I tried posting another response to david at
http://journal.dedasys.com/2008/12/07/python-surpasses-perl but his blog doesn't cope with long replies.
I can't even post a response on your blog so I posted it here :
What those of us who actually have written and developed open source perl projects are saying is that sourceforge is a very poor indicator of anything but sourceforge usage in languages.
I think you're article would be much better if you turned it on it's head : Which languages use sourceforge, vs which languages have strong software repositories of their own.
Ruby has it's gems, php has pear, Python has the caverns of thingywotsit.
CPAN just happens to be far larger and better equipped than the alternatives.
As a free software author it's simply not worth the effort of using sourceforge for any of my projects - CPAN provides better tools and distribution, I have my own homepages for my projects.
I would probably even surmise that Sourceforge is actually the thing that is losing market share : you have better and more focussed alternatives like ohloh, github and google code, most significant projects will host their own version control, bug tracking and wikis.
"f CPAN shows some growth for Perl, that seems normal to me - if there's no growth there, the language really would be dead."
16% is more than just healthy growth - it indicates exactly the opposite of your conclusions!
"Freshmeat indicates that, relative to Python and other languages, Perl isn't seeing as much code released."
I'd turn that on it's head : the usage of freshmeat indicates the lack of better alternatives for other languages.
CPAN and PEAR have both moved forwards a great deal since sourceforge was created, yet sourceforge is pretty much identical to how it was in the 90s.
"The point that perhaps people are less interested in Freshmeat these days isn't a bad one (although "myself as a case study" isn't great statistics either), but why should that be different for Python, Perl or, say, Lua users? If it's going to drop off, it'll drop off for everyone."
Because other languages don't have a decent repository of their own and/or have different eco-systems.
Despite the existance of PEAR, PHP is still dominant on freshmeat, but PEAR and Freshmeat don't overlap much - one being for applications one being for libraries.
"Python, however, is growing, whereas Perl hasn't. I'm sorry if that upsets you, but those are the relevant facts."
No - all you've shown is that freshmeat is more popular with python coders than perl ones.
"However, it is not as popular as it once was, in terms of new code being written."
Again, you can't sensibly draw this conclusion when you know that CPAN growth is 16% year on year.
You probably don't even have figures to compare growth in the vaults..
A quick check of the web page shows "Parnasus Totals: 2025 items in 49 categories." CPAN yearly growth is larger than the entire Panasus repo!
Maybe Python has a new repo - Parnasus looks like it hasn't been updated or worked on since the 90s - that would certainly explain why pythonista's tend to rely on sourceforge.
Yup, there is a new repo : 5393 packages on cheeseshop.python.org
So python has 5393 packages on cheeseshop, 3200 on sourceforge, and 2000 on parnasus.
CPAN has 14793 packages on CPAN and 3800 on freshmeat.
CPAN growth is 16%, Perl growth on sourceforge is 1.1%, Python growth is 1.4%.
Looks to me like python is being held back by the lack of a CPAN.