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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Okay, you're trying to explain the success of modules on CPAN; that is, why do certain modules become more popular.

    What isn't clear to me is: since hardware is increasingly powerful, why is the size in memory of a module important? It's not as if different "species" of a module are competing for limited memory in a literal sense. Something like DBI is quite large, but it's undeniably more successful than database-specific modules were (you're not going to use an XS wrapper around libpq, even if it was tiny, unless you have a very limited environment like maybe an embedded device).

    I don't doubt that there is some way to describe the popularity of modules on CPAN in terms of "natural selection", but I can't see what the relevant "resources" being competed for are. Maybe the memory size isn't what's important, but rather the simplicity/elegance of the module's API (for example). Or maybe people are already "adapted" (exapted?) to other ways of programming, and creating modules with similar APIs would cause them to be more popular.

    (I'm trying to figure out how to relate what you're saying to the "island rule" that's recently been in the news [washingtonpost.com]. When animal species become trapped on islands with limited resources, large animals tend to become dwarfed (dwarf mammoths) and small animals become huge (rats). But what would be the "island" for modules, if any?)

    • The reason we've gotten away with using a lot of memory for so long is exactly because hardware is getting more powerful. In times of plenty, waste or resource usage is not an selection factor.

      But the time frames I'm talking about here are quite long. I'm looking at evolution of module usage over 3-10 year periods.

      Memory does eventually become important, if only for a subset of people. (Think mobile phones)

      I have one monstrous private application that uses 80-90 meg of RAM B to load, before doing any work o