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Perl Is Undead

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  • 2005 eh? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Monday June 23, 2014 @06:16PM (#47301009) Homepage Journal
    I don't think we're ever going to get as clear of an example of the second system effect [wikipedia.org] as Perl 6. If you asked me back in 2005 if I thought it was going to take more than a decade for the next Perl version bump, I would have said no way. Now I'm wondering if Larry and company shouldn't just ditch Perl 6 and come out with Perl 7, that is basically just Perl 5 with some tweaks to make complex data structures less of a nightmare and better integrate the object model, plus some tweaks around the edges like the implicit /x switch on regular expressions.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2014 @06:20PM (#47301035)

    Maybe Perl isn't completely "dead", but it sure as fuck isn't as vibrant of a scene as it once was.

    In the 1990s, Perl was THE BIG THING . It was cool. It was trend-setting. It was what let average programmers and sys admins become superheroes, and it let good and great programmers and sysadmins become ABSOLUTE GODS .

    Knowing Perl was what got you jobs. Knowing Perl was what let you get the hard work done fast. Knowing Perl was essential. If you didn't know Perl, you were SHIT IN A URINAL .

    Perl's got some fierce competitors now. Python can do everything Perl can do, but with a way cleaner syntax. Ruby isn't as capable as Perl or Python, but it has a religious aspect to it that makes some hipsters go absolutely batshit crazy for it. Perl just can't compete against them.

    Yeah, Perl isn't dead, and there are a lot of people who still use it today. But let's not kid ourselves, it's not the 1990s. It's not the GLORY DAYS OF PERL , when it ruled the roost.

  • by rubycodez (864176) on Monday June 23, 2014 @06:28PM (#47301107)

    Larry killed Perl, 14 years and counting and still no Perl 6 production release.

    Meanwhile, Perl 5 being phased out of system building / admin tools and web frameworks. Even Perl 5 is dying.

  • by amoeba47 (882560) on Monday June 23, 2014 @06:53PM (#47301285)

    ...squarely blamed Slashdot for starting the "Perl is Dead" meme in 2005...

    Meanwhile, it's apparent that slashdot itself uses Perl e.g: http://slashdot.org/job_board.... [slashdot.org]

  • by johnkzin (917611) on Monday June 23, 2014 @07:01PM (#47301339)

    Meanwhile, Perl 5 being phased out of system building / admin tools

    Really? what's replacing it? (genuine question ... I haven't seen anything that really fills that niche as effectively nor as completely)

    Perl 5 is still charging full steam ahead in every sysadmin group I've been around. I know there are python advocates out there, but I have only encountered ONE major IT shop that is completely (or nearly so) python driven (and it happens to be Guido's employer -- hardly a good example). Other than that, the most I've seen is _some_ python but _mostly_ perl in any IT shop.

    Sure, language-geeks have been talking about what other language has done a better job of being "a language" for at least 10 years ... but really, anything you can say negatively about perl can be said about bourne shell programming. And, yet, not only did bourne shell dominate *nix sysadmin and package install programming for 25+ years, but it is _still_ being done out there, by some backward luddite sysadmins. Perl has only been dominant in the sysadmin space for less than 15 years ... I wouldn't be surprised if it lasts at least another 10 more. And, really, since it lacks many of bourne shell programming's problems, it'd be reasonable to expect it to keep going for a lot longer than that. Especially as perl 5's evolution continues to slow down and become more stagnant (creating a consistent and stable programming layer ... which has not been true through the entirety of perl 5's lifespan -- there were a few major hiccups there as various sub-systems were refined or changed).

    (to be clear, perl 5 has _existed_ for more than 15 years, but it didn't become really dominant as a sysadmin language of choice, finally eclipsing bourne shell, until the very late 1990's or early 2000's ... probably about the time that y2k issues wiped out anything too old to have/support perl, and the last of many *nix vendors and most linux distro's being sure they included perl in their boilerplate installation, pretty much removing bourne shell's one major claim to fame (ubiquity).)

  • by mbadolato (105588) on Monday June 23, 2014 @07:06PM (#47301375)

    More telling is how utterly fast Perl is compared to the other languages. I've run most of the sample files from this language shootout [raid6.com.au] and had remarkably similar results to what they list there.

    The Perl version performed on par with the C and C versions, and it's growth/memory usage stayed pretty consistent throughout. The other languages were horrid. They took much longer, and their memory usage grew significantly during the run.

