Hi all,

in case you have not read Su-Shee's 
http://blogs.perl.org/users/su-shee/2011/01/and-suddenly-youre-hip.html , you 
should because she gives many useful insights there. One thing she says there 
is that Vim became popular among the "hipsters" because using it was marketed 
as relatively elite and:

Selling the steep learning curve as something what earns you Rockstar- and 
Ninja-credit in your community (I'm assuming you're familiar with all this 
Rockstar/Ninja meme...)

Now, a lot of us have tried to market Perl 5 as a language that is "easy to 
learn" and "not so hard" and "not exactly Rocket science", but maybe we should 
admit that while one can master a small subset of it pretty quickly, it is 
still positively huge and has many dark corners and lots of small gotchas. So 
in essence saying something like "Perl - do you have the brains for it?" 
(possibly phrased better).

We can think of many more slogans like that, but I mean that just like Vim 
takes some time to get used to, at least to people who are used to 
Windows/KDE/GNOME or even Mac OS X editors (though you can be productive with 
a very small subset) and because mastering eventually is very rewarding, 
because one feels much more productive, so is Perl in essence: has a lot of 
visual clutter at first, and has a steep learning curve, but you get to know 

A Python (and other things) programmer I talked with once told me: "I'm not 
smart enough to write Perl.". He is a Technion graduate with Computer Science 
with excellent written Hebrew and written English, and is certainly very 
intelligent and smart (and I've known some less smart Perl programmers), but 
he meant was that he didn't give the initial mental effort to understand the 
Perl mentality. That was many years ago, and I kinda dismissed it, even though 
I should have realised it was a good idea.

I can think of several downsides to this, too, like intimidating people who 
think they are stupid than they really are and really underestimate 
themselves. Like many "post-Feminist" (if that's the term) women who want to 
stay at home and be supported by their husbands, despite being very 

So I'm not sure if it's a good idea, but I think a defensive view that "Perl 
is not rocket science" or "Perl is not that hard." may be even worse.

Maybe we should say something like "Perl - there's more than one way to do it. 
Can you find them all?" or "Perl - TIMTOWTDY - how many you can find?" or 

So what are your thoughts about it?


        Shlomi Fish

P.S: after offering a bounty to create a scripting frontend (similar to awk or 
perl's -e with the various flags) for Clojure, I got many comments and it 
seems that the Clojure community has a very positive and healthy attitude 
(which is more than I can say for Common Lisp, Scheme or even Ruby and Python 
which seem to suffer from a lot of "penis envy" in various different ways.). 
You can see the thread here:


One thing I was impressed from that instead of telling me "How many one-liners 
you write per-day" or "there's no such thing as throwaway code" or "Paul 
Graham/Larry Wall/MJD/whoever suck", they said "it would be a great idea but 
we think Clojure is the wrong tool for the job, due to the initial startup 
time of the JVM". 

Similarly, I think we should admit that threads can often be a great idea, but 
that they are not easy to utilise in Perl 5, due to its design, and that if 
you feel you must use threads, you should look into a different technology. 
I.e: lose the negative attitude. 

Shlomi Fish       http://www.shlomifish.org/
Best Introductory Programming Language - http://shlom.in/intro-lang

Mastering 'cat' is almost as difficult as herding cats.
-- http://www.shlomifish.org/humour/bits/Mastering-Cat/

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