Comment: Re:Windows or Cygwin? (Score 1) on 2009.08.26 12:39
Attached to: Announce: Rakudo Perl 6 development release #20 (&
I apologize. I should have been more specific, though I just visited the "How to get Rakudo Perl 6" and got an answer to my question.
I (like most Windows users) don't have a C compiler and have never been a C/C++/C# developer. I was a Perl/DB/Network developer for a long time and, since moving out of development, have continued using Perl to create tools and systems to help me in my work, which requires Windows. Oh well.
Can it be installed under Windows at this point? If not, how about under Cygwin?
Well color me contradictory and call me flame-bait, but I'm really annoyed by the original blog posting, as well as this follow-up article. Am I the only one? In truth, you've answered a lot of questions for me. But it leaves open some more.
What first got me going was when people don't ask the *right* question, your seeming to come off like someone who responds to the question, "Can I have a cookie?" with "Don't you mean *MAY* I have a cookie?" I'm sorry you don't like the word "finished" but as you say yourself,
...for many of us, myself included, we're only now learning how to put words to parts of the process to be able to tell others about them.
My bullshit detector went through the roof when I read that. So I read on, and on, and on.
The gist of the whole thing seems to be some philosophical tripe about the word "finished". You seem completely unaware that most people know and fully expect that a "point-oh" release may not be complete and will probably have bugs. Perl 5.10.1 was just released and some of the brand-new 5.10 features have already been changed due to feedback after people had a chance to use it. No one expected Perl 5.10 to be "finished" in the sense you imply. Yet you present a long-winded dance around whether anything can ever really be finished and about whether it will be useful to many people versus everyone. You even say
The problem then is that many people rightly take 'development release' to mean 'not ready to use yet', and that's also counterproductive to what we need."
If drawing the correct conclusion is counter-productive, then the problem must lie elsewhere -- that is, not with the questioners but with what is being questioned. You conclude with
Ultimately Rakudo Star is intended to give some justifiable support and clarity to phrases like "Perl 6 exists" and "you can now write usable applications in Perl 6", without the distractions that arise from the "When will [Perl 6 | Rakudo] be finished?" sorts of questions...I'd like us to start finding ways to move our discussions beyond the "finished / not finished" trap that we seem to have fallen into. I'd like to help us all escape this trap because (1) I don't think it reflects reality, and (2) if "Perl 6 is finished" remains the primary criteria that most people use to decide whether or not to write applications in Perl 6 (and the criteria that we hold ourselves to), then we'll never get there.
Asking when it will be completed is a trap? Asking when we can write applications is a distraction? Assuming you have a prioritized list of features that you will implement in a release that may or may not be 6.0 will keep you from ever getting...somewhere??? After writing several inappropriate responses, I started thinking about how you could possibly write the above with a straight face (I assume you had a straight face when you wrote it).
The conclusion I came to is that as long as it is called Perl 6, you will never escape the "trap" because the project is no longer Perl 6. It's that simple.
Ten years ago, Jon Orwant started throwing mugs against a wall, saying to Larry Wall, "we are fucked unless we can come up with something that will excite the community, because everyone's getting bored and going off and doing other things." Larry decided Perl 6 was that something. Perl 5 was a complete rewrite of Perl 4, and so Perl 6 would be a complete rewrite. Then came the Apocalypses and the Exegeses -- these were supposed to be the spec. There was to be a virtual machine, and eventually Parrot was decided upon. Then it all went quiet.
In 2005, the pugs project implemented what there was of the Perl 6 spec in Haskell. Okay, interesting, but I think it was then that people started asking whatever happened to Perl 6. And that's when the philosophical non-answers started. And the people espousing the non-answers don't seem to grok why they do not satisfy the askers of said questions.
The problem is that it's is no longer Perl 6. It seems to be some kind of Perl Trek, forever exploring new features, new paradigms, boldly considering new ways of thinking about computer languages. Maybe it was the exposure to Haskell that made people rethink Perl's underlying workings, but in the end it seems to have resulted in a permanent attention-deficit disorder problem, where the developers are forever attracted to every shiny object that wanders into their field of view.
Perl 6 was supposed to excite the Perl community, but the excitement has waned and Jon Orwant has gone off and left the Perl community entirely. Perl Trek has to be explained at great length, amidst pleas to not use the word "finished", while no one gets it anyway, and the ship's captain has some philosophical issue with "finishing" things.
Perl 6 had the beginnings of a spec. Perl Trek has a spec that is really a journal of the strange new worlds the crew has visited, and that may be rewritten at any time.
Perl 6 was going to rewrite Perl 5 and bring it up to date and make it more consistent with the last 20 years of software language development. Perl Trek is not the successor to Perl 5 and has no real idea what it wants to be when it grows up, but we can never really know until we get there, and when you get down to it, the "there" you get to is not the final destination, so how can we really talk about "there" when it could be anywhere???
Perl 6 should have a release date. You prioritize what will go into that release, you implement it, and then you release it. Perl Trek will have a release named Rakudo, which appears designed to get people off the back of the crew of the SS A.D.D so they can return to aimlessly exploring, or endlessly navel-gazing, or whatever it is that they think is so much more important than releasing something long-time Perl users would be proud of. For that matter, has the Perl community even come onto your radar recently, except as a distraction from your "explorations"?
Look, if you want to complete *ANYTHING* -- a language, a race, something you're cooking for dinner -- you need to decide what you're doing and do it. Once you're done, you can redo it or add to it or whatever. You discard any pretensions about whether something can be "finished" or not and you spec out what you're going to do. Then you do it. Then you gather feedback, and you consider all the things you'd like to change/add/remove, and you write a new spec. Then you implement it. *THAT* process is never finished. But each iteration most certainly is finished.
This is the kind of project that gets cancelled in the real world of software development because they cost too much or the need they were meant to fill, or the competition they were meant to compete with, have moved on, rendering the project pointless. But a project like Perl 6 can never be cancelled. It can only go on and on, insisting on its own relevance, as people forget about it (as they largely have).
I may get flamed for this, but I'm writing this because I care about Perl, about the community, about Perl 6. Flame me if you must, but when people ask when Perl 6 will be finished, at least give the honest answer: you have no intention of ever finishing, let alone releasing, what was promised 10 years ago.