monday morning pick me up

Dirk Koopman djk at
Mon Apr 3 11:11:37 BST 2006

On Mon, 2006-04-03 at 10:07 +0100, Simon Wistow wrote:
> I should know better than to bait the monkeys this early in the week but 
> I'm hoping (hah!) that there might be some interesting discussion over 
> this. Plus I'm bored.
> I'm hoping that people who don't usually post to the list might respond 
> - the views of a vocal minority (with 700+ people subbed the 30-60 odd 
> people who post most are very much in the minority) are pretty well 
> known already and are therefore not that interesting (in this context 
> anyway).
> It stems in part from Adam Kennedy's semi-serious manifesto about the
> Perl foundation.
> So I'm interested to hear from the non-vocal majority, especially those 
> involved doing Perl in an otherwise non programming business.
> 1. Do you think your company would pay to become more involved in Perl? 
> Do you think they want you (them) to be more involved in Perl at all?

>From my experience companies in this country don't seem to have any
sense of wanting to support anything. They are looking for solutions to
problems (else have such solutions sold to them). These solutions have
to pass through a set of (in my experience) completely arbitrary checks
of "fitness" (which usually amount to: "have I heard of it"). 

The concept of a company becoming "involved" is something quite alien.
It is too busy raising its profits / dividends / share price to be
donating money or time to something like perl. It would say something
like: "that isn't something we do".

And if, by some chance, supporting something open-source like perl is
something it already does and it wants to "stay competitive" - usually
involving a change of CEO - (s)he will soon be saying things like: which
cost centre does it belong to? Do we need it? Can we downsize /
eliminate / get someone else to pay for it? It's open source, that means
"the community" supports it, so we don't have to.

That is the mentality of most companies out there. That is what needs to
be broken down.

[and please: don't bother to flame me about the obvious contradictions
involved in companies being "happy" to spend huge sums of money on
"maintenance" of "commercial" software every year].

> 2. Do you feel that the TPF and the Perl 'cabal' is too US centric? Note 
> I'm not criticising the sterling work the TPF does, just trying to guage 
> the vox populi.

It does nothing for me that I want.

> And a different note.
> 3. I've had lots of mail about having problems hiring good Perl people. 
> Either as someone trying to get a job or someone trying to hire - what 
> have been your problems? 

It seems to be very difficult to get a "middle of the road" jobbing perl
programmer. One that a) knows perl reasonably well, b) writes straight
forward, easy to read code and c) is not a zealot on some particular
aspect of the language that no-one else really understands or cares
about which then gets in the (different) way of point b).

At least 60% of candidates I have interviewed over the last few years
fail test a) 20% fail b) and a good 5% fail c)

That does not leave a lot.

Perl also seems to be a very difficult language to test "competence"


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