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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • I've been talking to a lot of people about this recently, and I usually ask the question "Why do you care if Perl survives?". Most people say the same thing that you say at the end of your post: "Our careers depend on it."

    I think that's a pretty poor reason to do anything, and certainly the worst of all the reasons to promote a programming language. If we're in a situation where we are merely trying to save jobs and keep Perlers employed, we're not doing the right thing.

    • Ouch! You're perfectly correct. I was trying to come up with a vaguely punchy ending and dropped the ball. Thanks for calling me on that.

      • Interesting.
        Why do you think it is not a good enough reason?

        I thought that the sentence Your career depends on it perfectly fits my situation and probably that of many others so I was wondering why do you think it is not an acceptable reason to invest in the future of Perl?

        I am quite sure if I could not make a living any more using Perl I could switch to something else. It will certainly take many years to gain some reputation and I might even need to take a salary cut because of that but I would find m

        --
        • The reason why "your career isn't a good enough reason" can possibly be explained by again casting things in a slightly different light. Imagine if we saw this posting:

          We need to better evangelize COBOL and convince more programmers to learn it because our careers depend on it!

          The obvious reply is that this is a very self-serving statement which ignores the reality that COBOL is an antiquated language that needs to die. Companies are turning to older COBOL programmers because young people don't want to learn it [itworld.com]. Until such time that we have so few COBOL programmers that companies are forced to switch, this language is going to stay around. However, it's not staying around because COBOL is a good language; it's staying around because companies are finding that their hands are tied. Thus, generating more COBOL programmers is merely going to plaster over the fact that a technically inferior language is hampering development all over the world.

          In other words, we shouldn't be promoting Perl just for our careers. We need an ethical stance. If we firmly believe Perl to be a good choice (or can be again made to be a good choice, just as COBOL used to be a good choice), then that's OK. Careers for career's sake isn't good enough. However, as has been said many times before, it's tough convincing someone of the truth if their livelihood depends on lies :)