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Removing =?utf-8?Q?perl=E2=80=99s_EBCDIC_s?==?utf-8?Q?upport_could_be_profitabl?==?utf-8?Q?e?= to z/OS users [was: Speak up now about your use ofEBCDIC]

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From:
Aristotle Pagaltzis
Date:
September 26, 2011 11:45
Subject:
Removing =?utf-8?Q?perl=E2=80=99s_EBCDIC_s?==?utf-8?Q?upport_could_be_profitabl?==?utf-8?Q?e?= to z/OS users [was: Speak up now about your use ofEBCDIC]
Message ID:
20110926184459.GA2793@klangraum.plasmasturm.org
* Karl Williamson <public@khwilliamson.com> [2011-09-26 19:10]:
> I thought I had found an EBCDIC smoker a while ago; and the contact
> person there said that he had successfully compiled and run Perl 5.12
> (I believe) on his machine. I was very surprised at that, until it
> came out that his shop, while using a platform that was natively
> EBCDIC, was running everything on it in a UTF-8 locale. They had
> abandoned EBCDIC because IBM had created good UTF-8 support, and there
> were just too many outside programs they wanted to use that didn't run
> on EBCDIC.

Under those circumstances, I believe it plausible – though I have no
means of ascertaining its likelihood – that ripping out the current
EBCDIC support and consolidating all code to consistently assume Unicode
and just Unicode, with the concomitant simplification, could well make
it *easier* to make perl work on z/OS anew: a contemporary z/OS port of
perl might be better off taking advantage of the UTF-8 support of that
platform. In other words a modern z/OS perl port might differ totally
from perl’s legacy z/OS support, which might therefore be not a starting
point, but in fact an active hindrance to renewed porting efforts.

So the game score stands as follows:

• The current EBCDIC support is not doing anyone any good
• Retaining it imposes a tax on new features
• Even the very z/OS users it’s for could be better off without it

In addition, so far, the most recent version of perl any z/OS user has
come forward to talk about is 5.12 – which is not going to be affected
by the removal of anything in 5.16, not to mention is about to be EOLd.

It would be a very nice feather in Perl’s cap to continue to run on the
big iron at those Fortune 50 woodworks we just had people come out of,
but I also notice there is no one both in a position to do the work and
having offered to do so. So given the score card above, it seems as much
as *unwise* to me to try and keep the half-dead platform support code
around.

Regards,
-- 
Aristotle Pagaltzis // <http://plasmasturm.org/>

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