Clutching at its Perl 6, developer community ponders language name with less baggage

Earlier this month, Elizabeth Mattijsen, a Dutch software developer and contributor to the Perl open source programming language, opened a problem in the GitHub Perl 6 repository seeking to rename the project because having "Perl" in the name is "confusing" and irritating. "

To understand why this is so, it is necessary to know a little about the history of Perl. The first version of Perl was created by Larry Wall, who launched it in late 1987 as a Unix script language Over the years, later versions have been released, with Perl 5 appearing in 1994. The planning for Perl 6 began in 2000 and its first release came at the end of 2015.

Perl 5 is still in use today, although it exists alongside Perl 6, which is not so much a successor as a fragmented group, which included Wall. As Perl.org says, Perl 6 "is not intended as a replacement for Perl 5, but as something of its own" .

As well as Python 3 difi Ere of Python 2, Perl 6 differs from Perl 5, with an additional complication: not everyone recognizes the legitimacy of the new heir or believes that the Perl fief has a future. Some Perl developers describe Perl 6 as a different, but related, programming language for Perl 5. And that is Mattijsen's concern.

"Having two programming languages ​​that are different enough to not be compatible with the source, but only differ in what many perceive. Being a version number is damaging the image of Perl 5 and Perl 6 in the world, "he wrote. "Since the word & # 39; Perl & # 39; is still perceived as & # 39; Perl 5 & # 39; in the world, it seems fair that & # 39; Perl 6 & # 39; change its name."

His preference would be to rename it "the Camelia programming language". Camelia is the name of the butterfly character that currently adorns the Perl 6 website.

Another Perl developer, Damian Conway, has argued in favor of "Raku," referring to the Rakudo Perl 6 compiler.

a blog post published on Wednesday, Curtis "Ovid" Poe, author of modules in the Perl Comprehensive Archives Network (CPAN), the Perl module registry and a Perl instruction book, among other things, said the disagreement about the proposed name change has divided the Perl community. But it is a problem that must be addressed, he suggests, because "Perl" has become a hate magnet.

"Routinely, I see in numerous online discussions that people refuse to even consider Perl 6 because they hate Perl," he said.

Since software developers are capable of vehement disagreement about whether tabulations or spaces should be used for source code indentation, it may not be surprising that Perl evokes strong reactions. (We must bear in mind that The Register runs in Perl.)

As we reported in 2017, and was quoted in the discussion of Mattijsen's proposal, Perl is the most hated programming language. That statistic came from a StackOverflow developer survey and our reader survey at that time echoed those results. Our survey was not a track win for Perl in any way (Java and Visual Basic came in second and third place respectively in hate metrics), but it made StackOverflow's conclusions more difficult to discard.

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Official: Perl most hated programming language, say developers

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The feeling surrounding Perl seems not to be very different today. In July, the TIOBE index of programming language popularity said that Perl's popularity was at its lowest point. And a year and a half ago, RedMonk consultancy commented on "the rapid decline in Perl."

Poe, in a commentary on the published topic, urged the Perl community to act quickly.

"Goodbye as & # 39; Perl 6 & # 39; has Perl in his name, the rancor will continue within the Perl community, confusion will continue outside the Perl community and everyone will suffer for it," he said. "There is only one question left to ask, and it is not a question we are willing to face: is it too late? I don't think so, but if we drag our feet forever, it may be." 19659002] The Java EE community denied the use of the Oracle Java trademark, made the leap and reinvented itself as Jakarta EE. Perhaps Perl 6 can survive its own brand metamorphosis. He doesn't seem to have much choice. ®

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