Perl is not an acronym

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A reminder to those out there, especially HR folks, that the language Perl is always spelled "Perl" and never "PERL." From the Perl FAQ:

Before the first edition of Programming perl, people commonly referred to the language as "perl", and its name appeared that way in the title because it referred to the interpreter. In the book, Randal Schwartz capitalised the language's name to make it stand out better when typeset. This convention was adopted by the community, and the second edition became Programming Perl, using the capitalized version of the name to refer to the language.

You may or may not choose to follow this usage. For example, parallelism means "awk and perl" and "Python and Perl" look good, while "awk and Perl" and "Python and perl" do not. But never write "PERL", because perl is not an acronym, apocryphal folklore and post-facto expansions notwithstanding.

Those post-facto expansions are "Practical Expansion and Reporting Language" and "Pathologically Eclectic Rubbish Lister." Both are bacryonms, created after the language was named.

5 Comments

I'm glad the first one is a backronym, because it always seemed dreadfully clumsy. I still tell people the second one is correct though, because some stories are better than truth.

Agreed. So who do we have to kill to get the manpage updated since it's not helping matters?

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      perl, a2p -- Practical Extraction and Report Language
 

Seeing someone writing PERL is a clue that s/he is not aware of the community. If we hammer in their head to write Perl or perl instead of PERL then they will be able to fake it. Then, how will we be able to tell the difference?

Writing off someone as clueless because they use PERL is selling them short. This posting came about because of a tweet reply from a Perlbuzz reader who questioned my tweet saying that it was Perl, not PERL. He said "But it's an acronym". So here we have someone who is misnformed, but is not at all clueless, and I'm educating him. How many others are there?

Besides, helping someone understand the language is an invitation into the community.

I agree with Andy. Using *any* single piece of information to categorize someone (Perl-ishly or otherwise) is too simple.

There are examples of "biggies" (e.g. OSCON contributors) who still have "PERL" on their websites or bios. It's a finer point of culture, but not a reason to write them off.

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