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jesse (2531)

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Journal of jesse (2531)

Monday February 21, 2005
12:39 PM

Me and Perl 6

[ #23290 ]

My company, Best Practical Solutions, just donated to the Perl Foundation's Perl Development Fund. We've never donated directly to TPF before, but the firestorm around this year's perl grant proposals really bothered me.

There's a public perception that there's pretty good visibility into the Perl 6 development process. Based on this perception, "everybody knows" that parrot and Perl 6 are academic research projects that won't ever be completed...and even if they are, that they won't be useful for solving real world problems. I've been as guilty of it as the next guy. I've been frustrated that there seems to be a shadowy group of developers and designers who are being paid to operate in secret, producing what was supposed to be "the community's rewrite of perl."

I haven't been involved in the development of Perl 6 and parrot, though I know some of the folks involved in the projects socially. This much is obvious to me: most of what we know about what's going on with perl development is wrong.

As I read the rants about the Perl 6 development process on use.perl early this week, I was really quite upset, because while I didn't agree with how the trolls presented their rants, I could see myself raising the same issues. "You want another four hundred thousand dollars to make Perl 6 available? But I've already given you..." nothing. That's how much I'd donated to The Perl Foundation to help make Perl 6 happen. Well, that's fixable.

And then I read the grant proposal. The first thing I saw cheered me up immensely: the grant's funding is divided into 12 separate milestones. And, unlike previous "big" perl development grants, the grant is for _deliverables_, not just to support the developers while do their thing. Not everything was so rosy, though. "We get two paragraphs to describe each thirty-five thousand dollar commitment? I sure wish I could get my customers to agree to a spec that vague. I don't even understand what I'm really getting for these milestones. Will Perl 6 run on Mac OS X? Will it run on Solaris? Will it run on my mobile phone? What if it's not fast enough to run at all? Who decides if something even works?" And _that's_ about when I realized that I don't get to complain about Perl 6 unless I start doing something to fix the problems I see.

So I dropped a line to Allison Randal, the Perl 6 project manager, offering to help out. I'm going to be taking a stab at being the project's "junior project manager, in charge of communicating what's getting done and what's needs more work." So, in three months, if you can't tell where the perl6 development process is, I'm the one you should be pointing your finger at.

I'm putting my money on Perl 6. $5000 of it. And I'm going to make damn sure I get my money's worth by volunteering to help make the development process more transparent and accessible. Some incredibly talented people have spent the last five years setting the stage for what really will be a revolutionary reinvention of perl. It's time to step up and join them.

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  • I look forward to reading about what is happening to Perl6.
  • I'd like to get our company to put some money in. After all most of our development is perl based and we'll be needing perl 6 eventually and even if we never need it we'll be able to take advantage of the parrot VM, etc.

    I'd like to get involved too but I have little time and so far my attempts at contacting people about starting things like a perl knowledgebase or application database, or revamping the main perl websites have had no results.

    It would be really cool if I knew a) who to contact and b) wha


    @JAPH = qw(Hacker Perl Another Just);
    print reverse @JAPH;
    • i agree with you 100%. a lot of projects need help from volunteer and yet they don't specify what help they need. btw, jesse++ , cheers all the way from perlchina :)
  • Thanks for sharing your conclusions, and your thought process. I think many people have had some of the same thoughts, but not come to the final conclusion that the first step is theirs.

    Getting the word out has been a problem and I think the project needed exactly what you're offering to provide. I too look forward to hearing more about what is going on and with you stepping up to help, the key people don't need to stop working to publish results.

  • ...the biggest problem with perl6 is that no one even knows what the hell it is. The existing design documents, with their appropriately religious naming scheme, are as transparent as a mud-smeared concrete wall. Nothing intelligible ever comes from whoever is working on it; no news, no updates, and certainly nothing along the lines of "here's what you can actually *do* with this...". It all reads like marketing gwana-gwana for a compiler design class.

    Everyone I know has basically given up on perl6, don't