    I use Perl still when doing scripting tasks. I love Perl, always have. I don't, however, necessarily think it's the right choice for building a medium to large web-based application any more. Sure the performance is there, and there are some great frameworks like Catalyst and Dancer, but to me, they still feel a bit antiquated to some of the other technologies I've used. Plus installing tons of CPAN modules can get a little trying at times.

  • by mattack2 (1165421) on Monday June 23, 2014 @07:31PM (#47301623)

    Python can do everything Perl can do, but with a way cleaner syntax.

    If only I could turn off indentation==scope. I would pay $20 for this ability (to work in every interpreter, not some special one off interpreter just for me).

    Even *with* that limitation (and yes, I know a million people will respond saying it's oh so great and I just don't get it), I still think Python is pretty decent.. Though it seems to have (seemingly) superfluous colons in a few places, which reminds me of Pascal or BASIC.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2014 @08:24PM (#47302063)
    I've never had issues with emailing python code between people within my research group and those outside of it from time to time. Maybe that is because we standardize on using spaces instead of tabs and the email programs don't strip that when sending just text emails. If you are sending something more complex then a dozen lines you could/should just send it as an attachment anyway. Or if you don't keep sensible line lengths, as I've had some email programs of yore insert linebreaks in a bunch of places, and that didn't matter what language you tried emailing if you let the lines get too wide.
  • by nut (19435) on Monday June 23, 2014 @09:02PM (#47302333) Homepage

    ... it's just the way people use it.

    Perl was designed as a powerful, flexible, loosely typed scripting language for munging text files and streams, and that's exactly what it is.

    It's great for those scripts that you write for a particular task and never use again after the few days it was necessary. It's also good for writing glue code on occasion, to tie the inputs and outputs of other applications together, and when shell scripting just won't quite cut it.

    The trouble was that it was such a useful scripting language people started writing applications in it. Then they had to jump on the object-oriented bandwagon, which was done clumsily. Sort of like gluing a dog to your horse so it can fetch. And yes, it can be difficult to read, but it doesn't have to be.

    Use Perl for the tasks it was originally designed for. If you're going to write real applications, use a more appropriate language. Don't kick your dog because he can't sing.

  • What is "Dead" (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bradgoodman (964302) on Monday June 23, 2014 @10:40PM (#47302935) Homepage
    Sure - it's way down on the TIOBE index, and Perl 6 has been in production longer than Duke Nukem Forever, and there is a ton of "legacy" code that is written in Perl, so why do we say it's "dead"?

    Because of the lack of new projects being done with it. I can't remember the last time a [major] web site or web framework was done in Perl. It seems like the whole "ruby on rails" fad is over, but even things like Django (Python), .NET, Java, PHP, and even stuff like "Go" have stolen Perl's Thunder on the Web front.

    Well what about as your standard workhorse for script kiddies? Seems like Python has cleaned Perl's clock. For me - I've been a die-hard Perl guy for 10 years. The past couple years, I've worked with many different technologies such as 2d/3d CAD projects, Blender (3d adnimation), Inkscape (2d illustration), GNU Radio, OpenStack (cloud), and even Amazon AWS [libraries]. You know what was the striking commonality to all of these? They were done in Python.

    Tiny exception was in the last case (above - Amazon AWS libraries) had several different language options but had *NO* Perl options whatsoever. So the language that was once so revolutionary because of the abundance of CPAN libraries available for it starts to not have newer libraries built/ported to it. Furthermore, binding stuff to Perl can be difficult. So much so that most modern distros will make their own "Perl library" [RPMs] - and one of the reasons being is that a standard CPAN module installation won't work due to problems linking/binding/building across all these different environments with very different prerequisites. Most third party Python stuff I have acquired is most often "native python", and works across all types of exotic platforms - even on iOS and Google App Engine.

    As for me - I had to switch away from my beloved Perl over to Python for the aforementioned reasons. There are still several things I miss very much - the abilities to so easily spawn and fork "helper" processes, the ease it which it integrates regular expressions, how it can manipulate files, etc. All these things *can* be done with Python, they're just integrated into Perl much better IMHO.

    It seems like Perl 6 was supposed to use something similar to Java's "JVM" microcode interpreter. This could have been a possibility to run Perl in embedded sandbox-type environments (like parking meters and smartphones), but it never happened.

    So, I do believe Perl is dead. I miss it for what it was, what it is, and what might have been!

Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.

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