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Chromatic: Goodnight, Perl6

Chromatic: Goodnight, Perl6

Posted Feb 14, 2013 3:06 UTC (Thu) by raiph (guest, #89283)
In reply to: Chromatic: Goodnight, Perl6 by martin.langhoff
Parent article: Chromatic: Goodnight, Parrot

> if the team doesn't have as its top goal providing a rock solid runtime that is competitive... then they won't.

Aiui you think the only worthwhile Perl 6 deliverable is one that bundles a front and back end in a form that competes with the current perl. I get that and will return to that but first I need to clear up some confusion.

For most of a decade there have been two projects that are distinct though with overlapping concerns. A front end language project (Perl 6) and a back end VM project (Parrot). A few folk are involved with both, but for the most part they are/were separate cultures.

Rakudo is a leading Perl 6 compiler. It has always used Parrot as its VM. After the Rakudo team concluded in 2009 that the Parrot project might not deliver what Rakudo needs in a reasonable timeframe, the Rakudo team began preparing to be able to port to other backends. (Aiui this pissed off chromatic.) By late 2012 the Rakudo team were ready to port to other backends. In November 2012 jnthn began a port to the JVM as a first step in targeting multiple backends. He seems fairly confident he'll have something solid to show at yapcna this June.

In the meantime, the Parrot project kept rolling along. For example, they landed a IO refactor (with regressions) late last year and got a form of threads working a few weeks ago that jnthn says isn't what Rakudo needs. Then a few days ago the Parrot project declared itself stalled and possibly dead. The Rakudo team may need to update their strategy for how they deliver with a solid runtime, but they've had less than a week to react to the news.

Then chromatic writes a post "Goodnight, Parrot" (even though several credible folk have said they want to continue Parrot). Finally, dskoll here at LWN adds insult to injury by renaming this thread "Goodnight, Perl6".

> You need leaders to set clear goals, make hard tradeoffs on the project direction and seduce people to follow them even though the tasks might be boring.

A good description of Larry's brilliant leadership. 12 years in and the productivity is astonishing. Yes Perl 6 was incredibly ambitious but they've basically pulled it off and the result is extraordinary.

> So perhaps Perl6 is a fun research and (personal) development project.

I do see a lot of folk enjoying themselves, learning as they go. I also see a lot of folk doing boring stuff, year in, year out. I see TimToady, jnthn, Moritz, masak, japhb and dozens of others writing amazingly high quality code amazingly quickly. And folk like swarley who's gotten amazingly far in doing a Go port in the less than 2 weeks or so since s/he appeared on the scene.

> (Here, ISTR Larry or Damian saying that Perl6 development was optimized for the fun and enjoyment of the developers. If that is true, then that management style has a risk of forgetting to deliver something of relevance to the outside world...)

Audrey Tang coined the phrase "optimized for fun". In her opinion it was important to do whatever it takes to make devs *productive*. It includes nurturing newbies, creating LHF files (lists of "low hanging fruit"), being liberal with commit bits, encouraging bursts of silliness, whatever gets hackers moving fast and being supremely productive. It works.

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Chromatic: Goodnight, Perl6

Posted Feb 14, 2013 3:42 UTC (Thu) by martin.langhoff (subscriber, #61417) [Link]

> Aiui you think the only worthwhile Perl 6 deliverable is one that bundles a front and back end in a form that competes with the current perl.

Pretty much, yes. Everything else is details I should not know unless I plan to hack on Perl6. Or do advanced debugging/diagnostics, I guess.

All the parrot/rakudo/VMs and blah is internals. Good for an in-depth LWN article, but not for when people like me ask about using Perl6 in production.

It is ok to have fun, while being productive. However, your definition of productive does not seem to include delivering a "product" in the form of a /usr/bin/perl6 in a reasonable timeframe.

This all probably sounds more bitter than I intend it.

So I will say: I like the Perl6 syntax and some of its abstraction ideas. Maybe one day Perl6 will be a language I can use for widely-deployed programs. Current directions don't seem promising to me... but I have been wrong before, and will be more than glad if I am wrong on this one :-)

Chromatic: Goodnight, Perl6

Posted Feb 14, 2013 16:55 UTC (Thu) by chromatic (guest, #26207) [Link]

I think you're rewriting history.

Rakudo's spent half of its life thinking about switching away from the one platform where it runs at all to another platform which may or may not even work out. I wanted to deploy Perl 6 to actual paying customers.

I'm sure the developers are having fun, but from the potential user point of view, it's a waste of my time to worry about when the software will actually reach a deployable state. The project's history suggests that's not a priority.

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