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Re: What happened to the whole "small core" idea?

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James E Keenan
October 27, 2012 06:15
Re: What happened to the whole "small core" idea?
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On 10/26/12 10:41 AM, Peter Rabbitson wrote:
> So, now the longer version. What continuously keeps bugging me is that
> the brilliant strategy championed by Obra (Jesse Vincent) almost 4 years
> ago turned out to be nothing more than a couple of well executed
> presentations (not his fault). It has been 4 years, and still precious
> time is spent discussing how to cram yet another *very* controversial
> and complex piece of syntax directly into the core. What happened to the
> “ship it on CPAN and see” mantra? What happened to making perl smaller
> and less complex? Why after smartmatch and $_ localization and
> auto-deref (which has not yet backfired, but it will), is this still
> happening?

I'm not sure I heard the presentations you refer to of four years back, 
but I do know that "smaller core" has been a concept I've heard leading 
P5Pers speak about in person in recent years.

I do recall Jesse's presentation at YAPC::NA::2011 in Asheville in which 
he called for pragmas that would give the user the functionality 
specific to a particular version of Perl.  This was reinforced by Stevan 
Little's keynote at the DC-Baltimore Perl Workshop in April of this year.

But I agree with you that I don't see very much discussion of either of 
those aspects of "the vision" on P5P, at least not in relation to the 
general volume of discussion.  My impression is that people get a 
tremendous rush from "getting my feature into the next version of the 
core" -- a much bigger rush that "I just put this up on CPAN."

> [snip]
> Hence why I particularly lament the lack of movement towards Jesse's
> vision. IMNSHO Perl5 does not need *any* extra *syntax* from here on
> out. In fact it stopped needing it around 5.6-ish. No new syntax unless
> there is a massive benefit in adding it, and even then only if it can
> not be done via a CPAN-distributed extension.

I don't take quite as firm a position on syntax as you do, but I do 
offer this data point:

 From 2006 to 2012 I was at a $job where the Perl version in use was 5.8 
(5.8.4, IIRC).  During most of the same period I was heavily involved in 
the Perl project, whose Perl 5 components were also restricted to 5.8 -- 
and still are, even though 5.8 is out-of-support.  So I had no practical 
opportunities to try out 5.10+ syntax.

Since July of this year my $job has been at a company that uses very 
recent versions of Perl in production and uses things like Moose, 
Catalyst, locallib, and perlbrew as well.  So I get to write Perl 5.16. 
  But of all the extra syntax added since 5.8, the only things I end up 
using are:


And, as I have previously stated, I will never use ~~ in production, 
given its checkered history.


> Yet when it comes to actually shipping Perl5 – we
> keep shipping a new mini-language just sufficiently different from its
> previous sibling.

At this point I think your argument starts to become unclear.  I would 
have thought from your argument that you *don't* want big changes in the 
core of the language.

> Every.
> Fucking.
> Year.

May I ask you to reconsider the choice of vocabulary?  We're not prudes 
here, but why pour gasoline on the fire with emotional language?

> Perl5 just turned 18 a week ago (according to a0d0e21ea6e). It is now
> legal to express ones love to this great dynamic language in every way
> possible. What better time to ask where is Perl5 going and why can't it
> stay Perl5?

I suspect that that opens the door to people who will retort, "Perl 5 
must evolve to stay relevant."  But I agree with your original argument, 
namely, that it does not appear that most activity on P5P is directed 
toward the vision to which recent pumpkings, major contributors and -- 
at least nominally -- most of the rest of us subscribe.

Thank you very much.
Jim Keenan

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