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unimatrix (1124)

unimatrix
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http://www.codewerk.com

Journal of unimatrix (1124)

Monday April 09, 2001
10:29 AM

Why Perl?

[ #16 ]

I yearn for a sense of common purpose, with Open Source and
Perl hackers, beyond competing for the next job. We as
hackers are in the happy position of using and building
those tools that further sharing ideas. I'm optimistic that
the 21st century can be a blissful time of shared
conviction.

Why Perl?

Perl is not just a way of telling the computer what you
mean, it is also the basis of a thriving culture. The Perl
Mongers are one of the most important aspects of this
culture. They have chapters throughout the world, with new
ones being built all the time. Meetings, mailing lists, IRC
channels and grassroots conferences produce an energy and
exchange of ideas. This is helped by flat structures; even
the most brilliant minds within the Perl community are just
regular guys you don't have to be afraid to talk to.

Certainly one reason for this thriving culture is that fun
can be had with Perl, since the language is expressive and
flexible enough to allow you to write code the way you want,
be it obfuscated or poetic (the two are not necessarily
mutually exclusive), as a one-liner or as beautifully
structured object systems. There's more than one way to do
it.

Perl also allows you to do crazy things in easy and powerful
ways. Quantum-superpositioned variables that can be in
several states at the same time, or variables whose value
expires after some time; writing code in Latin or data
structures that flexibly bend and morph into any shape you
want, are but a few things possible in this rather natural
computer language - no contradiction in terms implied.

Elaborate code repositories, automated testing facilities,
recorded history; and now, the first development grant
sponsored by a community. Within two weeks of making public
the idea of sponsoring Damian Conway for a year to
exclusively work on Perl, the notion had become a reality.
Perl generates quite a bit of money, and good programmers
are sought-after, well-paid and tend to be generous and
helpful - as it has turned out, not only with advice. If
this concept works, it could spawn a wave of communities
self-sufficiently honoring brilliant minds. It is in this
environment that a sharing of ideas and common purpose is
fostered and achieved.