Paul Cory would like to rebrand Perl 6 into the shadows. It's the kind of Stalinist revisionism favoured by corporations that realise that their "next big thing" has become an embarrassing albatross.
Here are his reasons:
1) It emphasises the "inadequacies" of Perl 5.
All languages have inadequacies, imperfections, miss-features, cruft. Perl 5 is no different. Fortunately, instead of brushing them under the rug, the Perl community is actively seeking to right those wrongs. A question: would you rather use a language that's maintained by people who are a) in denial about it's inadequacies or b) actively developing a new language based on recognised shortcomings? I hope that's a rhetorical question.
2) It makes the development community look unorganized, at best. People comparing at the development pace of Python, Ruby and PHP to Perl 6 are likely to come to harsher conclusions about the community's focus, viability and competence, based on Perl 6's seven-year, and counting, gestation period.
Those hypothetical people are wrong and I don't want to be part of a community that panders to their views. The Perl 5 Porters are doing a great job of continuously improving Perl 5. The Perl 6 team are laying the foundations for the next generation of Perl. Perl 5 and Perl 6 have a mutually beneficial relationship: features, tools and ideas are traded freely between the two groups. It's healthy, responsible and creative.
Python and Ruby have, to their credit, somewhat similar splits between far sighted strategic development and tactical improvements to the current language generation. PHP is a bizarre bazaar that does not provide a model other language communities should emulate.
3) It creates uncertainty: what happens to Perl 5 when Perl 6 finally drops? How much new stuff will I have to learn? How will my existing code work, or not, if I upgrade? Why should I invest time in Perl 5 if Perl 6 is just around the corner, and will be far superior?
Learning to deal with an uncertain future comes with the territory of computing. Continual improvement necessarily means that things will change.
Perl 6 is visible proof that we have vision. Perl 5 is visible proof that we can maintain an extremely high quality programming language. These facts combined should give observers confidence about the health of Perl. As a community we certainly need to work to allay fears and calibrate expectations. But let's not start by hiding one of our greatest assets, ok?
4) It creates frustration inside the community. Perl 6 has been "coming soon" for 7.5 years now. It's hard to remain excited about something that long with no payoff.
Welcome to the world of free software. Instead of waiting for Godot we can go and meet him half way; help him carry his load. Let's be explicit here: if Perl is part of your life or career and you're tired of waiting for Perl 6 help make it happen.
You don't have to contribute code to help. Learn more about Perl 6 so you can explain it to others. If you find it hard to learn make it easier for others: write an article that explains some of the important points, give talks, learn so you can teach.
5) The story is confusing: Pugs? Haskell? Parrot? Two development tracks? I thought this was about Perl? Yes, I have an idea of what those things are, but most folks outside the community (and a fair few inside, I'd wager) don't know, don't care, and shouldn't have to.
If the story is confusing we need to tell it more clearly. That doesn't justify changing the underlying technical narrative.
In a commodified world criticism and spending discretion are the consumer's only levers. We crave influence over the things we consume. In the absence of direct influence over a product's design we use criticism as a proxy for control. We hope that they'll make the next version better as a result.
Criticism is still valid in the free software world but it's importance is de-emphasised. You can criticise or you can help. In fact you can criticise and help.
It's important that Perl 6 is not immune from scrutiny but if you're frustrated that it's taking a while then volunteer. The Perl 6 team is small at the moment; small enough that a few well placed contributions can make a real difference. Let's not default to bitching about it when we have the opportunity of contributing to its success.