Better Perl

Zbigniew Lukasiak zzbbyy at
Fri Apr 25 12:04:37 BST 2008

On Sat, Apr 19, 2008 at 11:17 AM, Nicholas Clark <nick at> wrote:
> On Tue, Apr 08, 2008 at 12:54:58PM +0100, Paul Makepeace wrote:
>  > On Mon, Apr 7, 2008 at 11:13 PM, Paul Johnson <paul at> wrote:
>  > >  Tell us something exciting about how Google is using dynamic languages.
>  >
>  > Funny you should ask! Well, Google thinks python is important enough
>  > to hire its author, Guido v Rossum. And he's part of a team that's
>  > been working on making python accessible in a hosted environment,
>  > along with Django and friends. It's pretty damn cool.
>  Whereas no company using Perl thinks that it is important enough to their
>  business to hire any of the core developers to work on Perl to benefit their
>  own business (and happily happen maybe to help others).
>  Except, I think, at times, ActiveState, and they have trouble convincing
>  anyone they approach to relocate to Vancouver.
>  I think that this may be part of the problem with Perl. For over a decade
>  none of the key Perl contributors have not been employed by any of the key
>  large Perl using companies, so their has been no (significant) corporate
>  patronage of Perl infrastructure and marketing.
>  (sort-of exceptions being ActiveState, a small company, hosting the Perl 5
>  perforce repository, and Fotango donating money to TPF (without formal
>  thanks) and sponsoring Ponie, but I'd not count either company significant -
>  Fotango was never more than 35 people, and I'm guessing ActiveState is no
>  more than 50. Neither have the (market capitalisation) scale of Shopzilla or
>  Ticketmaster or Yahoo!) (Or even firms with around 250 employees)
>  (Sort of exception being Fotango employing me, but it wasn't formally to work
>  on the Perl core as part of my job at any time. Working on Ponie came later,
>  as a side effect of Arthur moving from development to operations, and there
>  were at least 3 months when I was instructed not to work on Ponie, but wasn't
>  in a position to say that to the world.)(Shopzilla (London) certainly did not
>  employ me as anything other than a fungible "senior Perl developer", unlike
>  their later employment of Tim Bunce to work on core infrastructure.)
>  (And that's just me. None of Larry, Jarkko, Rafael, Dave, Yves or Abhijit
>  to my knowledge have ever been employed by anyone in the last 10 years,
>  because they were a core Perl developer.)
>  All these corporate users of Perl are taking it for granted.
>  Given that no large corporation has the altruistic balls to do anything, it's
>  (mostly) why I'm trying to get a plan together for how to get money out of
>  firms to pay for someone to deal with the grunge work of supporting Perl 5:

Perhaps instead of counting on company altruism we should think about
what benefits companies could get from supporting such a work schema?

One obvious thing is the popularity - the question is how effective
this can be in comparison with the traditional ways of sponsoring a
Perl event and displaying banners at it?

Another thing, I know this will be very controversial, but at least
accept it on the basis of brainstorming ideas, could be that a company
doint that could compile a big database of Perl contributors and then
use it for recruitment.  Maybe there is a chance that this could be
done in a civilised way?

>  but so far it's an overwhelming "meh" as far as feedback goes on whether my
>  proposal would even work. (the "how to spend money" part)
>  Why do I bother?
>  I forgot I knew an answer to your previous question. Shopzilla were sold for
>  over $500 million a couple of years back, and they would cease trading
>  overnight without Perl, as it runs their website, and that is 100% of their
>  business.
>  I don't know how reliant Ticketmaster and are on Perl, or what
>  their valuations are, but they advertise a lot for developers with Perl
>  skills in the LA area.

Yeah - but still we should not count on their altruism - but rather we
need to find some real benefits that they would get from supporting

Zbigniew Lukasiak

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