After the auction to benefit the Perl Foundation, it was finally time for the State of the Onion. I don’t know which number this is, but there have been a lot.
When Larry hooked up his computer to the projector, he had an IRC window open to #parrot on irc.perl.org. Yes, of course I did it. I jumped right into the channel and wrote, “hi mom.” I got a good laugh from those in the room, but I’ll probably never be welcome in that channel again.
Larry thinks it’s a bad idea to get rid of the term scripting. Perl already owns the brand when it comes to scripting. We have about the same chance of changing the branding of hacker.
“Programming is hard, let’s go scripting!”
Scripting isn’t so bad. It’s actually kind of easy; just look at all the script kiddies out there. But we can use Perl to turn all those script kiddies into real programmers. After all, Larry claims to have come to Perl in the same way.
So what’s the difference between scripting and programmers? Scripting is like profanity, you know it when you see it.
This year’s State of the Onion is about scripting, past, present, and future.
The past, essentially, is a brief history of Larry and his experience with scripting at different times of his life. More importantly, it’s about what all of these languages ar, how they and his experiences with them influenced what Perl was, is, and will be.
The present is an overview of the different ways languages can be designed. Binding, dispatch, typology, structure, and others are all different forks in the road of language design. Each fork developed for different reasons, whether it be efficiency of code or abstraction of language concepts. Follow all of these forks like some kind of Choose Your Own Adventure book, and different languages emerge. The lessons of each of these languages can be used as new ones are developed.
So I guess what Larry is trying to say is that Perl 6 looked at what every other language (including Perl 5) did right and what they did wrong, then went ahead and did everything right.
In fact, Perl 6 has taken Yogi Berra’s advice and took all of the forks. Sure, it seems confusing, but think of the power.
Okay, so what’s the future?