Perl and Names

| 1 Comment

Let's change the name of Perl 6. Why not change the name of Perl 5 too?

The benefits are obvious. Perl would be free to break backwards compatibility. More than that, it could stop halfway borrowing features from P6 that are impossible to introduce properly to Perl because Perl's infrastructure just can't support them.

It could remove features and vestigial libraries from the core, like dumpvar.pl (look it up) and h2xs. It could clean up the bareword lexing mess and the dative syntax mess. It might even allow the autopromotion of bare blocks into first-class functions in places other than only the first argument of a predeclared and prototyped function.

All of the creaky old ported-straight-from-Fortran tutorials would obviously no longer apply. Awful, awful examples and books would no longer work. Search engine result ranks would be open to a shiny new world of good code and great documentation from the start.

We also wouldn't have to use those stupid branding terms like "Modern Perl" or "Enlightened Perl" or "Perl Renaissance" or "Kensho" or "Foundation" or "Equites Synarchic".

So many problems would simply go away by changing at least two of four letters in the name "Perl". Maybe three. Or maybe adding a letter, or changing one of them to a number, or maybe a snowman glyph. Something that would look nice on a tattoo, or alliterates better than "Desperate Perl Hacker". The word "puppy" is nice. Can you work that in there somewhere?

Don't worry about losing mindshare (the 6 in P6 has been taking care of that for years). Don't worry about confusing people. After all, the name "Perl" means exactly what you think it means right now, whether you first used Perl 1 in 1987 or last used Perl in 1987. If Perl, the concrete thing, is to change from what you think it means right now at this moment—this perpetual now, where there is no future and there is no past, just a bundle of electrical impulses sailing an eternal and constant voyage between wads of synapses—to something else, it must have a different name. There is no ideal. There is only what we see and experience in the immediate. (You kind of have to accept this anyway if there's no specification against which you can accurately measure a concrete thing's Perlishness.)

Yes, renaming Perl will immediately heal ten years of a great divide in the snap of my fingers. It will save the Perl community from the tyrannical march of version numbers (the horror, the horror). It will squelch the smoldering debates over whether the second item in a set of dotted decimal triplets is a sub-version or a major version or a minor version (and the families of the victims might finally know peace).

Just don't argue with me over the version numbering scheme. It's 2011.06.24.14.00.38 as all good hearted people will obviously agree.

1 Comment

I like "Kensho"...just saying. :)

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This page contains a single entry by chromatic published on June 24, 2011 1:33 PM.

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