I've just read Mark-Jason Dominus' article on www.perl.com, I've been away
from perl6-meta for a while (a month) and I thought I'd catch up a bit.
It's not often you read something as unhelpful as this article.
Like most Perl programmers I just use the language. I have never been
involved in the language implementation and it seemed unlikely that I ever
would be, pressures of work, a young family, too lazy, etc..
Then I read about Larry's speech and, <wry smile> like one or two others, I
decided to follow the discussion. I didn't expect to contribute any ideas
and I was initially overwhelmed with the amount of email --- amazing.....
But I got the distinct impression that I *could* contribute and that it
*would* be taken seriously. It would, eventually, have ended up in Larry
Wall's intray and he'd have scratched his head, frowned and said "Nah, I
don't *think* so, somehow." and that would have been the end of it -- or
maybe he'd have thought it was the best thing since sliced bread... But it
was there; an oportunity to contribute to a language that tens of thousands
of people use.
Anyway, I didn't submit anything **** And I'm glad I didn't. ****
Any RFC I submitted would have been my first foray into language design and
would *probably* have drawn unfavorable comment from Mark.
A lollipop is not always an appropriate response to an untutored suggestion.
The suggestions of people who know nothing about your field (let's call them
"users") are often annoying but are useful frequently enough to pay
"I'll leave that to the internals guys. :-)" is a valid initial response
from someone who is essentially a user. Mark should not have been surprised
or disappointed at it. It seems to me that language design brainstorming is
an *ideal* place to suggest skyhooks and then argue about how they might
work -- and that language design is a different thing altogether from
"There are a lot of people around who do have some understanding of the Perl
internals" Yes, I'm sure there are -- but normal users or Perl don't know
any of them. This does not mean that their ideas, badly expressed or not,
I could go on but I won't. My problem with the critique is this: Seeing a
prominent person in the Perl community bad mouthing his user's best efforts
has taken some of the shine off Perl6 for me; it was unkind.
Mike Lacey, United Kingdom