Tuesday, December 1, 2009

an annoying meme

I've been following the twitterverse off and on for a while now. Quite often the "Perl is dead" meme rears it's ugly head and I have to wonder why there is such animosity towards Perl. Sometimes it's just ignorance (occasionally willful ignorance) about the state of Perl, but many times it's random vitriol against Perl.

Perl is clearly not dead.

There are easily 5 or 6 conferences a year on Perl. Off the top of my head, there are 3 YAPCs (Yet Another Perl Conference): YAPC::NA, YAPC::EU, YAPC::Asia; The Perl Conference; The Nordic Perl Workshop; Frozen Perl. There are probably several I've forgotten or just don't know about as well. CPAN still has continuous contributions and growth. There are bunches of blog posts about perl every day (See the Perl Ironman challenge). Et cetera.

So what do these people have against Perl that they would say it is "dead"? Does its continued existence cause them such pain? Why do they stomp all over Perl? If they don't like Perl, that's fine. I don't like COBOL. If the topic comes up, I might mention that I don't like it. However, I don't go around saying that COBOL is dead.

Also, what do they get out of it? I think it's the rise they get out of Perl people. Blog posts like this one or even the twittered responses of "Perl is not dead" satiates their child-like desire to gain attention by picking on Perl much like siblings pick on each other.

Maybe we Perl people should wear the "Perl is dead" meme as a badge of honor. I mean, in a way it's nice to know that they consider Perl such a threat that they keep attacking it.

I don't know ... this particular meme just bugs me.


  1. Perhaps (perhaps!) what they're (unconsciously) trying to say is that Perl is old. There are almost half a generation gaps between many Perl programmers who began to pick it up in mid 1990's, and the legions of PHP coders starting in the 2000's, and the new "Web 2.0 programmers" who often selects Ruby/Python/Scala/whatever as their main language.

    The success of Perl in the 1990's as the CGI language of choice is also its curse. Perl will always be associated with CGI and "old Web 1.0 technology".

  2. The weird thing about that is that CGI was hardly Perl's great strength. It was sort of the other way around -- CGI was best done in Perl rather than Perl being best used for CGI...

  3. All the best languages in the human realm are dead.

    Latin for example, is the most popular dead language I know!

  4. Why is it that the only time I see the “Perl is dead” meme is when I’m reading Perl blogs? Please make it stop.


  5. I realy like perl. And I have started to develop a Catalyst CRM with it. I planned to provide it in GPL, but I'm really thinking about rewriting it into Code igniter (a PHP framework). Why ? Because all the people around me talk to me about PHP and often propose me some job in PHP.
    The goal of my CRM is to be the more used as possible, so I'm really thinking about rewriting it into code igniter and it desperate me...