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Re: Announcing Perl 7

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June 26, 2020 12:49
Re: Announcing Perl 7
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On Fri, 26 Jun 2020 at 09:44, Eric Wong <> wrote:
> Karl Williamson <> wrote:
> > I don't understand many of the objections.  No one is going to force people
> > to move off 5.32, and we are promising a 5-10 year support window.  I think
> > that is ample.
> 5-10 years is not that long a time, considering many scripts
> have been running unchanged since the 90s or early 2000s.
> While I'm happy to see my favorite language learning new tricks;
> I strongly agree with everything Dave Mitchell said, especially
> about "use v7".

I believe the crunch here is that we want to switch from one model of
development to another. The old model prioritizes keeping old code
running exactly as it used to run. There is merit in that policy. But
there are other workable policies, like some languages basically make
it clear that the language will change and evolve over time and people
using it will have to keep up if they want to use the latest release,
some of the more popular languages around follow this model, so
clearly there is merit in them as well.

Sawyer has made the argument that our current model prioritizes the
wrong party; that it prioritizes the users who do not want to make
perl better, who do not care about perl as a community, but who expect
the community to care about them - after all the only users who are
affected are those expect to be able to run old perl code but also
upgrade to use the latest version of the interpreter. Any user who
wants to keep their software 100% stable can build the older version
of perl. He believes that the other policy leads to a more forward
looking "grow the community" behavior, where old code/language-rules
which is of little use but for a small minority of our users takes
precedence over introducing new features that would make the language
more attractive to a broader audience of devs, and make Perl more
suitable for solving a wider range of problems.

To achieve this change requiring new code to include "use v7" is a
non-starter.  It HAS to be the other way round or the culture wont
change. Everybody will continue to expect that their code without the
'use v7' marker will continue to work as expected, and they will think
that the contract with the perl community remains unchanged. But
Sawyer wants to change the contract *entirely* and requiring an
assertive trigger in the code fatally undermines that intent. He wants
"if you dont tell me what version to run as I will assume you want the
latest feature set always" for a good reason, so that we can tell
people when their code is going to break when we stop supporting
things, and for users who dont help us with that have to own the
breakage. I think this is a lot more reasonable than people are making
out in the discussion so far.

FWIW, I think that what we are doing now isn't working, Perl is dying
out. Sawyer has convinced me it is dying because we have roped
ourselves to dead code and we prioritize the wrong user groups. So I
feel that broad brush he is right and we should go ahead with his
plan. We elected him *exactly* to make these kinds of decisions in the
best interest of the community, of which I feel certain he is trying
to do.

I have to admit I keep wondering if we could use new file extensions
to reduce some of the friction in this process, but I can never figure
out a solution that is really better overall than what Sawyer is


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