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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • I could only read the slides - but it sounds like a great talk. Just to play devils advocate - this use'ocracy leads to prefferential attachment and power law distribution of usage - making the established players virtual monopolist. Don't we need just a bit of speculation to balance that and let new modules attack these monopolist positions?
    • Perhaps you're confusing things with the degenerate form of the usedocracy, the dependocracy. This is where people use software not because they prefer it but because they have piles of code which depend on it. Or because of a dominating format, such as Microsoft Office. That is a form of monopoly.

      In a healthy usedocracy, needs are constantly evolving. As needs are met, users become more sophisticated and develop more sophisticated needs. The software that met the simpler needs often does not hold up and must either be redesigned or replaced. Test::More, for example, met our early testing needs. It raised the bar allowing users to become more sophisticated spawning a large ecosystem of specialized testing modules. Test::More would have been shoved out of the way long ago if it wasn't able to play well with others through giving up it's monopoly on the testing process via Test::Builder. Thus monopoly is avoided.

      In Open Source, unlike the commercial world of secret formats and protocols, we can always find a way to build on top of other people's code. Before Test::More shared its guts via Test::Builder, people were already writing wrapper modules around it to provide Test::More's functions, plus their own extensions.

      And, finally, as is hammered on in the talk, the game changes and it's impossible to predict. What people need today is not what they'll need tomorrow. New niches and cracks open up. Old niches contract. Opportunities for expansion everywhere.

      To back this all up, I simply point to the number of new distributions being uploaded to CPAN every day. And it's accelerating.

      • Dependocracy certainely is one thing - but there is also exposurocracy and those two reinforce each other.
        • Dependence is a very different thing from the problem of informing the consumer, but they both result in users not finding the best product to meet their needs. The former restricts the user by locking them into using a certain module, despite knowing that better options exist. The latter is where they just don't know a better option exists. The problem of the "well informed consumer" who is so important to a healthy economy. It has a very different solution.

          Right now, knowledge new modules gets spread

          • Exactly! I can add to this that in countries where freelancing is a viable option the word of mouth works much better then here where the new knowlege rarely crosses company boundary.