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Re: Its time we set the score straight on Perl 5 and Perl 6 and debunk our own self generated FUD.

Nicholas Clark
June 25, 2006 10:42
Re: Its time we set the score straight on Perl 5 and Perl 6 and debunk our own self generated FUD.
Message ID:
On Tue, Jun 20, 2006 at 12:51:19AM +0200, Abigail wrote:

> OTOH, if we take minor releases into account, it situation even becomes
> worse. For instance, there were 20 minor releases in the two years between
> 5.005 and 5.6.0, but only 12 releases in the four years since 5.8.0. Between
> 5.004 and 5.005, there were 30 minor releases (not counting the more than 
> a dozen trial releases), and Chip even had to invent a new counting system
> for the releases between 5.003 and 5.004.

I'm not disagreeing with your argument in general here, but I don't think that
the specifics this counting are valid, for a couple of reasons. I assume you're
referring to the chunk of releases here:

          5.005         1998-Jul-22     Oneperl.

 Sarathy  5.005_01      1998-Jul-27     The 5.005 maintenance track.
          5.005_02-T1   1998-Aug-02
          5.005_02-T2   1998-Aug-05
          5.005_02      1998-Aug-08
 Graham   5.005_03-MT1  1998-Nov-30
          5.005_03-MT2  1999-Jan-04
          5.005_03-MT3  1999-Jan-17
          5.005_03-MT4  1999-Jan-26
          5.005_03-MT5  1999-Jan-28
          5.005_03-MT6  1999-Mar-05
          5.005_03      1999-Mar-28
 Leon     5.005_04-RC1  2004-Feb-05
          5.005_04-RC2  2004-Feb-18
          5.005_04      2004-Feb-23

 Sarathy  5.005_50      1998-Jul-26     The 5.6 development track.
          5.005_51      1998-Aug-10
          5.005_52      1998-Sep-25
          5.005_53      1998-Oct-31
          5.005_54      1998-Nov-30
          5.005_55      1999-Feb-16
          5.005_56      1999-Mar-01
          5.005_57      1999-May-25
          5.005_58      1999-Jul-27
          5.005_59      1999-Aug-02
          5.005_60      1999-Aug-02
          5.005_61      1999-Aug-20
          5.005_62      1999-Oct-15
          5.005_63      1999-Dec-09
          5.5.640       2000-Feb-02
          5.5.650       2000-Feb-08     beta1
          5.5.660       2000-Feb-22     beta2
          5.5.670       2000-Feb-29     beta3
          5.6.0-RC1     2000-Mar-09     Release candidate 1.
          5.6.0-RC2     2000-Mar-14     Release candidate 2.
          5.6.0-RC3     2000-Mar-21     Release candidate 3.
          5.6.0         2000-Mar-22

The two reasons I disagree are

1: The style of development has changed. It used to be that people patched
   against the last numbered development release version. Hence there was a
   need for fairly frequent development release versions. This was all before
   the rise of rsync - these days everyone who pays attention gets their source
   from rsync.

   I've found there's no point in making snapshots because no-one even bothers
   to download them. Release candidates don't fare much better, and I don't
   think that we've had any feedback from the 5.9.3 release tarball itself -
   everyone tracking blead does it via rsync.

2: You're counting development and stable releases there. Counting only stable
   releases tells a different story. There were 3 maintenance releases of
   5.005_0x before 5.6.0 was released. 5.005_01 was released within 7 days,
   so for all practical purposes it *was* the stable release - treat 5.005 as
   a de-facto release candidate. Heck. Even 5.005_02 was within 2 weeks.

   So really there was 1 maintenance update, 5.005_03, about 6 months later,
   1999-Mar-28. And then a MASSIVE 2 year gap before any further stable perl
   release. And even then, for all Sarathy's hard work, 5.6.0 wasn't the
   world's most stable Perl release.

So we had it worse 6 years ago. 2 years between *any* stable release.
And then only 1 stable release per year. (2001 - 5.6.1; 2002 - 5.8.0)

> New features is what the world uses as a measurement to decide software
> is dead, or being developed. And they look at what's being developed -
> for J. Random Perl Programmer, all the features currently in blead are
> just vaporware.

This I agree with. The world is hypocritical because it likes to know that
development is happening, but then it doesn't actually use the latest
version. But it's the world we live in.

Nicholas Clark Perl Programming lists via nntp and http.
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