John Redford wrote on Mon, Mar 15, 2010 at 11:29:31AM -0400: 
> Tom Metro wrote:
> > 
> > Bill Ricker wrote:
> > > Do we want to do something at the LinuxCon in South Boston in August?
> > 
> > Doing it better, though, isn't trivial. It would take some research and
> > work to first understand the reasons why developers have left Perl, the
> > impression they have of Perl, and their concerns over using it on a
> > work
> > project. (Of course we can all speculate and guess at the answers to
> > these, but there's danger in doing so from within the community, as
> > those that have stuck with Perl have obviously not considered the
> > deficiencies significant enough to justify abandoning the language.)
> As a nigh-former Perl user who has essentially "left Perl" -- now perhaps
> using it about once a year -- I can tell you the main reason without
> resorting to speculation: Other languages got better.
> Once upon a time, Perl was the big game in town.  But it didn't have
> reference types.  Then Python came along.  It had plenty of flaws, but it
> had regular expressions and reference types. Certain problems were so much
> easier when solved with Python that lots of Perl users switched.  Then Perl
> got reference types, and lots of users switched back.  Developers migrate to
> tools that do what they need.  Better developers are comfortable learning
> new tools all the time -- they don't have to "abandon" one language for
> another.

Except that actually using them to get away from global variables and
still not copy the heck out of everything was insufficiently supported
by syntax.  Namely, changing functions that took a string as a
parameter to use a reference to a string are very hard to fix since if
you forget to insert the magic character perl will just interpret it
in the scalar context and do something unintended with it without an

People like me started with perl and still like perl best but I can't
really deal with this aspect.  I want named function arguments and
string passed as arguments are not copied.  Global space but not
global name.  And they better look like variables inside the function
(because it is not like in C where you get a type error at compile
time in most cases of missing the reference fact).  This is critical,

Also, lack of exception handling was a more annoying thing that drove
away people from Perl, from my observation.

> Some people didn't switch to Python -- some even claimed reference types
> were not important.  And some others didn't switch back from Python to Perl.
> There are plenty of people who will stick with a single language, no matter
> what, and who will expound to others that their chosen language is the
> "best".  To developers who have used a variety of tools and techniques, this
> attitude seems fanatic and na?ve.  Its advocates seem unpersuasive and
> uninteresting.
> Every programming language, like every program, is a set of tradeoffs
> between space & time, conciseness and readability, expressiveness and
> simplicity, etc...  Perl is one set of those tradeoffs.  They're fine for
> many things, great for some things, and horrible for others.  And Perl is
> used by developers who want that set of tradeoffs.  If the number of places
> where those tradeoffs are (most) appropriate is diminishing, relatively or
> absolutely, then Perl may be headed to the land of LISP, Cobol, Tcl,
Hey now :-)

> Objective-C and other languages that just aren't going to be what they
> thought they were going to be.

ObjC is still in OSX and now the iPhone OS.

In the segment of end-user klickbunti application programming the
winner is - diversity.  So much stuff that people kick around.

> Note: Much of what makes Perl advocates seem so fanatic is that Perl is
> already very popular and widely known.  There are conferences, books, web
> sites... every sign of success short of a second implementation.  There are
> plenty of other languages that are much less well known and perhaps more
> deserving of advocacy time & effort -- F# comes to mind.  So one must wonder
> what Perl advocates are looking to achieve.  The total subjugation of all
> other programming languages?  World conquest?  Isn't it "enough" to be #1,
> does Perl have to be the only one?

The biggest Perl advantage has always been people.

I just wanted to swap the big O notation back in.  The best page to
absorb for my particular brain is on a Perl site.  When changes are
made to the Perl language the people discussing it have a huge
background with all kinds of other languages, including non-procedural

Unfortunately that very fact has blown the Perl6 effort out of

Martin Cracauer <>
FreeBSD - where you want to go, today.

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