Strangely Consistent

Theory, practice, and languages, braided together

The totally undeserved fame and success of proto

In my confetti post, I sort of promised to present proto in a post on its own, but I haven't got around to it yet... unfortunately, the world doesn't wait. Even more unfortunately, the world doesn't discriminate between fact and rumour either, as you will see.

It was OK as long as the questions came from interested friends and strangers, and I could correct the misunderstandings one by one: "No, it's not a complete packaging solution for Perl 6", "No, it doesn't do versions and authorities", "No, it doesn't work on Windows".

Actually, I should have put down the two guiding principles into writing long ago, so that people will have an easy way to know what to expect. So here we go:

The two guiding principles of proto

  1. Make it super easy to install stuff.
  2. Don't get in the way by assuming or dictating anything about the user's setup.

The fact that I didn't write those down in time must have contributed to the massive misinformation when the larger newspapers started doing their reviews. How anyone could describe proto as "the most successful Perl 6 installer of the decade", "[o]ur guiding light in these times of economic hardship" or even "the most blatantly great thing since Michael Dorn", is beyond me.

All that was endurable, I guess. But when proto was awarded the Nobel Peace prize, I just had to call people up and set things right.

"It's just an installer!" I said, perhaps a bit too frantically, into the receiver.

"Oh yes," they answered at the Nobel Prize Q&A Hotline, "but what an installer! So sleek! So easy to use! We heard there's now a keyword in Perl 6 called proto, to maximize the ease of use."

"No, you got it all wrong!" I shouted. "It's the other way around. And proto is just a throwaway solution to reduce the immediate pain of installing Perl 6 projects with dependencies. It's just a prototype. Hence the name."

"You shouldn't be so humble," they replied. "Anyway, proto really deserves the Peace Prize, with its amazing one-command-install functionality. By our calculations, that was the number one factor that prevented the uprising in Austria last year."

"What on earth are you talking about?" I exclaimed. "There was no uprising in Austria last year."

"Exactly," they said.