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Re: Perl is an itch-free zone? (was Re: This (unfinished) Week on perl5-porters (19-25 June 2006))

Scott Walters
July 4, 2006 11:12
Re: Perl is an itch-free zone? (was Re: This (unfinished) Week on perl5-porters (19-25 June 2006))
Message ID:
> On Mon, Jul 03, 2006 at 05:36:25PM -0700, Jan Dubois wrote:
> > ActiveState employs 2 core Tcl developers, including the release manager.
> > Most of their client sponsored work goes back into core Tcl. Subjectively
> > I have to say that there are no customers willing to pay for the same kind
> > of core improvement work for Perl.

Some technologies are spend-money-to-make-money propositions.  Electrical
engineers, Solaris admins (especially the Sun certified and the self-starting 
varities), Borland developers, etc all have to pony up money to ply their
craft.  When you're not buying the hardware or the software, it's hard to
get into the mindset that it's frivilous to pay for books, pay to go to cons, or
puy for extra development software beyond the language itself.  Java tends to
be of the spend-money-to-make-money mindset even though it's perfectly possible
to develop Java with no-charge software.  Java people will spend money for 
certifications, books, etc, without a second thought, as their culture's 
group-think tells them these are good investments.  The Python camp seems 
indecisive.  The Perl community is addicted to not spending money on Perl, be 
it their hobby or profession.  Perhaps this makes it more sacred, in the same 
way that many people prefer not to spend money on sex.

Or maybe it has to do with the reasons people use Perl.  PHP people tend to
buy a book or two, but they get into PHP to make money.  Even PHP people
who got into it "for fun" have banners all over their sites, generally
speaking.  Java people generally got into Java to make money.  Most Perl people 
I know got into Perl to make their existing job a little easier, or to be 
able to tackle some new responsibility that was thrust upon them, or for fun.  
Of any language I've used, Perl has the highest concentration of non-programmers-
by-trade.  If we're not using the language specifically to make money, it's
harder to get into the spend-money-to-make-money mindset.

This isn't just a matter of money coming from the Perl camp to hire a release 
manager or anything else.  Novices refuse to buy books, even though we constantly 
talk books up on IRC and Perl Monks.  

A few of us are old and wise enough to reject the "I don't have to spend money"
myth.  Sometimes a little money goes a long way, and that's really nice to see.

Of course, this whole argument is conjecture, opinion, and limited observation.

I stand by my "victim of it's success" argument, but that's clearly not the
only factor.  Perl works well, but it's hard to say what would happen if it
didn't.  Would people start spending money, or would they just jump ship?
Only speculation is possible...

-scott Perl Programming lists via nntp and http.
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