Strangely Consistent

Theory, practice, and languages, braided together

The wish, the tuning fork, and the one true heir

Sometimes wishes come true twice.

Many years ago, around the turn of the century, we wished for a revival in the Perl community; a rewrite. So we drafted up plans for Perl 6, a language which some unbiased commentators have described as 'quite ambitious'. While we were at it, we set out to refurbish the community.

Fast forward a few years, to circa 2004. Perl 5 had continued to be useful, but save for a few CPAN modules in the Perl6:: namespace, nothing usable had trickled back into the Perl community from the Perl 6 crowd. Some people got tired of waiting. A revival/rewrite was still necessary.

So they made their own. It goes under a few different names, such as 'Perl Rennaisance', 'Modern Perl' or 'Enlightened Perl'. It has coding components, and people components. It's the community's rewrite of Perl, and the community's rewrite of the community.

The visual representation of the Perl story since year 2000 isn't linear; it looks like a tuning fork. A fork, that open-source term that people have learned to both love and hate. A divide, a split, a bifurcation.

And the strange thing is, no-one saw it coming. Both communities were so focused on their part, thinking that they were where Perl was going, that they didn't even notice the other side, across the gap. When inter-community contact was occasionally made, it easily got heated, for the simple reason that the realities weren't compatible anymore.

Well, now we're aware of it, and some of us realize that a war between Perl communities is wasteful, stupid and, you know, boring. So we're working on ways of not doing that. And we're kinda hoping, if you happen to belong to one of the communities, that you think it's a good idea.

Sometimes wishes come true twice. Instead of one true heir, we got two. Our natural impulses are to go for each other's throats. Slightly more difficult, but infinitely more enticing, is to find ways to rule the kingdom with twice as many resources, each language/community with her particular strengths.

I want to try that latter alternative.