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Re: Introduction

From: Greg Stein <gstein_at_lyra.org>
Date: 2001-03-02 11:56:48 CET

On Fri, Mar 02, 2001 at 10:00:20AM +0100, Daniel Stenberg wrote:
> On Fri, 2 Mar 2001, Eric S. Raymond wrote:
> > I get a little nervous when I hear "Perl" in a context like this. I used
> > to write a lot of Perl, but have almost completely abondoned the
> > language. The problem I have is that Perl is a maintainability disaster,
> > very nearly a write-only language at program sizes over a few hundred
> > lines.
> I feel lot of anti-perl movements in the open source/free software
> communities these days.

But that is not a problem in-and-of-itself. I'm anti-perl based on
experience with it. Same for Eric. If you get somebody who is simply
rejecting it without actual experience... you're absolutely right. But I'd
say "too bad for them" rathern than consider it a problem.

> I think it is sad, and I do believe perl has a place in every hacker's
> library of tools. To judge anything based on the selected language is not a
> very encouraging attitude.

Perl has a place, and I'd agree with Eric. If the thing stays under a
hundred lines, then you have a chance to maintain it. Or hell, to understand
it a few months later.

You're right, though... Eric shouldn't be pre-judging, but he does make it
clear that is just his preference/opinion.

> I say let everyone do anything using their language of choice. If it isn't
> good enough, and if we can't join in and improve it at that point, then let's
> make a competing tool that is better and that is written in my language of
> choice.

Exactly. And speaking of cvsweb, that is exactly what happened to me. I had
some changes that I wanted to make. After spending a couple hours trying to
deal with the cvsweb source, I simply gave up. It isn't simply that it was
written in Perl, but that it was horribly written.

I wrote a cvsweb equivalent (basically, a port) in Python. It's called
ViewCVS (http://www.lyra.org/viewcvs/). It is now well beyond cvsweb's
capabilities, and has been dramatically cleaned up. None that global
variable crap found in cvsweb.

And yes, I intend to expand ViewCVS to operate against SVN. I'm fine with
competing efforts and don't want to "stake out territory", but people can
rest assured that we'll have web-based browsing of an SVN repository.

> IMHO: We should not make any script language mandatory for extensions, we
> should encourage and support all languages people want to use.

I hope that Jens follows through on his desire to write Perl bindings. While
I won't use them myself, I am pragmatic enough to recognize that others
*will* and that it will lend to the success of Subversion.

[ you should see how long I was bitching about the lack of a client-side DAV
  library for Perl; I pleaded for well over a year before somebody finally
  sat down to write one ]

If Jens does Perl, and Lefty and I do Python, and Jim does Guile, then we're
pretty well set. I'm sure that somebody will also have an interest in Tcl or
Ruby bindings, but nobody has mentioned it yet.


Greg Stein, http://www.lyra.org/
Received on Sat Oct 21 14:36:24 2006

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