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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.

Joshua Juran
June 28, 2006 14:00
Re: Its time we set the score straight on Perl 5 and Perl 6 and debunk our own self generated FUD.
Message ID:
On Jun 16, 2006, at 2:05 AM, demerphq wrote:

> Lately I've been seeing comments in various forums along the  
> following lines:
>  1. Perl 5 is a dead language
>  2. Perl 5 is going to be replaced by Perl 6 so there is no point in
> using Perl 5.

Somebody mentioned technical books.  A review of Steve Oulline's  
Wicked Cool Perl Scripts has just been posted to Slashdot.

Wicked Cool Perl Scripts

> I think these are a serious problem for the language and the
> community. When college teachers are saying that teaching PHP makes
> more sense because Perl is a dead language there is a problem.

This is the first time I've seen PHP mentioned on any Perl list,  
ever.  Perhaps we've been living in an alternate reality where it  
doesn't exist.

"You shouldn't use it because nobody uses it" is a self-fulfilling  
statement, and college *students* should know better, to say nothing  
of professors.  Programming instructors should also be aware of the  
serious limitations of PHP, such as the lack of anonymous functions  
(which is surprising given that its most obvious ancestors, Perl and  
JavaScript, *do* have them).

But I think I see the pattern here.  Having wings is overhead if  
you're not going to fly, and having anonymous functions and other  
such 'necessities' is undesirable complexity if you're going to speak  
in programmer baby-talk anyway.

Another factor is the learning curve of Web deployment.  With PHP,  
you just rename index.html to index.php and start coding.  Perl via  
CGI has a performance hit, and mod_perl is beyond the average Web  
programmer's ability to configure, particularly with the gotchas  
relating to module reloading and persistent globals, and the need to  
configure multiple apache servers for development and production.   
Face it -- mod_perl is hard core, and most people don't want to go  
there, especially not on the first date.

Personally I will not use PHP again, out of sheer spite -- even for  
the simplest of projects.  But most users don't want to reconfigure  
apache, aren't capable of it, and often aren't allowed to anyway.  To  
make progress here, we'd need to create a mod_perl_simple that's as  
easy to get started with as mod_php, and *get it deployed* by ISP's.

> We need to make it clear that Perl 5 is not dead, not sleeping, and
> not going anywhere.

But what is the problem, really?  Not enough perl maintainers?  Or  
are we just jealous that a weaker language has stolen our thunder?

Josh Perl Programming lists via nntp and http.
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