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Perlbuzz news roundup for 2011-05-09

These links are collected from the Perlbuzz Twitter feed. If you have suggestions for news bits, please mail me at andy@perlbuzz.com.

Booking.com puts their money where their infrastructure is

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Booking.com, a global hotel reservation service based in the Netherlands, has donated $50,000 to the Perl Foundation to help in further Perl development, specifically Perl 5.10.

As Richard Dice, president of TPF says, "booking.com has demonstrated extraordinary vision and community spirit," but they also know that their infrastructure needs ongoing support. Their IT team is 50+ persons, and Perl is the "language of choice."

Thanks to booking.com for this donation, and let's hope it is part of an ongoing trend. Now, if only TPF could get, say, $5 from every company that used Perl. Think how many programmer-years that could buy to help get Rakudo out the door.

More companies openly supporting Perl projects

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More companies are showing their support for open source projects, and I couldn't be happier about it.

Those of you following Ovid's blog on use.perl.org, or reading his code improvements in the perl-qa mailing list, should give thanks to the BBC for supporting his Perl work. It's not all philanthropic, of course, since the BBC wants good tools for themselves, but I love that they're letting Ovid hitch his stories to the BBC wagon. That helps give Perl some credence in the eyes of open source skeptics.

Now, as you readers of Mechanix know, Devel::NYTProf is the hot new profiler in town. Not only is the New York Times allowing code to be released, it turns out there's a blog, open.blogs.nytimes.com, where Adam Kaplan announced the module. I love that a company that's not (exactly) in the software business is blogging about their open source software work. Let's hope it's a light in the darkness that others will lend their illumination to as well.

Which language to inflict on clients?

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IMG_0616.JPG
Originally uploaded by reedwade

Brenda Wallace posted a colleague's picture of a whiteboard from their office today. Her post says "dunno which technology to inflict on my clients next, so we had a brainstorm. looks like TCL won."

The whiteboard reads:

Lisp is bitter
PHP is DancingBear
Python is beige
Erlang is imaginary
Ruby is a fad
Java is angry
Tcl is cute
Perl is ready for retirement

Certainly I don't think Perl is ready for retirement, but it's interesting to see what people think about Perl, and about all its brethren.

Where is Perl 6? The question that won't die

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Every so often I get asked that dreaded question "When is Perl 6 coming out?" Sometimes it's a local Perl Mongers meeting, and sometimes it's an email like below, from a reporter at cnet.com, in response to my Perl 5.10 announcement:

What's up with Perl 6/Parrot? I've never covered the issue terribly closely, but it seemed that there was one school of thought that argued for some universal virtual machine and another that wanted to keep Perl more with its duct-tape-of-the-Internet roots. Please feel free to set me straight in this area--I have only passing familiarity.

Is Perl going to stay on a dual 5.x and 6.x track? When is 6 due? How about 5.12?

Stephen Shankland
reporter, CNET News.com
blog: http://www.news.com/underexposed

This is not at all uncommon as a perception. People just don't know about Perl 6, don't know about Parrot, and certainly have never heard of Pugs. Here's what I replied:

Perl 6 is a rewrite of the Perl language. It will feel Perly, and yet become more modern as it pulls in influences from languages like Ruby and Haskell.

Technically, Perl 6 is just a language specification, and there are at least two implementations underway. One of the Perl 6 implementations is named Pugs, and is written in Haskell, on a project led by Audrey Tang. The other Perl 6 implementation is being written to run on top of Parrot. Parrot is a virtual machine for running modern dynamic languages like Perl, PHP and Ruby, among others. The intent is to have Parrot bytecode generated by one system, say, Perl 6, easily interact with any other language's Parrot bytecode.

Yes, Perl 5 and Perl 6 will stay in dual development. Perl 5 has such a huge installed base, it won't be going away any time soon after Perl 6 exists.

There is no due date on Perl 6, and never has been. At this point it's still sort of a big research project. Fortunately, some of the development in Perl 6 has found its way into Perl 5.10, such as the "say" keyword and some regular expression improvements.

I don't think the Perl 5 Porters have even started thinking about a timeline or feature set for 5.12 yet, since 5.10 has only been out for eight days now. From my monitoring of the perl5-porters list, we're just trying to make sure that problems people are reporting with 5.10 are not actually problems with 5.10 itself.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

I've published this open response for two reasons. First, I wanted the core Perl community to get an idea of what outside perception of us is like. People know bits and pieces of what we here in the Perl core echo chamber know.

Second, I wanted to raise the flag again of how outsiders want to know more about Perl 6, and that the first, and in many cases only, thing that they want to know is "Where is it and when will it be out." I've never felt that the Perl 6 development team has ever been interested in addressing the concerns of those who ask.

Note that I'm not talking about giving a timeline, or a schedule, because of course Perl 6 is being created by volunteers, and there's no point in giving a schedule if the project can't realistically hit it. What I did say was "address the concerns." Maybe the project can't give the people want they want, but is there something they can give to help satisfy the hunger, and keep people interested?

For that matter, I've never felt that anyone on the Perl 6 development team even saw it as a reasonable question to ask. I've always seen the question answered with angry, defensive replies. Such a problem to have! People clamoring to use your project!

It's amazing to me that we have any goodwill left, any interest, that Perl 6 hasn't been written off as permanent vaporware. To the Perl 6 community, I ask, what can we as the rest of the community do to help keep people interested in Perl 6? Do you see that as a reasonable goal? And to everyone else, who is willing to help in this task, to help keep the fires of anticipation burning in the public?

Wanted: Dark Lord of Destruction

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Message Systems is looking for a Perl QA and stress-testing engineer, but they don't call it that. They're looking for a Dark Lord Of Destruction. I hope they accept applications for Dark Lady Of Destruction as well.

You DID know about jobs.perl.org, didn't you? It's a free job listing service for Perl-related jobs, plus, you can help support the Perl Foundation by buying featured placement on the front page for a few hundred dollars.

Perl's alive and kicking in the job market

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langjobs.png

renodino writes in his use.perl.org journal that he's sick of hearing FUD about how Perl is dead. So, he built a quick graph of job ads on Dice.com:

His graph shows Perl jobs as the blue bar, with the dark blue bar next to it being those jobs which specify Perl as well as any other dynamic language. It's pretty obvious that if you're looking for a job programming in a dynamic language, Perl is the way to go.

renodino writes that he's intending to update the graph regularly, so it will be interesting to see whether Perl can maintain its huge lead over time.



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