>>>>> "Jamie" == Jamie Zawinski <j...
>>>>> wrote the following on Mon, 18 Aug 1997 18:42:07 -0700
Jamie> The Jargon File defines "brain dead" as
Jamie> and brain-damaged as
Jamie> Sounds about right to me.
Sounds like a certain GUI application that pretends to be a web browser cum
mail user agent cum newsreader, that spends most of its time making 49 Meg
core dumps on my HP workstation. But then, I'm not running a Micro$oft box,
so I'm not a real concern.
>> I speak from the standpoint of managing the development of a
>> product that includes over 50,000 lines of Perl code,
Jamie> I'm very, very sorry. It must really suck to be you.
Well, I was going to keep this "debate" fairly civil, but if you wish to
resort to sniping, I'd say working for Netscape and criticising other software
as "brain-dead" must really define "living in a glass house".
Jamie> If Perl gets you through the day, great; more power to you.
Jamie> But as a language, and as an application platform, it still
Compared to what? C? Is that what you rocket scientists are using to code
Netscape? I have a (supposedly) stable release version of NS 3.01, as my
company has a corporate-wide license agreement with NC. This "stable" released
product last week dumped a core nearly 50 Meg in size. What was it doing at
the time? Sitting on my internal (intranet) webserver's home page, a page with
no cutesy animated gifs or such, and Netscape was iconified. *YOU* may wish
to label Perl as braindead, but it is a considerably more stable piece of
software than anything I've seen come out of your company's domain.
Jamie> That doesn't mean that nobody is in the unfortunate situation
Jamie> where Perl is the best solution available to a given problem
Jamie> -- since we're living in the new dark ages of computing, that
Jamie> can easily happen, it happens every day. But that doesn't
Jamie> mean Perl is any less wrongheaded. Just that, sometimes,
Jamie> it's the only game in town.
You still don't explain why Perl is *wrong*. What is *wrong* about it. You
don't like the syntax? None of C, C++, Java or even Lisp are any more
naturally readable to a person new to the language.
Jamie> Personally, I'd like to be hacking in CLOS in the luxurious
Jamie> bucket seats of a highly tuned Lisp Machine development
Jamie> environment. But I don't think that's bloody likely, as I've
Jamie> been hacking C (it's not just a language, it's a grade) for
Jamie> the last six years.
Well, that's nice if it would make you happy, but what if there are people
and companies out here for which a CLOS/Lisp Machine environment is not the
best approach to the problems at hand to be solved? Or do you think that if
CLOS is your hammer, all the world's problems *really are* just nails?
Jamie> Perl's nature encourages the use of regular expressions
Jamie> almost to the exclusion of all other techniques; they are far
Jamie> and away the most "obvious" (at least, to people who don't
Jamie> know any better) way to get from point A to point B.
Yes, the regex engine is one of the strongest features. I'd much rather do any
form of data processing in Perl than Lisp. Maybe programmers with less
experience take simplistic approaches; that doesn't make a language itself
bad. If so, I'd love to see what havoc a novice Lisp programmer can wreak on
the repuatation of Lisp itself.
Jamie> Perl is not *all* bad; just mostly. In its favor, at least
Jamie> it has automatic storage management, lexical scope, and
Jamie> function pointers. But I'd say the bad parts
Jamie> (metastasization of regexps, excessive use of line-noise-like
Jamie> syntaxes for much, and Algoloid syntax for the rest) far
Jamie> outweigh the good parts.
I have no idea to what extent you have evaluated Perl, or to what other
languages and standards you are comparing it. I wouldn't dream of trying the
tasks I am responsible for in Lisp, and they would be very difficult in C
since one of the requirements is an ability to run on 5 or more different
architectures (none of which is a Lisp Machine). It's really kind of insulting
to listen to someone rave on about how flawed Perl is as a language and
development tool. I expect this sort of I-know-whats-best elitism from someone
like Richard Stallman, but I don't accept it from him, either.
Jamie> Maybe Java will save the day, once someone straps a Java
Jamie> front end onto the gcc back end.
Maybe no one language will ever save the day. Maybe we're doomed to have to
always choose from a variety of tools to select the one most suited to the job.
Randy J. Ray -- U S WEST Technologies IAD/CSS/DPDS Phone: (303)595-2869
Denver, CO rj...@uswest.com
"It's not denial. I'm just very selective about the reality I accept." --Calvin