Gentlemen, a call to arms!

Nic Gibson nicg at
Sun Oct 15 11:05:47 BST 2006

On Oct 14, 2006, at 09:40, Nicholas Clark wrote:

> On Fri, Oct 13, 2006 at 08:12:26PM -0400, muppet wrote:
>> I will posit that a very large amount of perl is written by people
>> who don't understand it well, and give it a very bad reputation.  I
>> have spent a good amount of time fixing in-house perl code written by
>> C programmers, getting order-of-magnitude speedups just by using a
>> hash instead of repeated array lookups (8 minutes to ten seconds in
>> one case), reducing overcomplicated logic, removing unreadable hacks,
>> etc.  Cut and paste runs rampant.  And, despite perl having one of
>> the best libraries in the world (CPAN), a disturbing majority of perl
>> programmers appear to suffer greatly from poor wheel reinvention
>> syndrome.  It's difficult to defend perl in a room full of python and
>> ruby bigots when everyone knows how bad the local perl code is.
> This paragraph all seems plausible and consistent to me, but then  
> it makes
> me wonder "why is Perl special?"
> Why aren't we aware of the places where C programmers write bad  
> Python or
> bad Ruby? Surely Sturgeon's Law applies to other languages too?

A certain anglo-french defense contractor comes to mind. Horrible  
python running build processes written by embedded C programmers . I  
can promise you that Perl is not special. This particular company  
rewrote a 300 odd line perl app I wrote as a technology demo into a  
10000line java app technology demo because of perl's reputation.


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