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Larry Wall: Cover Model and the Future of Perl c. 1999
2014-09-13 22:02:24 -0400
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linux perl LarryWall

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Found this "Linux Journal" magazine with a cover date of May 1999 on it. Perl creator Larry Wall was featured on the cover along with an interview with him in the middle of the magazine.

It's fun to read what he had to say then about the future of Perl in light of the happenings today:

Marjorie: Okay, is Perl perfect now or do you continue to do further development?

Larry: Hmm, the two are not mutually exclusive. Look at Linux. :-)

Yes, an emoticon in a magazine interview. Larry was ahead of the emoji curve by a decade and a half.

He continues:

Actually, Perl was never designed to be perfect. It was designed to evolve, to become more adaptive, as they say. There is no such thing as a perfect organism, biologically speaking. About the most you can say is an organism is more or less suited to the environment in which it finds itself. In fact, biologists are just now realizing that any organism which seems to be "perfect" for one environment is likely to be in danger of extinction as soon as the environment changes.

It feels to me like once the CGI bandwagon left town, Perl died. It gained a ridiculous amount of popularity in its day because it was the easiest and most ubiquitout solution towards building a web-server. But people moved onto other things fairly quickly, and Perl didn't have a Next Big Thing waiting in the wingsi to capture developers' imagination.

But at the same time, I think this paragraph lends strength to the city-building roadmap metaphot I posted about yesterday. Perl is meant to continue reshaping itself as it goes along, morphing itself to the environment it finds itself in.

Perl just needs to figure out its environment to point itself in the right direction for the next generation. Is Perl in danger of extinction because the CGI world dried up? If so, what's the world Perl finds itself in today? Once that question is answered, then a serious roadmap might be considered.

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