The Room Do I dare disturb the universe?

Perl Is Dead Long Live Perl

Perl is dead long live Perl!

So depending on who you ask, Perl5 is dead. Or is it Perl6? Or wait no any Perl older than 2 years … or wait no Perl1. I’ve spent some time recently exploring all these different camps, and I have to say … Perl is alive and well … all of them.

Perl6 excites a lot of people, and they’re vocal about how when it lands it’ll be the next great thing. And guess what, it’s landed … if you like Haskell and hacking on languages. Nobody is using Perl6 for their pet projects, unless their pet project is perl6 (if I am wrong, write, get it published, and send the link to Andy Lester so he can promote it). Perl5 is quietly doing what it is supposed to be doing, being damn stable and working for millions of people and billions of dollars worth of code. This isn’t sexy like multi-dispatch-quantum-operators … but it’s sexy like the original Hummer because it get’s the job done in almost any environment. (If you are doing sexy multi-dispatch-quantum-operators in Perl5, write it down, get it published and send a link to Andy Lester so he can promote it).

Perl5 is slowly gathering new features as they are either:

  1. back ported from perl6 (//= anyone?)
  2. making things that should be easy, easy (the features pragma that adds switch to the core language?)
  3. make the world as we know it better (dmq’s regexp work?).

Perl1 is being used to test Parrot how sexy is that?! (Someone quick, write an article for… never mind you get the idea.) All of these things are good things.

Ultimately Perl5 is growing the way a stable mature system should, Perl6 is growing the way an unstable mutant system should (that’s not derogatory, some of my best friends came from unstable mutants). People need to realize that both are creating exciting things, and the people creating the exciting things need to pause a moment and tell others what they’re doing and why it’s exciting.