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Larry Wall Aug 26, 1992 11:42 AM
Posted in group:
In article <1992Aug25.042522.3198@ve3ied.UUCP> bduncan@ve3ied.UUCP (Bill Duncan) writes:
: My problem with perl stems from 2 things.
:         a) Philosophically, it's ugly.  It tries to do too many things in one
:        place.  Thus, it's borrowed from many of the simpler unix tools,
:        but tried to stuff it all in one with an inconsistent language.

Oh, and I suppose that what you're doing can't be classified as an
inconsistent language too?  The language Unix is vastly more inconsistent
than the language Perl.  And guaranteed to remain that way, forever
and ever, amen.

I freely admit Perl is not pretty.  I always have.  It's mentioned in
the first paragraph of the man page.  But I think your long familiarity
with Unix has blinded you to its ugliness, from which Perl's ugliness
derives (at least in part).

What is the sound of Perl?  Is it not the sound of a wall that
people have stopped banging their heads against?

:        (It's sorta like sed, but not.  It's sorta like awk, but not. etc.)

Guilty as charged.  Perl is happily ugly, and happily derivative.

:        And it goes against the grain of building small tools.

Innocent, Your Honor.  Perl users build small tools all day long.

:         b) On a more practical front, I don't like to carry all the perl
:        sources to every new client before I can become "productive" in
:        their environment.

Perl is a durn sight easier to carry around than your typical grab bag
of tools.  And you can leave it there, making your clients more productive
in their environment too.

You have to admit that it's difficult to misplace the Perl sources.  :-)

: I've seen you mention other scripting languages Tom, but I've only seen
: any of your perls...  I agree that not everything should be done in "C".
: You also need to weigh how often it will be used, and how fast is "fast
: enough".

Certainly.  There's always tradeoffs.

: But how about something a little smaller, more appropriate for the task,
: and more "universal".  I don't know what you're running on, but it would
: take alot longer than those times to suck in half a meg on my machine,
: just to get perms on a file!

Certainly.  That last is a valid criticism for some machines.  I'm
trying to make Perl a little smaller, more appropriate to the task, and
more "universal" all the time.  I just chopped the yacc grammar for
Perl down by a third on Monday.  Perl will be puttable into a shared
library for architectures that support it.  I do what I can, and don't
worry about the rest.

: ...
: You can't look at problems in isolation without further context before
: deciding what is or is not appropriate.  Unfortunatly, far too many
: programmers do.

No quarrel with that.  But you have to allow a little for the desire to
evangelize when you think you have good news.  Now, it's expected when
you evangelize that some seed will fall on the pathway, some on rocky
ground, some among weeds, and some into good soil.  Sometimes you put
seed into inappropriate places because, as an evangelist, either you
don't have a very discriminating broadcast medium, or you don't know
offhand whether a place is appropriate or not.  Not your responsibility.
Like it says, "He that hath ears, let him hear."