View Full Version : In defense of Perl from the grand master!!!

29th September 2004, 03:41 PM
Check this out. From the author of most Perl books:

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Re: Becoming Disenheartened - Everyone talks about Python and
says Perl is old news. From: "Randal L. Schwartz"
Date: Wed, September 29, 2004 1:21 pm
To: beginners@perl.org

>>>>> "Gavin" == Gavin Henry <ghenry@perl.me.uk> writes:

Gavin> I really like Perl, but lately everywhere I seem to go and talk
Gavin> to say I shouldn't be learning Perl as it's old and Python is
Gavin> better.

Perl is more powerful. Python is simpler. Python is for people
who don't want to master a language -- just use it casually.

However, if you're gonna spend two or more hours a day hacking code, Perl
is definitely the right place to be. Still.

Those Python weenies are all just casual programmers complaining
that for Perl, "with great power comes great responsibility". Let'em.

Perl's support only grows. I used to be able to follow the CPAN "new
modules list" by examining the daily run at search.cpan.org/recent. But no
more. Look at all the new modules just in the past *seven* days. (It's
typically a full web page for each day!) If that doesn't show you an
intense activity in the Perl community, I really don't know what else I
could show you.

Ask your Python friends where such a similar list exists. :)

Python may be newer, but Perl is more mature, and here to stay.

Remember "new coke", and how long we had that. (If you're old enough to
remember that fiasco.)

Randal L. Schwartz - Stonehenge Consulting Services, Inc. - +1 503 777
0095 <merlyn@stonehenge.com> <URL:http://www.stonehenge.com/merlyn/>
Perl/Unix/security consulting, Technical writing, Comedy, etc. etc. See
PerlTraining.Stonehenge.com for onsite and open-enrollment Perl training!

Anyone who uses Perl should recognise the name :)

8th October 2004, 02:36 AM
I cant agree with all of that. Yes, CPAN is huge, amazing, whatever... But there is one big event approching for Perl. Perl 6!
The syntax is going to change a whole lot, and not in the nicest of ways. Also, this could throw that nice "Mature" Perl out the window. Yes, people will still use Perl 5, but it will become outdated. I know several intense Perl"ers" that are going to make the switch if perl 6 takes over.

8th October 2004, 03:57 AM
I've always been a serious Perl fan, it's certainly better than PHP for web apps, and probably more powerful than Python.

I've recently got into Python for clientside apps (not done much web work), and it has a beautiful syntax compared to competitors such as C#, and there is only one way to do most things, so it's probably easier than Perl too.

I don't like the looks of Perl 6, so will probably ditch it in favour of Python, especially if Python Parrot gets into gear, or just stick with Perl 5.6

30th November 2005, 04:43 PM
The syntax of perl is designed to be congruent with non-scripting languages such as C, C++ and Java. Learning perl will help you greatly in any future endeavour with any of the pre-mentioned languages. Not to say C or C++ is as easy as perl (the whole memory management thing) but the syntax is the same, most of the function names are the same and the overall power is the same.

30th November 2005, 07:56 PM
Randal Schwartz is a jackass, but that's beside the point.

I wrote a 200,000 line system that provisioned managed modem service for one of the internets largest backbone carriers, and after 12 years of writing perl and 3 months of writing python, what language did I choose? Python.

Perl syntax is crap and reading it is like writing line noise. I still use perl for simple one liners (perl -p -i -e, anyone?) but for real applications, Python is the right language for me. I haven't met anyone who has programmed extensively in both who prefers Perl.

You want to see a nice python tool? Use any of the system-config utilties in Fedora, or Anaconda, or yum. Google chose python as their development language. Perl is archaic and only hanging on because it's been around so long that there's a huge base of code written for it. Python's distutils and cheeseshop are turning into the CPAN of Perl, except not crappy.

Schwartz is just showing his ignorance. When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

30th November 2005, 08:35 PM
Perl syntax is crap and reading it is like writing line noise.

If that is how you feel then you had better stick with Python because most popular compiled languages resemble this very syntax.

When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

LOL. I like that. That is how most people approach their language of choice simply because they know no others.

Randal Schwartz is a jackass, but that's beside the point.

I would also say I would have to agree with that.

Perl still has some advantages over python when it comes to threaded models, socket programming and database interaction but Python is coming up quickly.

1st December 2005, 10:35 AM
yeah schwartz is a prat, a bit immature as well it seems from his use of language. certainly not the master (larry wall may have something to say about that!)

i use perl more than python but do quite like python. i'm not a fan of python for web work though as it's database support is not great, or at least not well documented (certainly in the case of postgresql and oracle).

python really needs better documentation, along the lines of cpan.org or php.net