Perl6 is Still Alive

Posted on Jan 21, 2008

Most programmers I meet these days will spit on Perl like it is the bane of this Earth. Their complaints are that Perl programs are difficult to understand or read and are therefore nearly impossible to maintain. Despite its former popularity as the language-du-jour on the web in mid-to-late ninties, most programmers relegate Perl to the dustbin.

I’ve always had to defend my love of Perl to such people. Don’t they know about POD and perldoc? Isn’t it the programmer’s fault if the program is unreadable (barring exceptions for languages like bf that purposefully TRY to be unreadable)? Should the language guide the programmer to make the right decisions or should the language allow the more skilled programmers to break the rules?

One of the hardest things to defend is Perl6. It’s been in development for so long now that many question whether it will ever be released. The regiment of developers has changed quite a lot since its inception. It has been active for short bursts then seemingly inactive for months. The community that has become slightly impatient released, “Pugs” — their own unofficial Perl6 compiler written in Haskell. The lack of organization and passion within the community may lead to an equally disorganized and messy language. It’s tough to argue against all of these accusations because many of them are true.

However, I think and hope that Perl6 will shine on. Parrot is turning out to be a great platform for developing compilers on and is becoming the cornerstone that will make Perl6 a very powerful language. Finally, there are other developers who agree. There is another burst of energy in the community: a proof-of-concept compiler has been released. It will only be a matter of time.

Perl6 is finally almost here.