Perl 7 - Final Thoughts
First, I want to apologize. My follow-up to the Perl 7 post was not very polite. When I predicted that "nothing" would happen, even if people wanted it, I could have said that in a much kinder way. In particular, my apologies to Ricardo for that.
As for "Perl 7", let me be clear: I don't support it. I originally asked the question because I wanted to know what people thought and instead of kicking over a rock to see what was underneath, I kicked over a hornets nest. More importantly (to me), I got my answer in spades.
For a wide variety of reasons Perl 7 is not going to happen. First and foremost, those who hold the keys to that change say "no" and your option, if you disagree, is to go fork yourself (*ahem*). That, however, is problematic. There are very few people who are qualified to hack on the Perl core and I'm hard-pressed to see a fork gain enough momentum to convince those hackers to work on it. I don't see a fork being an option.
Another issue is simply that the Perl 6 team has done some great work and it's (still) getting closer to fruition. (Jonathan's recent work on porting to the JVM is particularly interesting.) Renaming Perl to Perl 7 without their consent would not only cause a deep fracture in the community, but it would do so with no clear benefit, either. It would also confuse the hell out of the Perl 6 message and, in my opinion, hurt Perl more than it would help.
Reluctantly, I think the alternative is to accept the suggestions to rename Perl to Perl5 and version that instead (type
perl -v on a relatively recent Perl and you'll see that this is hinted at already). I've been swayed by the arguments. It's not that I think it's a good way forward, but I think it's the only way forward that I can see. I've also been swayed by the arguments that without major new features, pushing a new major version wouldn't accomplish that much. After all, people might swing by to check things out and think "yeah, nothing to see here."
The one argument I didn't buy was "we need to write great software". We're doing that already and if someone thinks "write great software" is all we need to attract people to Perl, that's a slap in the face of everyone who's already doing this (please note: I am not suggesting that this is what Ricardo meant, but it does seem to be what some people think). The Perl community cannot wait for an RoR moment. We can already see that hype fading and now the Ruby naysayers are definitely being heard.
So I asked a question and I got an answer ... far louder than I had expected.