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Re: ANSI Perl: NO F* WAY !!!

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Michael G Schwern
June 10, 2000 18:38
Re: ANSI Perl: NO F* WAY !!!
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On a counter-note, I was kinda anti-ANSI, too.  But a late night
discussion on #perl has me swayed a little bit, Abigail and mjd scored
some good points for standardization:

   Schwern: Hmmm, Mr. Rosler misses the point of standardization.
    yrlnry: schwern: I somehow doubt that.
   Schwern: Well, why "officially" standardize something that's not fractured?
    pudge_: Schwern, so businesses can rely on it.
   Schwern: Yay.  They already can rely on it.
    pudge_: no, not on perl
    pudge_: on a standard
   Schwern: Perl people are absolutely crazy about backwards compatibility.
    pudge_: i am not saying i agree
    pudge_: you asked why standardize, and i told you :)
    pudge_: actually
   Schwern: ...but that's his argument.  Yeah.
    yrlnry: crazy in the sense of ignoring it in an irrational and self-destructive way, perhaps.
    pudge_: one could make an argument that perl IS fractured
   Schwern: I'm just afraid it'll get frozen in time like C.
    pudge_: you havce 5.004 over there, 5.005 here, and 5.6 out there
   Schwern: Pudge:  Standardization won't help that anymore than it helped C++
    pudge_: Schwern, my hope is that Perl WILL get frozen in time.
   Schwern: There's still tons of non-ANSI C++ compilers out there.
    pudge_: when it is done.
   fimmtiu: C++'s problems are not a result of standardization.
   fimmtiu: C++'s problems are because it's a poorly designed language.
   Schwern: fimmtiu:  Not what I'm saying.
    pudge_: C++ has only one problem.
    pudge_: it's not perl!


   Abigail: What do people think of the Larry Rosler interview?
   Schwern: Abigail:  His arguments for turning Perl into hundreds of pages of unreadable documents are less than convincing.
   PerlJam: Abigail: I'm composing email to Larry Rosler about it right now.  I think he's clued but misguided.
   Schwern: Abigail:  THen again... we already have man pages...
   PerlJam: What Schwern just said.
   Abigail: I didn't see him talking about "unreadable" documentation.
   Schwern: Abigail:  Ever read an ANSI spec?
   Abigail: Schwern: yes.
   PerlJam: Abigail: What do *you* think about it?
   Schwern: Abigail:  Not the clearest things in the universe.
   Schwern: And has a language as complicated as Perl ever been spec'd?
   PerlJam: Schwern: C++
    yrlnry: schwern: Have you read the ANSI C standard?  I don't think it's unreadable.
   Schwern: C++ has nothing on Perl.
   Schwern: mjd:  My copies in storage, I've seen a few gems.
   quidity: If we had a standards committee, would we have to adopt strict definitions of all the Larry Wall quotes as well?
   Abigail: I think that it would benefit Perl in the long run to standardize it. However, it should be a standard that allows things that are "deprecated" to be removed in future versions. 
       uri: mjd: ever read the pl/1 specs? total gibberish.
    yrlnry: uri: No, I haven't had that pleasure.
       uri: mjd: the pleasure^Wpain was all mine
   Abigail: One of the problems now is that certain things aren't well defined, and if behaviour chances from version to version, a bugreport can be dismissed as "well, it was never well defined, so it isn't a bug".
   Schwern: I'm more afraid of calcification of Perl than anything else.
       uri: mjd: i wrote massive runtime library stuff from that spec. i still have the scars
     dngor: That's what Ilya means when he says Perl is nondeterministic, right?
    yrlnry: Another problem is that the current development team doesn't seem to particularly care about backward compatibility anyway.
   Abigail: For instance, what should the following print: sub AUTOLOAD {print $AUTOLOAD} *foo = *bar; foo ();  ?  (It prints different things in 5.005 and 5.6 for instance).
   Schwern: mjd:  Odd, I've always found p5p to be absolutely rabid about that.
    yrlnry: schwern: You haven't been paying very much attention then.
   Schwern: Not since 5.6.0 came out.
    yrlnry: Not since about three yeasr ago, it appears.
    yrlnry: Try reading perldelta sometime.
    clintp: The theme is "Well, we can break backward compatability, as long as it's not something important that anyone in p5p uses."
    yrlnry: Or if Larry decides that the new way is more useful.
    clintp: For varying degrees of "important"
   Abigail: "Important" often meaning "I don't like the new way of doing it, so the old way is important".
   Schwern: Here's the question.  Would an ANSI spec chisel Perl in stone?  Would there be no more new features because of it (or effectively because they weren't in the standard)?
    yrlnry: Well, that didn't happen to C.  Why would it happen to Perl?
   PerlJam: Schwern: in as much as C is "chiselled in stone"
   Schwern: C relies more on its libraries than its core language.
       uri: schwern: i think the issue is less about features than clarifying what perl is supposed to do in odd places. it is too empirical sometimes.
   PerlJam: Perl needs to be redesigned from the ground up (again)
*** mandrake- ( has joined channel #perl
   Abigail: Having a Perl standard means that other people could write compatible Perl compilers/interpreters.
 mandrake-: huh
   Schwern: I'd consider C to be (arguably) "complete"
    yrlnry: Schwern: Regardless of what you think, the new standard is standardizing features that have been introduced after 1989.
   Schwern: mjd:  What new standard?
   PerlJam: uri: ah
    yrlnry: schwern: There is a new ANSI C standard in development.
   Abigail: C9x
   Schwern: There's a new ANSI C standard?  I had no idea.
   Schwern: of course, this will take another decade to be widely adopted...
    yrlnry: That makes like five things you have cirticized and argued about in the last twelve hours that you had no idea about.
   Schwern: mjd:  That's why I have you here, dear.
   PerlJam: Schwern: Have you seen GNU C lately?
   Abigail: Schwern: there are a hell of a lot more C compilers and run time environments out there then there are Perl compilers.
   Abigail: (Perl compiler being perl, not perlcc).


Michael G Schwern
<GuRuThuG> make a channel called Perl, and infest it with joking and doesnt make alot of sense.

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