's nothing here that
> merits a release: you're cracked.

I don't believe that's the nature of this thread. Someone asked whether 5.6
was really worth putting out... I don't agree with that. There is a lot of
5.6 that is a wonderful addition to the Perl arsenal. It's too bad that some
of the additions aren't finished, and that compatibilty with modules was

Now, I know the problems will eventually sort themselves out. I have more
faith in the Porters than you give me credit for, but what was learned by
this error?

[unneeded perl advocacy-snip]

> Is that really what you wanted recorded for 2000?  More nothingness?

Perhaps there were too many goals for 5.6. There are lots of reasons for a
"stagnation" like you're representing.

> We have not had a new Perl release since July 22nd, 1998.  Did you
> realize that?

Yes. I was there. I was unfortunately duped into writing some false
marketing for a perl company at that time... that is now spread all over the
internet, and not a word of it actually true. However, point taken: I was
not present and do not have stats on the distance between the releases from
5 to 5.005.

But then, we are not discussing the oolong commodity of central asia.

[unneeded perl advocacy-snip]

> These inhuman expectations of perfection and infinite work from
> folks sitting around on their thumbs and spining are just intolerable.
> This is a volunteer organization!  There's nobody you can sue, and
> there's no one you can blame save YOURSELF for not having put in
> the work.  What did YOU work on?  Did you break it?  Did you fix it?

I think we've covered that. Since around 11/98, I've been working on an
excellent marketing tool for Perl, designed to help bring more corporate
exposure to our language of _choice_ and to provide for the poor folks stuck
editing perl cgi with notepad.

> How long in your eyes should this terribly tardy release have sat
> there stewing?  What's good enough for you?  Don't you think TWO
> FRICKING YEARS was good enough?

We're not discussing a two-year wait, we're discussing a disordinantly short
beta period, lack of backwards compatibility, broken modules, and the
mystery of whom or what all of a sudden rushed perl 5.6 to "stable" status.

> Eventually it comes time to tidy up the stray feathers and push the
> fledgling out of the nest.  It's finally been done, and thank
> goodness for that!  This is merely 5.6, not Perl6.  It's just not
> that big a deal, so get over it already.  5.6.1 will be along by
> and by.  Why aren't you working on it RIGHT NOW???

I happen to be busy elsewhere in the perl community, giving my time and
effort till 4 and 5 in the morning to improve our lives nonetheless.

> Less whining!  More patching!

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