March 19, 2007
                                                  April 11, 2007

The strange case of
perl's reputation...                         My standard defense of perl:

It's supposed to be                          (1) there's a huge amount
bad, bad, bad, but                               of existing perl code
even it's detractors                             available for reuse on
admit there are many                             the internet (CPAN).
good things about it.
                                                    (The other languages
And there's many a new language                      are always going
that does it's best to imitate                       to catch up Real Soon.)
large numbers of perl's features.
                                             (2) perl is perhaps the best
And yet perl itself gets no                      documented language on
respect... not even the                          the planet.
amount of respect that's
granted to the many languages
that are used today largely                  (3) Despite what you may have
only because of their huge,                      heard, perl5 remains under
existing codebases (e.g. C++).                   active development.

It's remarkable really, a picture                    (Perl6 is a scheme
of a strange "religious obsession"                    to turn perl into
among the intellectual technical elite.               a saner, more
                                                      reasonable language,
        The daemonic nature                           by keeping Larry
        of perl is taken as                           and Damien busy
        a given.                                      with something else.)

        You'd think it was                   In general, the *culture* of
        invented by                          perl is in great shape.
        Microsoft.                           Something about it attracts
                                             people anxious to share
                                             their code, and willing to
                                             write eloquently about it.

                                                  The corporate drones
                                                  are now off using
                                                  Java, and the most
                                                  annoying programmers
                                                  in the world switched
                                                  to Python, leaving
                                                  perl in very good shape...

                                                       The one "dark cloud"
                                                       on the horizon is
                                                       Ruby: it has a strong
                                                       reputation of
                                                       fixed, and rightly
                                                       or wrongly the Rails
                                                       web-platform has
                                                       got some buzz going
                                                       for it.

Despite the many and various proofs
that perl actually is a workable
language (and more importantly,
that perl has a workable culture);
Someone like Steve Yegge can't
confront the fact that maybe it
really is okay to use perl.

He sees evidence in front of
his eyes that perl can kick        CASE_STUDY_2
the ass of an annointed,
approved language like Java...

And he concludes from this that
one should use something *like*
perl, but under no circumstances
should you use perl itself.

The features of the perl language
are universally respected, though
only when re-written and shipped          Never underestimate
under a new name.                         technical snob-appeal.

                                          Despite their pretense at being
                                          supremely rational, programmers
                                          are in fact as faddish as a bunch
                                          of teenagers.

And other aphorisms:

  Those who do not know perl, are
  compelled to reinvent
  it... without the benefit of CPAN.       Oh, CPAN?  Throw that old
                                           stuff away and switch to a
                                           language that encourages
                                           code re-use.

                                       "For most tasks, languages shouldn't
                                       be chosen for their reductionist
                                       beauty, but instead, for their ease
                                       of use for forming complex structures
                                       with human psychology in mind."

                                            -- zCyl (14362), of slashdot