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perl5.16.0 =~ s/5.1//r (was: Version? Release?)

From:  Tom Christiansen <>
To:  Jesse Vincent <>
Subject:  perl5.16.0 =~ s/5.1//r (was: Version? Release?)
Date:  Sat, 07 May 2011 15:51:01 -0600
Message-ID:  <9437.1304805061@chthon>
Cc:  David Golden <>, Johan Vromans <>,
Archive-link:  Article

>>> Perl 5 is the language, this is version 12, etc...

>> Not really.  Perl is the language.

> Not really.

> Perl is a family of languages. These days _ours_ is called Perl 5.
> Perl 5 has a kid sister named Perl 6. The two them have the same
> father, but Perl 6 won't replace or obsolete Perl 5.

I believe, sir, that this is what one calls revisionist history.
I recognize that what you attempting this for the best of
reasons, but I do not buy it.

I do not have to read perlhist to recall perl's history--
which is just as well, since that document seems now in 
peril of retroactive revision.

perl2 was not a different language from perl1.  It was never
intended to be such, nor was there ever the least perception 
that it had somehow become that.

perl3 was not a different language from perl2, and by the
transitive property of equality, also not a different language
from perl1.

About perl4 the same can be said in relation to the others.  It endured for
more than two years, undergoing during that time subsequent minor revisions
that spanned the integers from one to third-six.  No one in their right
mind nor any other ever feigned to purport that perl4.036 was a different
language from perl4 -- nor by virtue of the supercited transitive property,
a language different from all of its antecessors.

It is true that perl5 brought many changes, changes that erased
all lingering doubt that the language was but some sort of awk
flopping about at a fancy-dress party.

Since perl4.036 there have been hundreds and hundreds of perl
releases. This is not "a family of languages".  It is one
language that has evolved through time.  Were it otherwise, we
would call perl5.13.9 a different language from perl5.13.10, a
proposition I find risible at best and duplicitous at worst.

Your historical rivisionism attempts to rewrite history in a way
that negotiates a continued coexistence of the language we call
perl and the experiment they call perl6.  They have chosen a very
unfortunate name for their experiment.  Like Web 2.0, the name
perl6 is mostly about marketing tricks.

Make no mistake: perl6 is just as much perl as Java is C.  And yet no one
stopped using C just because Java came into existence.  That's because the
Java people didn't try to piggyback on the "brand" of C, as in some ways
the C++ people and even the C# indeed both attempted.  In none of those
cases did anyone have the gumption to choose whatever the current release
number was, grab the next slot, and call their brand-new language that
thing and of the next release number.  It would have caused no end of
trouble, and have elicited no end of ridicule.

For good reason.

I certainly agree that perl6 is at least as much a different language
from perl5 as Java is a different language from C.  I am appalled at
how messed up things have become.  Even people who should know better,
people whom I explain this all to again and again and again and again,
will ever a few weeks' time lapse again into the Successionist Heresy.

They once again start thinking of perl6 succeeding perl5 **NOT** in the way
that Java has succeeded C, but rather in the way that Windows 98 succeeded
Windows 95 or the Intel 586 processor succeeded the 386.  It is intensely
aggravating to watch, yet who can blame them?  Every technical product
they're ever used that comes with an ever-increasing numeric suffix is one
that is meant to be "the next" version, one that will soon supplant that
old dinosaur.

This is a miserable situation that we're now quagmired in.  It is harmful
to perl, because it is superlatively misleading.  What you are trying to
do, Jesse, through your revisionist retelling of history, is an
understandable reaction to an unreasonable situation.  I do not agree with
what you are saying, but I do agree with your goal: to try to fight against
the nearly unshakable belief that perl6 is to perl5 as Windows 7 is to
whatever the hell came before it.   It's all because of damned marketing
lies, branding, and false expectations.

Is "Standard" C a different language from K&R C?  Is C89 a different language
from C90.  Yes and no, perhaps -- but *mostly no*.  There are all the same
language from the perspective of FORTRAN and Prolog.  It's like pretending
that British English is somehow a different language from American English:
anybody who really believes that needs to be dropshipped to Outer Mongolia
without a guidebook to see what a different language *really* is.

I will only accept calling perl5 a separate language if it comes affixed with 
the rest of the release numbers, as in "the perl5.13.3 language".  Surely
you will see how silly that seems.  

What you're really trying to do is mop up the fiasco caused by that thing
they call perl6, a thing *WHICH* *WILL* *NOT* *SUPPLANT* perl5.  I do not
disagree with your goal.  I just do not think you will succeed.  As long as
it has the designed-to-deceive name perl6, people will always always always
get the wrong idea.

I have an alternate proposal.  Let's just call the would-be perl5.16, perl6.


I mean, **WHY NOT**?  At least it wouldn't deceive people anymore.  Let the 
perl6 people go find a name that isn't faciley deceitful.

I don't know how else you're going to fix this problem.  The current
approach is failing terribly.  It's time for new ideas.  

Let's add mandatory warnings and a few other things to it, then 
call it perl6.  Bingo!!  Our problem is solved.  


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perl5.16.0 =~ s/5.1//r (was: Version? Release?)

Posted May 12, 2011 3:11 UTC (Thu) by elanthis (guest, #6227) [Link]

Wrong question: "Why are users too dumb to realize that version foo+1 is not the next version of foo!?"

Right question: "Why are the bar developers too dumb to not call their project foo+1!?"

perl5.16.0 =~ s/5.1//r (was: Version? Release?)

Posted May 16, 2011 2:31 UTC (Mon) by baldridgeec (guest, #55283) [Link]

You mean Perl 6 should be called Perm?

Actually, I'm not positive how to parse what you said above. You think the Fedora 16 developers are dumb for not calling it "Windows 9"?

perl5.16.0 =~ s/5.1//r (was: Version? Release?)

Posted May 16, 2011 15:11 UTC (Mon) by nye (guest, #51576) [Link]

>You think the Fedora 16 developers are dumb for not calling it "Windows 9"?

No, he said the opposite: Fedora developers would be dumb to call it Windows 9 unless it is intended to be the successor to Windows 8.

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