[TUHS] Book Recommendation [ reallly inscrutable languages ]

Larry McVoy lm at mcvoy.com
Thu Nov 18 10:35:12 AEST 2021

I'll defend perl, at least perl4, vigorously.  I wrote a lot of code in
it on 20mhz SPARCs.  Yeah, like any kitchen sink language you have to
develop a style, but it is possible.  All of Solaris 2.0 development
happened under a source management system I wrote, NSElite, that was
almost 100% perl4.  There was one C program, that Marc might like,
that took 2 SCCS files that had the initial part of the graph in 
common but the recent nodes were different in each file, and zippered
them together into a new SCCS file that had the newer nodes on a 
branch.  It was F.A.S.T compared to the edit/delta cycles you'd 
do if you did it by hand.

My perl4 was maintainable, I fixed bugs in it quickly.

When it happened, perl4 was a God send, as much as I love awk, perl 
was far more useful for stuff that awk just didn't want to handle.

On Thu, Nov 18, 2021 at 09:21:49AM +1100, Rob Pike wrote:
> Perl certainly had its detractors, but for a few years there it was the
> lingua franca of system administration.
> -rob
> On Thu, Nov 18, 2021 at 8:21 AM Dan Cross <crossd at gmail.com> wrote:
> > On Wed, Nov 17, 2021 at 3:54 PM Warner Losh <imp at bsdimp.com> wrote:
> >
> >> On Wed, Nov 17, 2021, 1:48 PM Dan Stromberg <drsalists at gmail.com> wrote:
> >>
> >>> On Wed, Nov 17, 2021 at 11:35 AM Norman Wilson <norman at oclsc.org> wrote:
> >>>
> >>>> Wasn't Perl created to fill this void?
> >>>>
> >>>> Void? I thought Perl was created to fill a much-needed gap.
> >>>>
> >>> There was and is a need for something to sit between Shell and C.  But
> >>> it needn't be filled by Perl.
> >>>
> >>> The chief problem with Perl, as I see it, is it's like 10 languages
> >>> smashed together.  To write it, you only need to know one of the 10.  But
> >>> to read it, you never know what subset you're going to see until you're
> >>> deep in the code.
> >>>
> >>> Perl is the victim of an experiment in exuberant, Opensource design,
> >>> where the bar to adding a new feature was troublingly low.
> >>>
> >>> It was undeniably influential.
> >>>
> >>
> >> It's what paved the way for python to fill that gap...
> >>
> >
> > I feel that Perl, and to a lesser extent Tcl, opened the floodgates for a
> > number of relatively lightweight "scripting" languages that sat between C
> > and the shell in terms of their functionality and expressive power. From
> > that group, the one I liked best was Ruby, but it got hijacked by Rails and
> > Python swooped in and stole its thunder.
> >
> >         - Dan C.
> >
> >

Larry McVoy            	     lm at mcvoy.com             http://www.mcvoy.com/lm 

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